UploadVR’s 2016 Game of the Year Winners

by David Jagneaux • December 30th, 2016

Last week we announced a comprehensive list of nominees for our 2016 Game of the Year Awards. There were over 20 categories selected with approximately 4-8 different games and experiences nominated for each category. That all adds up to a ton of amazing content we saw in VR’s first full year of consumer adoption.

We teamed up with the prolific Christopher Sabat (the voice of Piccolo, Yamcha, and of course Vegeta in Dragon Ball Z as well as Roronoa Zoro in One Piece) to record a video announcing each winner in every category. In my opinion, getting a glimpse of gameplay combined with that epic voice is absolutely the best way to experience our award selections. Check it out:

Since there were so many categories to decide and so many voices to hear, we actually had a true deliberation process in real-time using AltspaceVR. That means for three hours I, the Games Editor at UploadVR, Staff Writer Joe Durbin, Staff Writer Jamie Feltham, and Senior Editor Ian Hamilton, all discussed the nominees and who we thought deserved to win each and every category. That entire process was recorded, so get your popcorn ready.

We know it is three hours long, at the very least the first 25 or so minutes are pretty funny. The whole thing is embedded below.

We also have the third, and quickest, way to digest our selections and that’s in plain old text format.

Check them out below!

thumper

Best Music/Sound Design Winner: Thumper

Bound

EVE: Valkyrie

The Gallery: Episode 1 – Call of the Starseed

Thumper

Until Dawn: Rush of Blood

bound-ps4-photo-mode

Best Art Direction Winner: Bound

ADR1FT

Bound

The Climb

Obduction

Robinson: The Journey

SUPERHOT VR

Thumper

werewolveswithin

Best Online Game Winner: Werewolves Within

Arizona Sunshine

Battlezone

Dead and Buried

EVE: Valkyrie

Onward

RIGS

The Unspoken

Werewolves Within

thegallerycallof-starseed

Best Narrative Winner: The Gallery: Episode 1 – Call of the Starseed

The Assembly

Edge of Nowhere

The Gallery: Episode 1 – Call of the Starseed

Obduction

Robinson: The Journey

ka-battle-within

Best Immersive Film Winner: KÀ The Battle Within

Ctrl

Gnomes and Goblins

Henry

KÀ The Battle Within

bigscreen

Best Productivity App Winner: Bigscreen

Bigscreen

Envelop

LightVR

Virtual Desktop

tiltbrush

Best Creativity App Winner: Tilt Brush

Gravity Sketch

Medium

Quill

Tilt Brush

dirtrally

Best Racing Game Winner: DiRT Rally

Blaze Rush

DiRT Rally

Driveclub VR

Project CARS

Redout

achairinaroomgreenwater

Best Horror Game Winner – A Chair in a Room: Greenwater

A Chair in a Room: Greenwater

The Brookhaven Experiment

Dark Days

Sisters

Until Dawn: Rush of Blood

vanishingrealms

Best Action/Adventure Game Winner: Vanishing Realms

Chronos

Edge of Nowhere

SUPERHOT VR

Vanishing Realms

Windlands

superhot

Best Puzzle Game Winner: SUPERHOT VR

Fly to KUMA

Hitman GO: VR Edition

Neverout

Please, Don’t Touch Anything

SUPERHOT VR

Water Bears VR

onward

Best Shooter Winner: Onward

Arizona Sunshine

Damaged Core

Onward

Raw Data

RIGS

Space Pirate Trainer

onward

Most Surprising New Game Winner: Onward

The Brookhaven Experiment

Eagle Flight

Onward

Space Pirate Trainer

Thumper

The Unspoken

Vanishing Realms

minecraft

Best Mobile VR Game Winner: Minecraft

Dark Days

End Space

Minecraft

Neverout

Sisters

Tactera

Wands

theunspoken

Best Rift Game Winner: The Unspoken

Arizona Sunshine

Chronos

The Climb

Damaged Core

Edge of Nowhere

Lucky’s Tale

SUPERHOT VR

The Unspoken

arizonasunshine

Best Vive Game Winner: Arizona Sunshine

Arizona Sunshine

The Brookhaven Experiment

The Gallery: Call of the Starseed

Job Simulator

The Lab

Onward

Raw Data

Vanishing Realms

rigs

Best PS VR Game Winner: RIGS

Battlezone

Bound

How We Soar

Job Simulator

Rez Infinite

RIGS

Thumper

Until Dawn: Rush of Blood

altspacevr

Best Social Variety Experience Winner: AltspaceVR

AltspaceVR

Bigscreen

Destinations

High Fidelity

Rec Room

Toybox

fantasticcontraption

Most Innovative VR Game Winner: Fantastic Contraption

Accounting

Damaged Core

Eagle Flight

Fantastic Contraption

The Gallery: Episode 1 – Call of the Starseed

Job Simulator

The Lab

SUPERHOT VR

owlchemylabs

Breakout VR Game Studio Winner: Owlchemy Labs

CCP Games (EVE: Valkyrie, Gunjack, Project Arena)

Cloudhead Games (The Gallery)

High Voltage (Damaged Core, Dragon Front)

Insomniac (Edge of Nowhere, The Unspoken)

Owlchemy Labs (Job Simulator, Rick and Morty)

Playful Corp (Lucky’s Tale, Wonderland)

Squanchtendo (Accounting)

Survios (Raw Data)

arizonasunshine

Best VR Game of the Year Winner: Arizona Sunshine

Arizona Sunshine

Damaged Core

The Gallery: Episode 1 – Call of the Starseed

Job Simulator

Onward

Rez Infinite

SUPERHOT VR

The Unspoken

startrek

Most Anticipated Upcoming VR Game of 2017 Winner: Star Trek – Bridge Crew

Arktika.1

Fallout 4 VR

Farpoint

Lone Echo

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

Rock Band VR

Star Trek: Bridge Crew

Wilson’s Heart


What are your picks for some of the best games and experiences this year? Did your favorite not win what you thought it would? Let us know in the comments below!

