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Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences releases finalists for Interactive Achievement Awards

The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS), the professional organization dedicated to the advancement and recognition of interactive arts, announced today the finalists for the 8th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards to honor outstanding technical and artistic achievement in the world of interactive entertainment. Voted and judged upon by game industry peers and members of the AIAS, this year’s Interactive Achievement Awards finalists represent an array of the best games of 2004.

“It is truly a great honor to have your work recognized by your peers as the best in the industry,” said Joseph Olin, president of the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. “The Interactive Achievement Awards, much like the Oscars for the motion picture industry, provide an important showcase for members of the entire interactive entertainment industry to get together and pat each other on the back for a job well done.”

Game finalists for the 8th annual interactive achievement award categories are listed below, along with the corresponding publishers and developers, respectively.

Game Of The Year Awards

Overall Game Of The Year (All Platforms)

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (Take2/Rockstar North)
Half-Life 2 (Vivendi Universal Games/Valve)
Halo 2 (Microsoft/Bungie)
Katamari Damacy (Namco/Namco Limited)
World of Warcraft (Vivendi Universal Games/Blizzard)

Console Game Of The Year

Burnout 3 (Electronic Arts/Criterion)
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (Take2/Rockstar North)
Halo 2 (Microsoft/Bungie)
Katamari Damacy (Namco/Namco Limited)
Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal (Sony/Insomniac Games)

Computer Game Of The Year

City of Heroes (NCSoft/Cryptic Studios)
Half-Life 2 (Vivendi Universal Games/Valve)
Doom 3 (Activision/id Software))
World of Warcraft (Vivendi Universal Games/Blizzard)
Sid Meier’s Pirates! (Atari/Firaxis Games)

Innovation Awards

Innovation in Computer Gaming

Doom 3 (Activision/id Software)
City of Heroes (NCSoft/Cryptic Studios)
Rome: Total War (Activision/Creative Assembly)
Half-Life 2 (Vivendi Universal Games/Valve)
The Sims 2 (Electronic Arts/Maxis)

Innovation In Console Gaming

Fable (Microsoft/Big Blue
Halo 2 (Microsoft/Bungie)
Donkey Konga (Nintendo/Namco)
Eye Toy: Anti Grav (Sony Computer Entertainment America/Harmonix)
Katamari Damacy (Namco/Namco Limited)

“We’re thrilled that Pirates! has received this acknowledgement from the creative community,” said Wim Stocks, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Atari. “Pirates! is already a critical and commercial hit, and reaching this final benchmark of success is a tribute to Sid Meier and his team at Firaxis who have always exemplified excellence in gaming.”

“We are pleased with the outstanding performance and quality of World of Warcraft from Blizzard, Half-Life 2 and The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay,” said Bruce Hack, CEO of VU Games. “The Interactive Achievement Award nominations are an acknowledgement of the extraordinary talent and creativity behind these great games.”

“Microsoft Game Studios is incredibly proud of the reception our games have received this year from the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences,” said Shane Kim, general manager, Microsoft Game Studios. “Having our industry peers name four of our games as finalists in thirteen categories is an incredible achievement. We are thrilled with this honor.”

Craft Awards

Outstanding Achievement In Art Direction

Doom 3 (Activision/id Software)
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (Nintendo/Retro Studios)
Prince of Persia: Warrior Within (Ubisoft/Ubisoft Montreal)
Sly Cooper 2 (Sony Computer Entertainment America/Sucker Punch)
Half-Life 2 (Vivendi Universal Games/Valve)

Outstanding Achievement In Animation

Prince of Persia: Warrior Within (Ubisoft/Ubisoft Montreal)
Sly Cooper 2 (Sony Computer Entertainment America/Sucker Punch)
Jak 3 (Sony/Naughty Dog)
Rachet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal (Sony Computer Entertainment America/Insomniac Games)

Outstanding Character Performance – Male

Half-Life 2 (Vivendi Universal Games/Valve)
The Bard’s Tale (InXile Entertainment/Inxile Entertainment)
Metal Gear Solid 3 (Konami/KCEJ)
Demon Stone (Atari/Stormfront Studios)
Chronicles of Riddick (Vivendi Universal Games/Starbreeze)

