Congratulations, WGA winner for videogame writing!

While much ado has been made about the impending end to the Writers Guild strike, something momentous has slipped past most people’s notice.  On Saturday night, at an informal — verrrry informal — gathering of writers in NYC, the Writers Guild awarded its first ever award for videogame writing.  Both the game industry itself and the WGA should pay attention to the outcome.

Reactions to the announcement of the new award were mixed, to say the least.  Some in the game community have dismissed the awards due to a few omissions from the nominee list — where’s Bioshock? Where’s Mass Effect? Never mind that they probably never entered the competition. One blogger even wondered where WoW was.  Really?  I know there are 10 million subscribers, but is the writing really that fabulous?  Some argued the nominations were filled with washed-up film/TV writers “slumming” it, who didn’t really care about or “get” games.    Others lauded the move, saying that game writing tends to be better than film/TV writing anyway.  Would either side prove to be right?

After enduring these strong and sometimes virulent opinions, we nominees gathered at the WGA event to hear the outcome.  Somewhere after Richard Belzer’s lewd acts with his dog — don’t ask — they announced the winner of the first annual WGA Award for Videogame Writing.  Was a washed up screenwriter the winner?  Was it some hoity toity Hollywood denizen who couldn’t care less about our industry? 

No, I’m happy to say it wasn’t.  It was a game designer, a 15-year veteran of the game industry who lives in North Carolina.  He had to fight a bit within his company to get to write the dialog, but he certainly enjoyed it.  And, perhaps for the first time, he has been recognized not for his achievements in game sales or design, but for his writing.  Both the WGA and the game community should be proud to see this nominee win.  I know I am.

While we would have loved to win for our work on the Witcher, we couldn’t think of a finer representative of the game industry for the first WGA award.  Congratulations, writers Dave Ellis and Adam Cogan!   

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Published in: on February 11, 2008 at 1:49 pm  Comments (8)  

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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I think this shows a desperate attempt to grab some artistic credibility for a field that is desperately short of it. Besides, Hollywood is full of scribblers who write with one eye on their gaming consoles–that’s why we get superficial crap like “Beowulf” and “300”. Grade 8 level writing for minds permanently locked into puberty. Giving an award for fine writing in video games is like handing a Pulitzer to the people who excrete Archie Digests. Sorry, mate, it just ain’t on…

  2. Hey, Cliff, thanks for stopping by and adding your two cents. Have you played all the nominated videogames? While it’s true many games fall short of artistic credibility, as you say, certainly a few, like those nominated, raise the bar.

    Ironically, the two movies you mention were originally written by award-winning comic book writers — Neil Gaiman and Frank Miller. I’m just sayin’…


  3. Comic books and video games–the bane of fine cinema. Mate, I don’t have TIME to play games (I leave that up to my teenage sons). I write 8-10 hours a day, seven days a week. I haven’t had a day off since Christmas and that was only at my wife’s insistence. My fingers are arthritic after twenty+ years of pounding out stories and novels and now this bloody blog of mine sucks away even more of my time. Like the saying goes, I’ll sleep when I’m dead…

  4. I’m hoping that an award like this will encourage people to write real high quality stories for games. I’m glad to see these games “raise the bar.”

  5. Wow, Cliff that is a very one-sided bias and very ignorant view. The fact that you don’t play games and you leave it to your sons makes a bold statement that you are speaking from an un-informed and rather pathetic view of another art form that isn’t your own. I have never heard of you or your work and even though you claim, to write all the time doesn’t make you a good writer. There are plenty of you wood-be writers that think they know what good literature is but yet nobody buys their books. There are a lot of games made for a lot of different people and each has their own style. Not all are based on storyline. The fact that you use two box-office hits is very humorous to try and attack game-designers with simply because game-designers didn’t write those scripts and that both were huge successes regardless of your narrow-minded opinion. I highly doubt you have ever played even five minuets of a game based on the storyline. Such as: Final Fantasy series, Xenogears or the Shadow Hearts series A bland statement, cramming all of games into one category is just an attack at something you don’t understand. Please keep your negativity to yourself in your small dark room full of unpublished piles of literary waste.

  6. I Completely agree, very poor attack at game-design. If your not a fan of games why are you posting on a Game-Developer site?

  7. Lol, very impassioned, Kyle! Good call on Shadow Hearts — I really loved it.


  8. […] 1.  Writers Guild nomination […]

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