The Japan Game Awards don't receive a lot of attention outside of the Tokyo Game Show itself, but the people who make games within Japan or for Japanese audiences take them rather seriously. The Game of the Year awards were voted on by many fans, so it wasn't surprising to see non-Nintendo titles such as The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Dark Souls III rake in awards. However, several titles on Nintendo consoles ended up pulling in more awards collectively than any other major publisher or console, including the Grand Prize.
The ceremony was split into two sections: Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry Award(s), and Game of the Year Division awards. In the first half, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U pulled in one half of the Global Award for being the best selling and most popular Japanese game worldwide. For some reason — and I apologize for my poor Japanese missing exactly why — a 2014 game was still eligible to win this award. The host did state the game continues to release DLC up until this year and inspire events around the world. Mr. Smash Bros. himself, Masahiro Sakurai, took to the stage to accept the award, and gave a speech challenging Japanese game designers to break into the top 10 worldwide games sold, as there currently aren't any (until, he noted, Pokémon Sun and Moon releases). Sakurai-san stated that Japanese games are too niche, and while any success is a success to be proud of, he wants Japanese-made games to move forward and reach more audiences. Call of Duty: Black Ops III won the other half of the two part award for its popularity in Japan.
Sakurai-san also presented the Game Designers Award to Dontnod CEO Oskar Guilbert, for Life is Strange.
Next, Monster Hunter Cross, known as Monster Hunter Generations outside of Japan, won the Sales Award for best selling title in Japan. A middle-aged Monster Hunter fan, who won a voting contest, presented the award, telling the audience a story about how he and his co-workers often head to a karaoke bar and play Monster Hunter together for up to eight hours a few times a week.
People clapped. It was a little strange in this writer's opinion.
That was all Nintendo pulled in for the first half of the award ceremony, but the next half, the Game of the Year Division, awarded 10 titles 'Game of the Year'. These included four Nintendo or system-exclusive games: Splatoon, Yokai Watch Blasters, Super Mario Maker and Monster Hunter Generations/Cross. Since some of these titles were from 2015, it's important to note that Japan's fiscal year runs from 1st April to 31st March. Some titles have yet to leave Japan, but there's no doubt Nintendo's still doing quite well in the eyes of Japanese gamers and critics.
Splatoon, everyone's favourite murder-by-paint simulator, pulled in the Grand Prize. The developer who accepted the award (once again, they spoke too quickly for me to catch who he was, and the Japan Game Awards website hasn't updated yet — we'll update when they do) teared up on stage when an adorable little girl came out to present him the award with her mother. Awws were had by all.
Sunday night hosts the Future Division awards, which will acknowledge upcoming games we have to look forward to in the coming fiscal year. We'll try to attend that as well and see what Japan thinks about Nintendo's future.
Are you surprised Nintendo won so many awards? Why or why not? Let us know below.