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Skyrim, Portal 2, Batman win big at Spike Video Game Awards

A screenshot from the debut trailer for an as-yet untitled Alan Wake game, as seen at the Spike Video Game Awards on December 10th, 2011

The 8th annual Spike Video Game Awards show was held Saturday evening on the American network, with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim taking top honours.

The epic fantasy role-playing game made by Bethesda Game Studios – which also won an award for Studio of the Year – beat out fellow nominees Batman: Arkham City, Portal 2, Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword for the trophy.

Rocksteady Studios' Batman: Arkham City was another of the show's big winners. It took home awards for Xbox 360 Game of the Year, Best Action Adventure Game of the Year, Best Adapted Video Game of the Year, and Character of the Year (for the Joker, played by Mark Hamill).

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Valve Corp.'s Portal 2 fared well, too, winning PC Game of the Year, Best DLC (downloadable content), Best Multiplayer, Best Performance by a Human Male (Stephen Merchant as Wheatley), and Best Performance by a Human Female (Ellen McLain as GLaDOS).

The show, which is judged by a panel of 25 game journalists ranging from Wired Senior Editor Chris Slate to Penny Arcade creators Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins, has become the industry's most popular awards ceremony among game fans, but is also the subject of some criticism.

Some observers have pointed out that the awards themselves are overshadowed and marginalized by the parade of debut trailers that runs throughout the two hour broadcast. This year's program devoted significant time to at least a dozen upcoming games, including The Last of Us, Mass Effect 3, Command & Conquer: Generals 2, Rainbow Six: Patriots, Alan Wake, Amazing Spider-Man, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, Fortnite, Diablo III, Bioshock Infinite, and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.

Others criticize the award categories, some of which are confusing and seem to exist only to provide an opportunity to honour more games. Batman: Arkham City lost out to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for the game of the year yet won Best Xbox 360 Game, despite the fact that Microsoft's console is the most popular platform on which gamers play Bethesda's RPG. If categories for specific platforms are to be included, the popular argument goes, shouldn't they be limited to games exclusive to each platform?

Still, the Spike Video Game Awards remains the industry's the most viewed and potentially most important annual televised event. It may have a few warts, but it clearly celebrates the medium and gives dozens of games – and their developers – some well deserved recognition.

Full list of Spike Video Game Awards winners

Game of the Year: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

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Studio of the Year: Bethesda Game Studios ( The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim)

Character of the Year: The Joker ( Batman: Arkham City)

Gamer God: Blizzard Entertainment

Best Xbox 360 Game: Batman: Arkham City

Best PlayStation 3 Game: Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception

Best Wii Game: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

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Best PC Game: Portal 2

Best Handheld/Mobile Game: Super Mario 3D Land

Best Shooter: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

Best Action Adventure Game: Batman: Arkham City

Best RPG: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Best multiplayer: Portal 2

Best Individual Sports Game: Fight Night Champion

Best Team Sports Game: NBA 2K12

Best Driving Game: Forza Motorsport 4

Best Fighting Game: Mortal Kombat

Best Motion Game: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Best Independent Game: Minecraft

Best Adapted Video Game: Batman: Arkham City

Best Song in a Game: "Build that Wall (Zia's Theme)" by Darren Korb ( Bastion)

Best Original Score: Bastion

Best Graphics: Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception

Best Performance by a Human Male: Stephen Merchant as Wheatley ( Portal 2)

Best Performance by a Human Female: Ellen McLain as GLaDOS ( Portal 2)

Best Downloadable Game: Bastion

Best DLC: Portal 2: Peer Review

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