The 2007 Bishoujo Game Award results are in, and the people have spoken: in the period covered by the poll (September ’06 through August ’07), Pulltop’s Harukani Aogi, Uruwashino (EGS) emerged on top in four categories (BGM, “Pure Love”-type, Scenario, and User’s Choice), sweeping the overall grand prize in the process. Bullet Butlers received honorable mention in the User’s Choice category as well as sharing the Media prize with two other titles, where it’s noted that given its release date the game didn’t get adequate time to be voted on before the voting period was closed. The full list of winners and a description of the voting and selection process follows:
Harukani Aogi, Uruwashino – PULLTOP
“Pure Love” Genre Award
User’s Choice Award
Koihime Musou – BaseSon
Best Character Award
New Genre Award
Figu@Mate – Escu:de
Theme Song Award
Seinarukana – Xuse
Kowaku no Toki – TinkerBell
“Hard” Genre Award
Kouhou Miko – AIL
“Fetish” Genre Award
Minna Daisuki Kozukuri Banchou – Anastasia
Kimi ga Aruji de Shitsuji ga Ore de – Minato Soft
Mutsuboshi Kirari – Dennou Club
DVD PG Award
Zettai Imouto Shijou Shugi – Nounai Kanojo
Bullet Butlers – Propeller
Akane Iro ni Somaru Saka – Feng
What are the Bishoujo Game Awards?
The Bishoujo Game Awards are, as the name suggests, awards given annually to bishoujo game titles that excel in various meritorious categories. The first round of awards was given out in 2006, with the recently announced results of the 2007 polling marking the second year of this very new “tradition” in the eroge world.
Like any other system of judging merit, questions immediately arise as to scope, methodology, and authority by which the awards are worth more than the opinion of some random guy on the internet. The Bishoujo Game Awards are organized as follows:
1. The awards are sponsored by and have the backing of the EOCS (Ethics Organization of Computer Software, or Sofurin), the primary industry ratings organization that provides internal checks on game content and puts the bright, shiny “18+” stickers on game boxes that marks them as eligible for sale; the eroge equivalent of the ESRB.
This is all well and good, except there’s another ratings organization for eroge that does the exact same thing – the CSA. While smaller than the EOCS, the CSA still represents some heavyweight names in the bishoujo game world (such as Nitro+, Caramel Box, Tech Arts, and Lilith), and their exclusion mars the comprehensive claims of the awards.
2. The awards are chosen based on a combination of the popular vote and nomination by a panel of expert judges. The way it works is when you buy a new EOCS-sanctioned game, inside the game package in addition to the manual, game disc and any extras there will be a small sheet of paper with an unique voting code printed on it. You go to a special site set up for the purpose, input the code, and are allowed to cast a single vote per category for any game released in the current year to date. The number of votes an individual can cast is therefore equal to the number of new games he or she buys in the year, though votes can be held for later in the year and don’t have to be used on the game they were purchased with.
At the end of the year the three games with the most votes are automatically nominated as finalists, and a fourth game is chosen by the judges from those that placed #4-10 to provide an additional nominee. The panel of judges then selects one from among these four to receive each award, with the exception of the User’s Choice Award, which is automatically given to the game that receives the most votes overall.
3. The panel of judges for the awards is primarily composed of industry representatives and eroge magazine editors. The current judging committee consists of: the Editor in Chief of trade magazine PC Press, the Editor in Chief of PC Angel neo, the company director of Game Style, the Editor in Chief of Pasocon Paradise, the Editor in Chief of BugBug, and a joint representative of the Comic Market planning committee.
Notable for its absence from the judging panel is any representation from the eroge magazine with the largest market share in Japan, Tech Gian. My guess is that they declined an invitation to participate, as these awards are a conflict of interest that would diminish the magazine’s own internal polling and yearly awards program.
4. The award categories do not reflect the variety of games that deserve recognition with complete accuracy. This is something the committee is addressing in 2008 with tweaking of the categories to give “fan discs” and “low price” games their own categories, as well as establishing a much-needed prize for character design, and a separate category for games employing 3D graphics. An improvement over 2007, but I’m guessing we can expect to see some more minor tweaks as the awards mature in future years.
We’ll be keeping an eye out for further news on what looks, despite its faults, like the most reputable equivalent of Academy Awards to emerge for the eroge world. Coverage of the first two awards presentation ceremonies can be found below, courtesy of Galge.com: