The annual awards recognize games released in the last calendar year. NAVGTR Corp. conducts several activities before the nominees can be determined.
The general voting body of reviewers, journalists, analysts, and writers includes contributors for such varied outlets as 1up, About.com, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Austin American-Statesman, Break, Chicago Sun-Times, CNN, Contra Costa Times, Detroit Free Press, Digital Journal, Discovery, EclipseMagazine.com, EGM Now, elecplay.com, Evergeek Media, FHM, Gamespot, Gaming Illustrated, Gamers Temple, Gaming Target, Gannett News Service, Geek, Joystiq, LA Weekly, Los Angeles Times, Machinima, MAX Level, Moody’s, National Post, National Public Radio, NBC, New Gamer Nation, New York Times, The Ottawa Citizen, PC Gamer, Philadelphia Inquirer, Play Magazine, Public Radio International, The Regina Leader-Post, Salon, San Jose Mercury-News, Terminal Gamer, USA Today, The Vancouver Sun, Viso, Wired News, Wizard Magazine, WOW Weekly, XBLA Fans, Ziff-Davis Media, and hundreds more.
For the first few years of the awards, a Committee of Delegates was elected to assist in the creation of the ballot sent to all voters for determining the nominees in each category. In later years, a Board of Advisors was appointed to fill the roles previously served by Delegates. These advisors have also become known as “superdelegates,” particularly in the decade awards program. More recently, the “War of Awards” online component may offer an opportunity for the larger community to lead the process in 2018 and beyond.
To be a candidate for Delegate or Superdelegate/Advisor, e-mail info at navgtr dot org (subject line “navgtr BOA”) at any time throughout the year, though the period between June and September is usually best. Candidates are not required to be registered voters of the Academy. Official entrants may not serve as Delegates.
In order to stay on schedule, the Delegate process begins before all eligible games have been publicly released for consideration. For this reason, delegates will not be bound to their initial choices when they select the finalists to appear on the Nomination Ballot. This allows delegates to have additional game play time with games that are released late in the calendar year or simply require additional time due to the length of the game, as many releases tend to offer more than 60 hours of game play. Once the delegates complete the construction of the ballot, it is distributed to all registered voters who select the final nominees. Corporate entries are automatically guaranteed ballot access when all entry procedures are followed, including the payment of entry fees.
Other than playing games, a delegate makes a significant contribution to various balloting issues. Though total e-mails will probably not pass two dozen with any one delegate, most correspondence involves… judgment calls on appropriate category placements; debate over the distinction between sequels, expansions, ports, and their eligibility or lack thereof; remembering whether an actor did only a few lines, a solid supporting role, or a lead role; deciding whether a game expands a franchise or starts a new one; disqualification notices due to games delayed, etc.
Most of this takes place in December plus the first week of January. The most interesting and challenging work is coming up with unique but good ballot options.
Purpose of Sample Ballots
Platforms, or sample ballots, may still be requested of new applicants to give the organization an idea of whether a candidate would add to the real ballot with myopic fanboy fervor or insightful, careful selection out of an honest attempt to reign in the excess and reach for a wide range of good picks to help make sure categories don’t all look the same. Because candidates’ sample game ballots largely overlapped from year to year, candidates are no longer inherently required to run on announced “platforms” which used to serve as a barometer for selecting delegates that represent a balance of gaming tastes and interests. Instead, the Academy now develops a single sample ballot using a wiki-like approach to development.