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Wilhelm Awards
by Marko Peric

It's that time of year again. The time when every commentator and pundit out there looks back on the year just ended and muses about what was. There is a good reason that this month is named for Janus, the Roman deity of beginnings and endings. Now, there are two generally accepted ways to look back at the year gone by. First there is the stereotypical year in review article, which is nice and objective, and generally quite dull. Here at we're not concerned about being objective, and we don't do dull. So we're going with the second way to look back on a year gone by, and that's by giving out awards. Hence the 2005 Wilhelm Awards.

By this point you must be wondering "Who the heck is Wilhelm, and why does his name grace these awards?" Wilhelm is not a person, Wilhelm is a scream. It is a commonly used sound effect made infamous by its use in countless movies, particularly the Star Wars and Indiana Jones series. It frequently is used for someone falling, being shot, or otherwise experiencing an unpleasant death. You can read all about it at .

If you want to hear the Wilhelm scream, vist the link to main Wilhelm awards page, available on the sidebar or by clicking the Wilhelm Awards banner above.

So why are we naming an award for this? Well, that graphic of a guy falling from a broken cliff is something of our site mascot, and if he was making a sound, the Wilhelm scream is the ideal choice. So if there can be Oscars, Grammys, and Emmys, why not Wilhelms?

That's enough preamble. On with the show. Or at least the first half of the show. Five awards was enough to give out at one time. More will follow next week.

Handiest New Prefix: First things first — Frankenstein was the name of the scientist, not the monster. It's a common misconception. That said, the term Franken can be applied to almost anything that, like the aforementioned monster, is cobbled together from random parts. Ever see a car that has a door that's a completely different colour from the rest of the car? That's a frankencar. Ever ordered a few different pizzas, and there's enough pieces left over to fill one box? You've just made a frankenpizza. You know how Axl Rose has scrounged up enough musicians to make a band he can call Guns and Roses? Well, that's a frankenband. Franken is a prefix useful and nifty enough that we can give it the Wilhelm for Handiest New Prefix without hesitation.

Most Colourful Election: One would assume that every four years when the United States has a presidential election it would be a shoo-in for this award. After all, the American media spends months focused on nothing else but the election campaign, and that level of scrutiny always unearths plenty of dirt. And while it did, and while it had plenty of controversy, the American election was a preschooler tea party when compared to the Ukraine. For starters, both major candidates were named Viktor and had virtually unpronounceable last names beginning with the letter Y. The first ballot was so close that they held a second three weeks later, and that was so tainted with electoral fraud that they had a third. That's right, Ukraine had three elections in a two month period. Then factor in mass protests in the streets in support of both candidates and the fact that the Viktor Yanukovych, even though he decisively lost the third ballot, is still refusing to concede. To put the icing on the cake, the eventually triumphant Viktor Yushchenko was poisoned with dioxin at some point during the campaign. Ukraine Presidential Election is an obvious winner of the Wilhelm for Most Colourful Election.

Coolest Charitable Organization: You might hear a lot of negative press about video games, and how they are ruining today's youth with all manner of violence. Well, Penny Arcade has their finger on the pulse of the gaming community like no other website, with their thrice weekly comic, their vast forums, and their very own annual gaming expo. In 2003 the guys at Penny Arcade decided it would be a good idea to donate money and toys (ranging from full video game consoles to Disney sticker sets) to their local children's hospital. They called it Child's Play and so many gamers pitched in that they raised $250,000. This year, they've broken $310,000, and they involved four more children's hospitals, as well as a host of companies that have some connection to video gaming. This teaches us that apparently today's "ruined youth" give generously to sick kids. Child's Play easily wins the Wilhelm for Coolest Charitable Organization.

Best Video Game: It was a year of big name sequels in video games — Grand Theft Auto, Halo, Tony Hawk, Need For Speed, Prince of Persia, and the list goes on. So it may come as a surprise that a sequel isn't getting to take home the Wilhelm this year. Nor does a console game. Nor a game you can buy in any store. No, the winner is a game you can play for absolutely free on the Internet. What is this game? It is at once a homage to the classic King's Quest series and a parody of it. It appeals to a wide audience, but yet it is full of inside humour. The game is none other than Peasant's Quest from the Brothers Chaps of (and ).It's a graphical text adventure game, with text-only command entry. No, it doesn't have anywhere near the graphical power of today's hottest games, nor can you play online against your friends, nor can you get into huge gunfights with SWAT teams. What it does have, however, is loads of fun for anyone with a sense of humour and nostalgia for how games used to be. Oh, and it also has the little baby that could. Peasant's Quest wins the Wilhelm for Best Video Game.

Best Blog: On an infobahn overloaded with ridiculously self indulgent web sites, blogs — short for web logs for those who are road kill on the information superhighway — are easily the most self indulgent of all. Typical blog content runs from kvetching about how much the blogger's life sucks to kvetching about politics. But blogging by nature tends to be a very self centred activity, as it allows one to freely share opinions, stories and thoughts with the larger world, no matter how ridiculous or inane they may be. In the midst of all this there arose Jeff Rowland, best known for his recently ended comic Wigu. Being a comic artist and writer, Jeff has taken the concept of the blog and turned it into something else entirely. Why tell stories about your dull real life, when you can make up a completely different life and draw a comic about it? It's called Overcompensating and it's downright brilliant. Jeff has invented a small cast of characters that may or may not be real, and he uses situations, some of which are, or at least could be real, but many of which aren't. He also has lots of fun with the art, such as portraying himself riding a giraffe or as a commando armed with a laser cannon. Yes, it's messed up hilarity that blurs the lines between blog and web comic, but these are precisely the reason why Overcompensating wins the Wilhelm for Best Blog.

There's more Wilhelm Awards given out at the 2005 Wilhelm Awards, Part II.

Did you win a Wilhelm Award this year? If you did, you can show off to your friends by posting the graphic below on your website. A link to this site would be most welcome in return.

Wilhelm Award Winner


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