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

  • Frogacuda

    I don’t agree with all the picks, but what really strikes me is what a tough call many of them are. There was a lot of great stuff this year, considering VR is in its infancy.

    • Absolutely! There’s a reason is took us three hours in Altspace to decide all of these haha

  • lostformofvr

    Sorry, but i totally disagree with a lot of winners. The result doesn’t represent the best games/experiences/apps of 2016. You must improve the process to chose the winners, if you want to be taken seriously.

    • What were some of your favorites? Choices like this are always tough and there are plenty of games and apps to go around for everyone! Lots of great stuff this year!

    • So true! I think a much more comprehensive and objective results would be to ask the community and do proper voting. Sure, there will be platform wars, but you could specify the platform and sort out the votes accordingly to multi-platform titles and exclusives. Also a tricky question is how to work out the titles that can be played using ReVive.. cuz SuperhotVR and DirtVR are my top picks probably although I own a Vive.

  • Cyanhyde

    Looks like I’ve got a bunch of titles to try out.

  • BooBoo65

    Thumper was too basic to be fun for me. It also seemed more like a vehicle that was stationary and a moving ground underneath than what was intended in the animation

    I just can’t believe thumper is anywhere close to being tops, but I know a lot disagree.

    • James Friedman

      It’s still a pretty crazy experience though and very unique.

  • Kenny

    How can Arizona Sunshine win game of the year and lose best rift game.

    • Scott C

      It seems obvious that an editorial decision was made that the game of the year could not be a platform exclusive, to avoid a political explosion. Perhaps more charitably, accessibility was given consideration, but if that’s the case, they should have said so when introducing the list. Of course, neither interpretation stopped TiltBrush, so maybe there’s some anti-Rift bias lurking beneath the surface.

      Honestly, I’m fairly disappointed that nothing was written about the entries to explain the rationale behind each. A straight list of things read dryly and comes off as lazy, low-hanging filler.

  • John Cruddas

    My thoughts (from the reddit thread).
    I know opinions are subjective and these lists will always be different for everyone so let me preface this by saying I realize the stupidity of picking at other peoples lists, but at the end of the day, thats kinda what these lists are for right? So…

    What were you guys smoking?

    .

    AS over Superhot? Just no!

    .

    If Onward is the best shooter, and Arizona Sunshine is a shooter. How is Sunshine the game of the year? That makes no sense!

    .

    Shoehorning Superhot into the “Puzzle” genre is really a stretch. Onward also has some ‘thinking’ tactical elements, does that make it a puzzle game too?

    .

    Tiltbrush over Quill?? The two are so similar but Quill just offers so much more refinement and artistic possibilities. This is one place where I believe subjectivity can be thrown out of the window. As art software, Quill is *objectively* better than tiltbrush.

    .

    I think maybe you guys went out of your way to avoid the drama that may have resulted from putting platform exclusives as your top picks. That is admirable in a way, but really, imo, awards should not be politically motivated and should just highlight what is BEST out there.

    .

    Edit – Also you got into a platform mess anyway by listing Arizona Sunshine as the best Vive game. It is multi-platform. If it is best Vive game, and best VR game, how is Unspoken the best Rift game, when you can play Sunshine on Rift? You should have kept the best games for each platform limited to exclusives, or just not bothered with it at all.

    Edit 2 – Read a little further down. Altspace over Recroom is also criminal. Just hanging out socially in VR with complete strangers is weird and a little creepy. Recroom gives distractions and the games do a great job of breaking the ice. Its a far better social experience imo.

    Edit 3 – Could you not have created a category in there for Google Earth VR to win? It is widely regarded as one of the most incredible, almost trans-formative, experiences in VR. Not a single mention in your awards.

    • wjb

      Maybe no Google Earth b/c a lot of people (myself included) couldn’t get it to run before 2017. But it’s truly transformative for sure.

  • James Friedman

    I still haven’t found a game that looks as good as Until Dawn Rush of Blood on PSVR. It’s both a crazy rollercoaster and shooting gallery that scares the shit out of you. I forget the writers of upload don’t like jump scares 🙂 The only thing I felt that was similar was the new game Ghost Town Mine Ride on steam. Still the mechanics and graphics aren’t as good.

  • James Friedman

    Owlchemy Labs creates a couple of tech demos and win developer of the year?

  • JTD

    I havent played much of the titles in Best Online but I would have thought hover junkers should be in there, the interactions in that game just blew my mind.

  • craylon

    with so many categories I think there should be one more : sports/ fitness games
    Imho stuff like audioshield, racket nx, eleven, paddle up, quivr that are frequently used for workouts are an important part of VR

  • mirak

    To me you forgot iRacing in “Racing Games”, and Hover Junkers in “Online Games” and “Shooters”.

    Hover Junkers is probably the most polished VR experience in all games catégories.
    iRacing had to sell a lot of headsets, and Project Cars is so badly optimised it should be dropped of that list.

  • Adderstone VR

    I just think that handling this entirely internally was a big opportunity missed.
    I was really hoping you guys would recognise your readers a bit more…

    This was a great opportunity to give your readers a quick questionnaire to fill out, learn more about your readers, find out what platform/s they have and what games they enjoy.

    UploadVR is a great source of VR information but in all honesty your site would not mean anything without having readers, and in these you really did ignore us. You have a community here, embrace that and use us, otherwise you’re just another news site.