GOTY 2014 - Best Moment

This year, we're rolling out a new set of awards that recognize achievements (and some dubious honors) in specific areas of game development. There are ten awards in all, with two new ones being awarded every day this week. Keep checking back for more winners! Don't miss out on any of our Game of the Year coverage. Check out our full schedule here, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for instant updates.

Best Moment - Solving P.T.

7780s Studio | August 12, 2014 | PlayStation 4

Wow, this game came out of nowhere. Announced and released this summer at Sony’s Gamescom presentation, P.T.—which stands for “Playable Teaser”—wound up serving as a carefully obscured announcement for Silent Hills, an upcoming reboot of the Silent Hill psychological horror series. Even more exciting is that the upcoming Hills is being helmed by Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima and film director Guillermo del Toro.

But what surprised us the most was how P.T. wasn’t a demo for an upcoming game, or even a representative slice of what that game will play like. Instead, we got a wholly different experience that was blessedly devoid of context. It required a persistence and cleverness to solve that few games call for these days. The ostensible reward for solving the final puzzle in P.T. is a short cinematic trailer announcing Silent Hills that features a brief look at the protagonist portrayed by Norman Reedus. But for us, the real joy came from navigating (and enduring) the horrors of this tiny, self-contained experience.

P.T. wouldn’t have worked as an obvious demo or tie-in to an existing franchise. It succeeded as a horror experience because of its masterful implementation of perverting the mundane subtly and slowly as a normal-looking home becomes an unpredictable and harrowing place of horror. And it succeeded as a game because nobody knew what they were getting into, leaving the community to solve a complex and multi-faceted mystery on its own.  – Nick Cummings

Runners-up: Mario Kart 8 - Racing Down Mount Wario, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U - Eight-player Smash