Outstanding Character Performance – Female

Demon Stone (Atari/Stormfront Studios)
Judy Dench – Golden Eye: Rouge Agent (Electronic Arts/EA/LA)
Zoo Tycoon 2 (Microsoft/Blue Fang Games)

Outstanding Achievement In Soundtrack

Need For Speed Underground 2 (Electronic Arts/EA Canada)
Tony Hawk’s Underground 2 (Activision/Neversoft)
Donkey Konga (Nintendo/Namco)
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (Take2/Rockstar North)

Outstanding Achievement In Original Musical Composition

Rome: Total War (Activision/Creative Assembly)
NBA Ballers (Midway/Midway Chicago)
Katamari Damacy (Namco/Namco Limited)
Killzone (Sony Computer Entertainment
Fable (Microsoft/Big Blue Box)

Outstanding Achievement In Sound Design

Rome: Total War (Activision/Creative Assembly)
Halo 2 (Microsoft/Bungie)
Doom 3 (Activision/id Software))
Rachet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal (Sony Computer Entertainment America/Insomniac Games)
Sly Cooper 2 (Sony Computer Entertainment America/Sucker Punch)

Outstanding Achievement In Game Play Engineering

Donkey Konga (Nintendo/Namco)
Spider-Man 2 (Activision/Treyarch)
Eye Toy: Anti Grav (Sony Computer Entertainment America/Harmonix)
Half-Life 2 (Vivendi Universal Games/Valve)
Fable (Microsoft/Big Blue Box)

Outstanding Achievement In Online Game Play

Halo 2 (Microsoft/Bungie)
Rome: Total War (Activision/Creative Assembly)
Unreal Tournament 2004 (Atari/Epic Games)
WarHammer 40K: Dawn of War (THQ/Relic)

Outstanding Achievement In Visual Engineering

Doom 3 (Activision/id Software))
Metroid Prime: Echoes (Nintendo/Retro Studios)
Demon Stone (Atari/Stormfront Studios)
Rachet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal (Sony Computer Entertainment America/Insomniac Games)
Half-Life 2 (Vivendi Universal Games/Valve)

Outstanding Achievement In Game Design

Fable (Microsoft/Big Blue Box)
City of Heroes (NCSoft/Cryptic Studios)
Katamari Damacy (Namco/Namco Limited)
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (Take2/Rockstar North)
Half-Life 2 (Vivendi Universal Games/Valve)

Outstanding Achievement In Character Or Story Development

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (Take2/Rockstar North)
Half-Life 2 (Vivendi Universal Games/Valve)
Demon Stone (Atari/Stormfront Studios)
Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy (Midway/Midway)
Fable (Microsoft/Big Blue Box)

Genre Awards: Console

Platform Action/Adventure Game Of The Year

Prince of Persia: Warrior Within (Ubisoft/Ubisoft Montreal)
Rachet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal (Sony Computer Entertainment America/Insomniac Games)
Jak 3 (Sony Computer Entertainment America/Naughty Dog)

Action/Adventure Game Of The Year

Pikmin 2 (Nintendo/Nintendo)
Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy (Midway/Midway)
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow (Ubisoft/Ubisoft Shanghai, Paris, Annecy Studios)
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (Konami/KCEJ)

Action Sports Game Of The Year

NFL Street 2 (Electronic Arts/Electronic Arts Tiburon)
Tony Hawk’s Underground 2 (Activision/Neversoft)
NBA Ballers (Midway/Midway Chicago)
Mario Power Tennis (Nintendo/Camelot)

First Person Action Game Of The Year

Halo 2 (Microsoft/Bungie)
GoldenEye: Rogue Agent (Electronic Arts/Electronic Arts LA)
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (Nintendo/Tetro Studios)
Chronicles of Riddick (Vivendi Universal Games/Starbreeze)

Children’s Title Of The Year

Shrek 2 (Activision/Luxoflux)
Backyard Baseball 2005 (Atari/Humongous Entertainment)
Mario Party 6 (Nintendo/Hudson Soft)
Pokemon Colosseum (Nintendo/Genius Sonority)
Sly Cooper 2 (Sony Computer Entertainment America/Sucker Punch)

Fighting Game Of The Year

Def Jam: Fight for NY (Electronic Arts/Electronic Arts Canada)
Dragonball Z: Budokai 3 (Atari/Dimps Corporation)
Mortal Kombat: Deception (Midway/Midway Chicago)

