Journey, the stunning ambient explore-em-up from designer Jenova Chen, swept the board at the annual DICE Awards. Voted for by the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences, the awards are the closest thing the games industry has to the Oscars, although the ceremony inevitably involves less dance numbers.
Already a favourite with critics and a top selling game on SONY's PlayStation Network, Journey took home eight awards, including the big three: Game of the Year, Outstanding Achievement in Game Direction and Outstanding Innovation in Gaming.
No other game came close to Journey's haul, but several games came away with multiple awards. The brutally brilliant XCOM: Enemy Unknown took home prizes for best strategy/simulation game as well as Outstanding Achievement in Gameplay Engineering. Microsoft's Halo 4 also took home two gongs, for Outstanding Achievement in Visual Engineering and Outstanding Achievement in Connectivity.
Topping off a 2012 that was stuffed with superb titles across all genres, the exuberant Borderlands 2 was crowned Action Game of the Year, while Need for Speed: Most Wanted took the prize for best racing game and Mass Effect 3 was dubbed best role-playing game. Skylanders Giants beat Lego Batman 2 and Nintendo Land for Family Game of the Year, while PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale provided an upset in the fighting game category, as SONY's character crossover mash-up beat such genre mainstays as Tekken Tag Tournament 2 and Street Fighter X Tekken.
Telltale Games' gruelling episodic adventure series The Walking Dead, based on the hit comic, also won big. It was awarded Adventure Game of the Year, and also took home honours for story and voice acting.