Here is the list of nominees. I am linking to Kotaku's list since the Spike TV website is a bit of an eyesore and harder to navigate through the list.
Well lets start with the Game of the Year Nominees:
Call of Duty: Black Ops
Red Dead Redemption
God of War 3
Mass Effect 2
There are two games that I think are left off this list: Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Starcraft 2. I am not advocating Galaxy 2 as some kind of Nintendo fan boy. The game is just really amazing, and probably one of the best platformers I've ever played in my life. More importantly though, Spike TV clearly didn't pay attention to Metacritic. Super Mario Galaxy 2 is currently the highest rated game of the year on metacritic, meaning it has received more universal acclaim than any other game on that list. It was probably too gay for Spike TV. I haven't played Star Craft 2 yet, but I know the impact the game has had. It is a world wide cultural phenomenon and will be one of the most played games in the competitive video game scene. It has a higher metacritic score than Halo, Call of Duty, and God of War. I assume it was too nerdy ... or too Korean.
I think the biggest problem I have with the Game of the Year list is how bro-y it is. Almost every single game in that list revolves around shooting people dead. God of War's Kratos doesn't use guns, but he gets to have an in game threesome with two hot chicks so it doesn't matter. I understand that they have to cater to their audience (it is the network for Men after all), but this is ridiculous. In all seriousness though, the US Army is a huge corporate sponsor of these awards and it shows. BTW, Call of Duty: Black Ops doesn't even break into the 90s on Metacritic.
Now, go here is their Best Soundtrack nomination:
Notice anything weird about these nominees? NONE OF THESE GAMES HAVE AN ACTUAL SOUNDTRACK! This would make sense if the category was like: 'Best Licensed Music in Game' or something. Regardless, I would think that this just overlaps with Best Music Game, and wouldn't the song list have a big impact on how good/bad one of those games was in the first place? I guess the real soundtrack nominees are over in 'Best Original Score.' This is just a weird classification to me and I wish they would just replace it with a category that actually matters, such as Best Fighting Game. Speaking of which, Super Street Fighter IV wasn't nominated for anything, partially because it doesn't really fit into most of the categories there are awards for.
Know what else wasn't mentioned at all in these awards? Minecraft. This is probably one of the most innovative games I have ever seen and has become a bit of an internet phenomenon. It should have at least been nominated for Best Indy Game.
I will concede that not everything on this list is ridiculous. For example, I am glad that Kirby's Epic Yarn got nominated for Best Graphics. I vastly prefer original and interesting graphics like the ones in Kirby over anything that tries too hard to be realistic. I was actually pleasantly surprised that Spike TV even nominated it in the graphics section. I don't really have much of a problem with the rest of the categories really, although I have heard that some of the Best Performance nominees are bogus, but I can't attest to those.
Out of the games listed for Game of the Year, my bet is on either Mass Effect 2 or Red Dead Redemption. I guess I'll be keeping up with the VGAs for the first time ever this year, even if mostly for da lulz. The Spike TV Video Game Awards 2010 air on December 11th.