Racing Game Of The Year

Burnout 3 (Electronic Arts/Criterion)
Rallisport Challenge 2 (Microsoft/Digital Illusions)

Role Playing Game Of The Year

X-Men Legends (Activision/Raven Software)
The Bard’s Tale (InXile Entertainment/Inxile Entertainment)
Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door (Nintendo/Intelligent Systems)
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles (Nintendo/Square Enix)
Tales of Symphonia (Namco Hometek Inc./Namco Limited)

Sports Simulation Game Of The Year

Madden NFL 2005 (Electronic Arts/Tiburon)
ESPN NHL 2K5 (Sega/Kush Games)
ESPN NFL 2K5 (Sega/Visual Concepts)
Winning Eleven 7 (Konami/Konami)

Wireless & Handheld Awards

Wireless Game Of The Year

Pokemon FireRed/LeafGreen (Nintendo/Creatures, Inc/GAMEFREAK)
Super Mario 64 DS (Nintendo)

Handheld Game Of The Year

Metroid: Zero Mission (Nintendo)
Super Mario 64 DS (Nintendo)
Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories (Square Enix)

Computer Awards

Action/Adventure Game Of The Year

Myst IV Revelation (Ubisoft/Ubisoft Montreal)
Full Spectrum Warrior (THQ/Pandemic Studios)
The Suffering (Midway/SURREAL Software)
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow (Ubisoft/Ubisoft Shanghai, Paris, Annecy Studios)

Children’s Game Of The Year

Backyard Skateboarding (Atari/Humongous Entertainment)

Downloadable Game Of The Year

Mahjong Garden To G (Electronic Arts/Electronic Arts Pogo)
The Incredibles: Escape from Nomanisan Island (Disney Online)
Shroomz – Quest for Puppy (Game Trust, Inc./The Planet)
Diner Dash (PlayFirst/gameLab)

Family Game Of The Year

Harry Potter: Prisoner of Azkaban (Electronic Arts/AMAZE/Know Wonder)
Scrabble On-Line (Atari/Boston Animation)
Zoo Tycoon 2 (Microsoft/Blue Fang Games)

First Person Action Game Of The Year

Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault (Electronic Arts/Electronic Arts LA)
Doom 3 (Activision/id Software)
Joint Operations: Typhoon Rising (NovaLogic/NovaLogic, Inc.)
Half-Life 2 (Vivendi Universal Games/Valve)
Unreal Tournament 2004 (Atari/Epic Games)

Role Playing Game Of The Year

Neverwinter Nights: Kingmaker (BioWare/BioWare)
Vampires: Bloodline (Activision/Troika)

Simulation Game Of The Year

The Sims 2 (Electronic Arts/Maxis)
Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 (Atari/Frontier Developments)
Pacific Fighters (Ubisoft/1C)

Sports Game Of The Year

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005 (Electronic Arts/Electronic Arts Redwood Shores)

Strategy Game Of The Year

Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle-Earth (Electronic Arts/EA LA)
WarHammer 40K: Dawn of War (THQ/Relic)
Rome: Total War (Activision/Creative Assembly)

Online Games

Massive Multiplayer/Persistent World Game Of The Year

World of WarCraft (Vivendi Universal Games/Blizzard)
City of Heroes (NCSoft/Cryptic Studios)
StarWars Generations: Jump to Lightspeed (Sony Online LucasArts)
Final Fantasy XI Chains of Promathia (Square Enix, Inc./Square Eniz Co. Ltd.)

Winners will be announced at the 8th Annual Interactive Achievements Awards ceremony, taking place February 1, 2005, the second evening of the D.I.C.E. Summit. The Awards event will be held at the Grande Ballroom of the Green Valley Ranch Resort and will showcase the industry’s best games of 2004.

The 2005 D.I.C.E. Summit (Design, Innovate, Communicate and Entertain), is a high-level interactive entertainment industry conference that brings together the top video game designers and developers from around the world and business leaders from all the major publishers to discuss the state of the industry, its trends and the future. The three-day event will be held January 31 – February 2, 2005 at Green Valley Ranch Resort in Las Vegas, NV. More information on the 2005 D.I.C.E. Summit can be found at www.DICESummit.org.

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in February 2003.

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