Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

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Reaction to L.A.con IV's Video Game Hugo

As reported on the Emerald City Weblog, "Well known game designer, Greg Costikyan, has laid into L.A.Con IV's video game Hugo."

I have no strong feelings about this category, although if it had been my decision to make, I would have repeated Best Web Site again. I certainly don't have the negative feelings toward it that Costikyan has. OTOH, I don't like people ascribing decisions or motives to "WSFS" that are properly ascribed to an individual Worldcon committee, so I commented Costikyan's entry with a long reply about how the Special Hugo Category works.

It's not that surprising that people not intimately aware of the highly-decentralized nature of Worldcon would assume that there really is a single World Science Fiction Society with a central organization or committee that makes decisions on things like the Hugo Awards and arranges all Worldcons, or possibly awards Olympics to host cities the way the International Olympic Committee does. The structure of Worldcon, which (as I've written before) is more of a loose confederation governed similarly to the original government of the USA, looks very strange to most outsiders, even those people who are close to or fellow-travelers of SF fandom.

I think of the Special Hugo Category the same way as the "demonstration sports" that various Olympic Games have tried. I don't know if the decision to have those sports was vested only in the individual Olympic Committee, but I do seem to recall hearing that the IOC has banned the practice and will not have "demonstration sports" at future Games.

There is one way in which the members of WSFS can say that the Best Interactive Video Game category was a bad idea: Don't nominate anything in it. If there aren't many nominations, the Administrator will kill the category. The Administrator can do that to any category; however, this has rarely happened except in a failed Special Category, such as 1993's Best Translator and 1995's Best Music.

Disclaimer: I am Chairman of the 2006 WSFS Business Meeting, Chairman of the WSFS Mark Protection Committee, and have been involved with the administration of the Hugo Award three times; however, my opinions stated here are my own only, and do not reflect any official position of L.A.con IV or of WSFS.

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