Game of the Year 2011
We'd like to say that the voting was close; that the other competitors came within an inch of taking the Game of the Year crown, but that would simply be a lie. From the moment we opened voting to our experts, Skyrim was the clear winner.
So, what's the secret of Skyrim's success? Our judges implied that it was in the scale and variety of the adventure, rather than the specific balancing of any single mechanic - Skyrim is a game that offers everything to everyone.
'It's Bethesda all over,
' says Gareth Halfacree. '[Skyrim has] an amazingly rich and complicated world and the thrill of exploring the environs of Skyrim is something I haven't felt since Morrowind.
'Skyrim nails the atmosphere of the frozen north,
' agrees Dan Grilipoulos. 'It makes me feel annoyed I'm not climbing mountains in the Lake District.
That's not to say that Skyrim doesn't have its faults, however. Even our most excessively lauding judges occasionally cast their memories back to previous entries in the series or threw token criticisms at Skyrim's interface design. The consensus was that Skyrim offers such diversity that its few faults are lost against a backdrop of brilliant potential. Skyrim's capacity for player-generated stories also shone through as a highlight, with several judges taking the time to share tales of how they've exploited Skyrim's fully realised fantasy world.
Some of these stories were hilarious, such as Gareth's tale of having to hunt down chickens that had witnessed his murders. Others were more worrying, such as Craig's love of being able to attack strangers, steal their clothes and throw their naked corpses into half-frozen rivers. Each and every one of these stories helped secure Skyrim's place as Game of the Year - a place it undoubtedly deserves.
Do you disagree? Let us know your favourite games of the year in the forums!