The Coaching for Geeks Awards began as a small Coaching for Geeks community event in 2017, where around 100 people voted. By 2019 it had become a celebration of the great, the good, and the awful of the year and attracted 20,000 votes.
Enter 2020… What a year it’s been. There have been some changes to the categories this year, to reflect the rise in streaming and the lack of live events (or else PAX East would have walked it). We want to highlight the people, videogames, and TV shows that have made your year better.
The Coaching for Geeks Community made their nominations and the top 5 from each category, plus a wildcard of my choice, have made it to the public vote.
Now it’s up to YOU to choose your favourites of 2020 and maybe win 100 games on Steam too.
Voting remains open until 8:00AM Tuesday 29th December and the winners will be announced live on Twitch on Wednesday 30th December at 7pm.
Note: this page should be full of images but the site is not happy. Apologies that it’s not so pretty today!
HERE COME THE NOMINEES!
TV SHOW OF THE YEAR 2020
It was a great year for television, with shows returning and not ruining their second season. While some shows made the most of lockdown, such as the BBC’s Staged striving on David Tennant’s and Michael Sheen’s chemistry, to the like of The Witcher being suspended due to outbreaks among the crew.
Nevertheless, it was a great year for TV and the Coaching for Geeks Community selected these finalists for TV Show of the Year 2020 are:
The Mandalorian: Season 2
Apparently, this is indeed the way. The Mandalorian Season 2 sees our masked bounty hunter, continuing his task of returning The Child, AKA Baby Yoda, to his people. Chapter 16 has not yet aired at the time of writing, but Jon Favreau has made The Mando a must watch.
The Boys: Season 2
Who watches the… ahem, wrong show. In Season 2 The eponymous Boys continue their battle against The Seven, with the introduction of white supremacist ‘superhero’ Stormfront. Complex characters, social commentary, and super violent action. It’s The Boys Season 2.
It seems the whole world stopped for a few weeks to celebrate Tiger King and that bitch Carole Baskin. Did anybody come off well from it? No, for this is a tale of litigation, animal abuse, drugs, death, and defamation. Dark but oh so compelling. Let’s just pretend the follow up with Joel McHale didn’t happen.
The Queen’s Gambit
Who’d have foreseen that a chess-themed story could be the backbone of one of the drama shows of the year? The story of an orphan who becomes a world class chess master, while battling addiction and inner demons has seen the novel become a New York Times bestseller, and sales of chess sets are up 200%.
Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun
Utterly absurd, slightly unnerving, and hilarious to its core. The Aunty Donna boys bring a dose of absurdism to sketch comedy, with traces of Monty Python and Vic & Bob running through, catchy songs, and celebrity cameos from the likes of Egg Helms, plus the power of non-toxic male friendship and morning brown. Is everything a drum?
What We Do in the Shadows: Season 2
Nandor the Relentless, Laszlo, Nadja, and Colin Robinson may not be the most competent vampires of Staten Island, but they are hilarious and deliciously dark. Continuing the themes and story of season 1, with more Colin, more of Guillermo’s history, and more disasters, Season 2 ups the vampiric fun. BAT!
Streamer of the Year (<1000 Followers)
Streaming has seen a huge uptick in 2020. With events and in person meets gone, people took to Twitch, YouTube, and other platforms to share their content and grow communities. From DJs to gaming to theatre and more. And then Mixer shut down, DMCAs got thrown around, and simping got banned.
In this category we celebrate the streamers with smaller followings, the up and comers, the getting started, the on their ways.
Here are the Streamer of The Year 2020 Finalists.
Liam, Nathan, Jon, and Sam make up FURN Gaming on Twitch. Four guys who love video and tabletop gaming, good nature roasting, and bad puns. Hunt: Showdown, Rogue Company, and good old Minecraft have featured over the last few months, and their audience is steadily growing as they get to grips with promoting themselves as well as streaming together.
The Pirate Moustache
The Pirate Moustache, aka Paul Flannery, is known for Knightmare Live, The MMORPG Show, and Roel Play Gourmet, amongst other geeky entertainment endeavours. When 2020 shut down higs gigs, he first turned to Facebook Live to play Knightmare Live, and eventually took to Twitch to open The Mind Pub. Games about snacks, imaginary pints, and japes abound.
DJ Gothicat streams Catnip Radio live on Mixcloud. Catnip Radio is a small online channel dedicated to entertaining fun music streams. Run by a small team of volunteers that would usually volunteer at cons/events, Catnip Radio was born to entertain people going through lockdown, but has grown into much more.
First taking to Twitch in June 2020, after 10 years in the army, Drag Queen Rhiebelle has quickly amassed a large following, the Rhiebellion. Discussing mental health, watching balls get yeeted in Marbles on Stream, and playing horror games, Rhiebelle really understands the performance and community aspects of streaming, and her mission to normalise mental health conversations is an important one.
