Valve has announced the winners of its second annual Steam Awards, and only three titles from 2017 got a nod.
That's more or less by design – the Steam Awards are a light-hearted affair that allow Steam users to vote for any games at all within its 13 categories.
Valve didn't divulge how many votes it collected this year, but given the size of its platform and the popularity of opining on the Internet, the likely answer is "a lot".
Voting was open from December 22 to January 5.
Here are the winners:
“Choices Matter” Award
Games are about agency, and this award is for the game that has it in spades. Maybe it’s because there are 31 ways you can breach into a villains lair. Perhaps there are dozens of potential partners for you to build a romantic future with. Or maybe you find yourself constantly saying “Where oh where should I plant those turnips”? In all three scenarios there is a common bond: the choice was always yours.
Winner: The Witcher 3
“Mom’s Spaghetti” Award
There are games that make you excited. There are games that make you happy. Then there are games so intense that they elicit a physical reaction. We’re talking weak knees. We’re talking sweaty palms. We’re talking fear-induced accidents. We’re talking your friends reminding you to breathe. We’re talking about mom’s spaghetti.
Winner: PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds
“Labor of Love” Award
This game has been out for a while. The team is well past the first unveiling of their creative baby, but being the good parents they are, these devs continue to nurture and support their creation. This game, to this day, is still getting new content after all these years.
“Suspension of Disbelief” Award
Let’s be honest: games can have some pretty ridiculous elements in them… from the stories that drive the action, to the items required to conquer obstacles, to even the protagonists themselves. This award is for the game that has a key component, which when described out of context, seems totally insane, but while playing the game doesn’t even make you bat an eye, because in the moment it makes total sense.
Winner: Rocket League
“The World Is Grim Enough Let's Just All Get Along” Award
Games delight and entertain us, giving us much needed breaks from the sorrows and low points of our lives… and let’s be honest, for a lot of people it’s been a rough 2017. That is why the SASC has chosen to celebrate a game that doesn’t involve combat or conflict.
Winner: Stardew Valley
“No Apologies” Award
This award is for the game that you love unconditionally. Does it have some faults? Maybe. Do other people not understand your love for it? Sure. But make no mistake. There is no guilt here. Only pleasure.
Winner: The Witcher: Enhanced Edition
“Defies Description” Award
This game is like... well actually it's more similar to...picture a combination of... ya know what, I can't describe it, just play it.
Winner: Garry's Mod
“Cry Havoc And Let Slip The Dogs Of War” Award
The Bard said it best. This game doesn't necessarily offer the biggest explosions... it offers something better. Potential. Potential to be a rampaging force of nature. Or not. Who knows. You're an agent of chaos and no one is going to tell you what to do.
Winner: Just Cause 3
“Haunts My Dreams” Award
This award is slightly a misnomer, because this game doesn’t just haunt your dreams. It consumes your thoughts every waking moment of the day. This game doesn’t demand your time. You give it willingly.
“Soul Of Vitruvius” Award
The Vitruvian Man was Leonardo’s celebration of the ideal form. And in that spirit the SASC looks to celebrate the game with the most lovingly rendered character… be it human, alien, anthropomorphic cat people, or even a piece of produce.
Winner: Rise of the Tomb Raider
“Whoooaaaaaaa, Dude! 2.0” Award
The Academy wasn't clear enough in the awards description last year. Let's try this again. This award is for the “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” of video games.
Winner: The Evil Within 2
“Best Soundtrack” Award
There are very few things that can enhance a game better than music. The right song can set the tone for every aspect of gameplay, from simple exploration, to climactic boss fights. This award is for the soundtrack that captured the essence of their game so perfectly that it effortlessly immersed players into the game world.
“Even Better Than I Expected” Award
We’ve all been there. You get super excited for a game, you pre-order it, and you anxiously wait as it downloads. Then you finally play it. How do you feel now? If the answer is “Elated beyond words because even I, a conductor aboard the hype train, was blown away with how good this thing was” then you have found the perfect candidate for this award.