Every year as the heat of summer beats down upon us, the Game Critics Awards are announced for the “Best of E3.” Sure enough, the conglomerate of 31 North American media outlets have just released the list of this year’s winners, and there are some definitely some surprises.

We already reported on this year’s nominees, so you can get reacquainted with them here. Going in, games like Bethesda’s Rage and Disney’s Epic Mickey hoarded a lot of nominations, and Electronic Arts led the way in terms of publisher nods. Without further ado, here is the list of this year’s 17 winners:

Best in Show: Nintendo 3DS. Beating out a slew of games (Rage, Portal 2, Dance Central, and Disney’s Epic Mickey), Nintendo’s dizzyingly awesome handheld wowed the crowds at E3 2010. If you haven’t done it yet, check out our hands-on review of the 3DS, which tells you all you need to know:  This. Thing. Is. Amazing. While the other games in this category were more than meritorious, saying that there was a surprise in this category would be a lie.

Best Original Game: Dance Central. Those eagerly anticipating the Kinect had to be satisfied with Harmonix’s exhibition at E3, which featured promises of 600 dance moves, 90 different routines, and a contingent of happy female gamers. Take a peek here at our review of Dance Central. Will this game be the flagship title for the Kinect? A nod for best original game can’t hurt.

Best Console Game: Rage. Bethesda has already promised us that Rage will feature id Software’s “true potential,” and what we saw from E3 didn’t stray away from that statement. Gamers will utilize unique weapons and gadgets in an post-apocalyptic landscape and scream out “The Nanomachines!  The Nanomachines!” until they turn blue in the face. With a lot of hype and the most nominations, it’s no surprise that Rage gets the nod in this category.  Oh, and as a side note, Rage also received a “special commendation” by the Game Critics for its graphic capabilities.

Best Handheld Game: God of War: Ghost of Sparta. While we only got a glimpse of the game’s CGI effects rather than any gameplay, the industry’s love affair with Kratos helped the PSP title score a minor upset over Super Scribblenauts (The original Scribblenauts won this category in 2009). How can you not like vengeful, arrogant, and muscled-up antihero? If you haven’t seen the first screenshots for this game, you can find them here.

Best PC Game: Portal 2. The Game Critics didn’t give the highly regarded Valve franchise the Best PC Game award because of its innovative gameplay, its hilarious villain, or its ability to induce motion sickness. No, the Game Critics did it for science. Those monsters. If Portal 2 didn’t win this category, I would’ve taken my Companion Cube and gone home.

Best Hardware: Nintendo 3DS. I mean, it won Best in Show, but it wasn’t going to win Best Hardware? Pbbbt. I think the only people surprised by the 3DS’s showing at E3 2010 are the Microsoft and Sony executives and the programmers working on the Kinect and the Move.

The Other “Best [Insert Genre Here]” Games: In addition to taking home Best Console Game, Rage also got the nod for Best Action game (Sorry, Halo: Reach). Meanwhile, Portal 2 added to its slate by owning the Best Action/Adventure Game category. The much anticipated Star Wars:  The Old Republic received award for Best Role Playing Game, despite the news that BioWare has no plans to bring the game to consoles. The addition of Deadpool and Dante looks like it was enough to push Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 to the front of the Best Fighting Game category. Need For Speed Hot Pursuit gave a fabulous hands-on impression at E3, and it was rewarded with a win in the Best Racing Game category. The reboot of NBA Jam for the Wii heated up the LA Convention Center, pushing it to a victory in the Best Sports Game category. Civilization 5, stalwart of the strategy genre, took home another win in the Best Strategy Game category. Finally, Harmonix scored a twin killing when it won both the Best Social/Casual Game with Rock Band 3 (Now with completely legitimate, it-actually-teaches-you-guitar guitar) and the Best Motion Simulation game with the aforementioned Dance Central.

Best Online Multiplayer: Assassin’s Creed:  Brotherhood. I don’t need to say much more. This game looks awesome, and the multiplayer aspect should be phenomenal. Check out the latest trailer here. Oh, and remember, there will be be a multiplayer beta sometime in the near future.

Phew. That’s a lot of video game firepower from many different consoles, publishers, and genres. The 3DS, Rage, Portal 2, Dance Central, and Electronic Arts (Four wins) were definitely the big winners, while nominated games like Disney’s Epic Mickey, Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, and Child of Eden were left out in the cold.

So, how about it? Were there any other surprises for this year’s Game Critics Awards? Sad that Epic Mickey got shut out? Surprised by the support for the 3DS? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Source:  Game Critic Awards

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