Kat is a hitchhiker of the galaxy, and thus Galaxi_Kat was born. By her own reckoning, she’s really bad at games, but her streams are chill (unless they’re scary), and focused around her enjoyment of gaming itself (and getting annoyed at how bad she is!). Recent games have included Man of Medan, Minecraft, and Miles Morales. Kat’s focus remains on having a good time with her wonderful community, and constantly shows her gratitude for the love that they give her.
Eat My Paint
Lloyd creates comics in MS Paint, as Eat My Paint. With a delightful sense of humour and chill beats, you can get yourself drawn as a ‘torb, make suggestions for him to draw, and you’ll definitely have seen some of his 3 panel webcomics comics go viral. Talk to him about his cat, Bear, or your favourite Pokémon, or watch him play Among Us with other comic artist types.
Streamer of the Year (>1000 Followers)
Time for the streamers with a larger audience to take to the stage. Affiliates, Partners, and those on the journey, who’ve built up a larger community…
Here are the Streamer of the Year 2020 Finalists.
Variety streamer Kookiee has found her niche and community in 2020. With an emphasis on ‘buildingey-type games’ such as Ark, but not afraid to try new things such as Cyberpunk 2077 and Phasmophobia, Kookie has worked hard to network and connect with streamers and chat alike.
BethSouls has created a cozy, pink, community. Super welcoming, super LGBTQIA+ welcoming, and with chaotic swearing, among the Animal Crossing, Among Us, marbles on Stream and more. Coziness and cuteness abound on Beth’s streams, and she’s also raised money for The Trevor Project and Mermaids in 2020.
John Robertson is no stranger to performance, being the brains behind The Dark Room. With venues closing their doors, John started Robbotron to stream The Dark Room, and has developed a daily show with hats, songs, swears aplenty and Pope Gossip III. Tune in for marbles, a live ST:TNG episode or to be fed by mummy bird. John’s charity streams have raised over £40, 000 for 7 charities including Mind, Samaritans, and End the Virus of Racism.
Stephanie founded Nnesega in 2015 to champion diversity and inclusion in gaming and entertainment. With a mission to create safe spaces and shift the narrative within the industry, Nnesaga’s streams reflect this, combined with the latest gaming titles, workshops, and more.
Geeky chat, Lego building, retro games, and a visit to see the librarian. It must be TristaBytes. If you want to argue about who the best turtle is, revisit some cartoons and games from your childhood, and enjoy some interactive skits, then TristaBytes has you covered.
Ben hosts LittleLegsTV. As a Queer and Black member of the LGBTQIA+ twitch community, he’s created a cozy and welcoming space. Playing Animal Crossing and Final Fantasy XII, with a little Dead by Daylight, his cheeky and welcoming style encourages silliness and funtimes, as well as discussion of mental health.
Podcast of the Year
The Podcast of the Year Finalists 2020 are:
David Tennant does a Podcast with…
David Tennant, star of Doctor Who, Good Omens and Broadchurch, gets talking with the biggest names from TV, movies, comedy and elsewhere. Featuring superstar names like Olivia Colman, James Cordon and Whoopi Goldberg.
What began in 2012 as a bunch of friends playing RPGs in each other’s living rooms has evolved into a multi-platform entertainment sensation, attracting over half million viewers every week. Now in its second campaign storyline, the show features seven popular voiceover actors diving into epic adventures, led by veteran game master Matthew Mercer.
Flow Research Collective Radio
Flow Research Collective Radio is a podcast dedicated to asking the big questions about peak performance. Join the Flow Research Collective team as they speak with world leading experts and bring you tools and strategies to level up your game
The Valkyries Podcast
Popular nerdy girl gang The Valkyries turn to the airwaves. Podcast topics include, movies, comic books, video games, events and interviews with creators!
Off Menu with Ed Gamble and James Acaster
Off Menu with Ed Gamble and James Acaster is a food and comedy podcast in which guests are invited to select their dream menu by British comedians Gamble and Acaster.
I CAN change the title later, right?
Quick, actionable tips to help business owners sell more stuff, earn more money, and make their life easier. I CAN change the title later, right? is hosted by copywriter, magician, comedian, father of two, and Tunnock’s Teacake aficionado, John Holt.
Indie Game of the Year 2020
It’s been a phenomenal year for indie games and some that didn’t make the public vote, but seriously deserve recognition include Deep Rock Galactic, Risk of Rain 2, GTFO, Pixel Puzzle Makeout League and so many more besides.
The Coaching for Geeks Community narrowed it down to the finalists.
Supermassive Games has a knack for writing moving stories and coupling them with interesting game mechanics. Combining the story of Zagreus attempting to escape Hades, both the place and his father, with a roguelite was another winner. Making everyone thirsty with its cast of horny Greek gods, adding some queer coded characters, and another incredible Darren Korb sountrack makes Hades a must play.
