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Michael A. Cunningham Memorial Award
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For our 2018 awards we unveiled a new special award in memoriam of our longtime Editor-in-Chief Michael A. Cunningham, and it is an honour to be sharing the winner for 2022. This award holds a special place in staff hearts as Michael loved being an active part of our awards selection process. Choosing a title that represents Michael’s integrity and his passion for smaller titles is often a daunting task and one we take pride in selecting and sharing with you all.
Back in 2010, RPGamers were introduced to Zeboyd Games’ Breath of Death VII: The Beginning, a comedic game that played with many role-playing game tropes. As time has gone on, Zeboyd Games has established itself as quite the indie RPG darlings, with each release heightening its success.
In 2022, Zeboyd introduced what may be its most entertaining genre mash-up yet in the form of This Way Madness Lies. Combining magical girls, Eldritch horror, and the bard Shakespeare himself, This Way Madness Lies is unlike any RPG most players have experienced. In fact, players can experience the game in “traditional” Olde English, or switch to New English if they find Shakespearean too much of chore to parse! And who doesn’t love learning? The game offers Shakespeare quizzes to test player knowledge, and reimagined versions of the bard’s plays that may make no sense, but are fun to laugh at.
This Way Madness Lies shines because it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and reminds us to find the joy in the every day… even if dark horrors pop out of portals trying to bring the end of those days. With hilarious dialogue, adorable characters, and a run time that doesn’t outstay it’s welcome, This Way Madness Lies reminds us of the importance of having fun and not taking video games so damn seriously. It’s a fitting title in many ways to be the recipient of our Michael A. Cunningham Memorial Award for 2022.
by Sam Wachter
This award is dedicated to the memory of our friend Michael A. Cunningham, who passed away in 2018. Mac started at RPGamer in 2006 and would go on to become the long-running Editor-in-Chief. While Mac loved RPGs, he especially loved handheld games, founding the #TeamHandheld hashtag as well as running a personal project site featuring his musings on portable games.
You can see Michael’s top games, which is to a Google Document because Mac loved organizing lists in spreadsheets, a tradition continued with our speadsheet-based awards voting form. You can also read the tributes to Michael from the community as well as a list of our favorite works by Mac as well as Francis Gayon’s musical tribute based on Mac’s favourite game, Final Fantasy IV. Also, a special thanks to our friends at RPGFan who dedicated their Top 25 Nintendo 3DS Games and Top 20 PlayStation Vita Games features to Michael’s memory.