The breakout hit of the year and originally released in 2018 (the recent Switch release makes it eligible) the surprise success of Among US caused developer Innersloth to abandon plans for Among Us 2 and refocus on adding extra content. The game of being super suspicious while trying to complete your tasks, not get killed or ejected, while figuring out who the impostors are added memes aplenty and ‘x is sus’ to the common lexicon.
It’s like ‘It’s a knockout’ meets ‘Total Wipeout’ via jellybeans and epic community management. An idea so simple it seems crazy to not have been done before, Fall Guys Ultimate Knockout places 60 players into obstacle courses, team games, and more. Gradually the players are knocked out before competing for the ultimate prize… a crown which can be traded for costumes. Then you do it all again. Much more fun with a group, this knockabout game has just started Season 3 with 7 new maps.
Phasmophobia tasks up to 4 players with identifying a spectral presence in a house, school, or abandoned mental asylum. Seeking clues while avoiding the ghost’s hunting phases makes for tense teamwork, and asking ‘is there anybody there?’ while on your own, in a dark basement can give you the willies good and proper.
Röki is an adventure game inspired by Scandinavian folklore – a dark, contemporary fairy tale underpinned by a touching narrative, an alluring art style, ancient puzzles and atmospheric exploration. A modern take on classic point and click adventures, touching on loss, love, trauma, and sacrifice. A beautiful and gentle game.
Lair of the Clockwork God
Somehow combing platforming with point and click adventuring, Lair of the Clockwork God sees several apocalypses hitting our heroes, Ben and Dan. Ben has decided he’s a platform hero now and won’t pick anything up apart from shinty collectibles. Meanwhile Dan is stubbornly stuck in the past and just won’t jump. Delightfully self-aware, (you REALLY have to keep playing past anything that seems buggy) the humour will either click and have you giggling, or walking away.
AAA Game of the Year
Time for the big guns. Literally in some cases. The big money, big publisher games that came with a big marketing push.
These are the Coaching for Geeks Community’s finalists fro AAA Game of 2020.
It couldn’t have arrived at a better time. The world in lockdown and hungry for connection. In comes Nintendo with the opportunity to start a home on a new island, decorate, and visit your friends. The game with not a huge amount of structured content saw people making their own fun, and gameshows, fashion events, interviews and more took place in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
While it’s not been out long, but Cyberpunk 2077 has certainly had an impact on the gaming landscape. With controversies around crunches and bugs and exploitative in game ads, it’s amazing the game actually turned out to be great. A small story in a big city, Cyberpunk enables you to play it your way, to a certain extent. With Keanu, guns, customisable genitals and more.
A fitting end to the PS4, Ghost of Tsushima is an epic open world samurai game. Sure, we’ve seen the Assassin’s Creed style open world many times before, but Ghost of Tshushima makes it feel cinematic, contemplative, and unique. Stealthy swordplay and hidden depths give the game a fresh feel despite leaning on so many tropes of the past and makes Ghost of Tsushima a beautiful swansong for the PlayStation 4.
Final Fantasy VII Remake
The game we never thought would come. The first part of the iconic Final Fantasy VII takes us back t Midgar and gets remade, updated, tweaked, and modernised. With a new battle system, whether you’re returning to Cloud Strife’s shoes or putting your Avalanche shoes on anew, it’s the story, the cost of your actions on the city, and the relationships that will stay with you, even after it ends so soon. Here’s to Part 2.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
The 12th major Assassin’s Creed release (and 22nd game in total) was a little overshadowed by major issues with Ubisoft’s culture, and one month after release has started selling XP boosts. However, under this is an incredible game set during the Viking invasion of the UK, as Eivor’s clan leaves Norway to make a bloody start on new shores. With stealth taking a back seat, the combat has chance to shine and wow, it’s fun, brutal, and bloody. Less climbing and more fighting makes this a familiar but fresh entry in the series.
The Last of Us Part II
The Last of Us Part II tells Ellie’s story (mostly), many years after the first game. Some of the game mechanics may feel a bit clunky when compared to others in this list, but the bleakness and cinematic story, where your actions have dark consequences, are compelling. This is not a fun game, and honestly, you might want to break it up with something lighter, but The Last of Us Part II will stay with you for a long time after the credits roll.
Event that Went Online in 2020
So many events had a bash at doing an online event. Some might say too many, with week-long festivals, and a constant inbox battering. Not everyone managed to do it well and event fatigue set in for many.
However, some events did a great job of harnessing the convention vibe. Only two were nominated by the community.
UK Games Expo: Virtually Expo
With a huge number of tabletop companies involved, seminars, events, online gaming, and giveaways, UK Games Expo did a great job of bringing the NEC to the online space with Virtually Expo. Live panels, discussions with developers, and the Barpig Tavern holding talks on diversity, live D&D, art, and more, Virtually Expo felt more ‘alive’ than many events this year.
PAX Online x EGX Digital
ReedPOP combined its US and UK gaming expos to create PAX Online x EGX Digital. With content running for a week, all day and all night to cover both sides of the Atlantic, it drew on the community to provide pre-recorded content rather than live. Opportunities to chat with developers on discord and Twitch added some life to the event.
Disappointment of the Year 2020
We’re thinking broken games and companies rather than the inevitable descent into late-stage capitalism, poor handling of the pandemics, and *gestures wildly* all this.
The lucky finalists for Disappointment of the Year 2020 are:
Oh Twitch. The opportunities the platform had in 2020 were epic, with massive growth during the pandemic and with the closure of Mixer. DMCAs, closing down Twitch Sings, a lack of transparency, and failing to directly address harassment and abuse on the site. Instead, they banned using ‘simp’ as an insult, making people wary of using the language that developed around Twitch itself.
Simultaneously up for game of the year and disappointment of the year, Cyberpunk 2077 arrived underdone, despite the crunch and delays. Largely broken on PS4 and Xbox One, SONY has pulled it from the online store and is issuing refunds.
Cats came out at the end of 2019, missing last year’s awards by a whisker. And oh, how unprepared we were for the horrors that were about to be unleashed. Utterly lacking in charm and humour, the uncanny valley of Cats saw a swift reissue with upgraded GFX. It didn’t really help.
The home of Warhammer and many beloved tabletop franchises, Games Workshop seemingly got greedy. The launch of big box Warhammer 40,000 Indomitus set, was initially not made available to independent sellers. Meanwhile online marketplaces and discounters were supplied with high volumes of the highly anticipated box. With small shops already struggling, the outrage eventually saw Games Workshop changing tack and making Indomitus available, but not without massive pressure.
AMD & NVIDIA
A double team takes to the awards, with the launch of new graphics cards that were eagerly awaited by the PC gaming community. Only for there to be not enough stock, and scalpers using bots to grab the majority of stock.
Xbox & PlayStation
A double team takes to the awards, with the launch of the Xbox X Series, and PlayStation 5 that were eagerly awaited by the console gaming community. Only for there to be not enough stock, and scalpers using bots to grab the majority of stock. There’ll be plenty going without till well into the new year.
Geek Inspiration of the Year 2020
After that unpleasantness, let’s look at who’s inspired you in 2020. The Coaching for Geeks Community nominated the people they felt deserved recognition, and the finalists for Geek Inspiration of the Year are:
Elliot’s had an often-geeky career; X-Men, Beyond: Two Souls, Inception, The Umbrella Academy, to the forthcoming Ark animated series. Elliot told the world that he was transgendered, becoming an inspiration to many trans and non-binary geeks, as well as people figuring it out, and their allies. “I can honestly say that Elliot Page coming out as nonbinary has been such a massive boost for me, as a nonbinary person myself. It’s something I really needed at the tail end of this year.”
When the Labour bid to extend free school meals was overturned by the Conservative government, Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford started a campaign to make sure underprivileged children wouldn’t go hungry. Marcus Launched a campaign that saw many councils supplying meal vouchers, and pubs, cafes, and restaurants giving out meals, before public pressure saw a U-turn by the government saw a package includes a £170m Covid winter grant scheme to support vulnerable families in England, and an extension of the holiday activities and food programme to the Easter, summer and Christmas breaks next year.
The charismatic dungeon master of Critical Role, and winner of 2019’s Geek Inspiration of the Year, has continued to be a delight in 2020. From voice acting to DMing, Matthew Mercer is a class act online and inspired us to be good people, and get better at roleplaying. For keeping people connected through the fandom, Matt is one of your finalists.
Oliver Age 24
Oliver may no longer be aged 24, but he has shown the world how to do community management. From spicy tweets, to helping raise $1 million for charity SpecialEffect by stoking the fires of competition, Oliver has inspired many to up their community management game, and learn new skills, while providing plenty of laughs along the way.
Speaking of SpecialEffect… it’s been a hard year for charities, especially the likes of SpecialEffect, which usually has a huge presence at conventions and expos. Becky handles Community Events & Volunteer Coordination, and is well known in the gaming industry. Without Becky, we do not believe SpecialEffect would have anywhere near the level of reach it has; and she’s a wonderful person too.
Geeky you say? By making politics palatable with her cooking live streams, and embracing gaming by playing Among Us live on stream, AOC makes the finals. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is among the first female members of the Democratic Socialists of America elected to serve in Congress. Engaging, charismatic, and standing up for what she believes in, with plenty of pop culture references, from Spider-Man to Watchmen, along the way.