Voting has begun for Spike TV’s Video Game Awards for 2009.
Nominees for Game of the Year are Assassin’s Creed 2, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Left 4 Dead 2, and Uncharted 2.
In an odd twist, however, one of the contenders for PC Game of the Year is Popcap’s Plants vs. Zombies. This is the first casual game to ever make it into this category. PvZ will be going up against heavyweights Dragon Age: Origins, Left 4 Dead 2, and The Sims 3.
It’s a sign of trends in the industry. We’ve long been saying that casual gaming is mainstream, and the numbers prove it; still, enthusiasts and those who consider themselves “hardcore” gamers, generally shun casuals as being colorful pap for their aunts, their young cousins, and the bored office worker. Plants vs. Zombies, and Peggle before it, made huge strides in shattering that image, however. A quick look at even hardcore Steam groups will generally reveal several people playing a quick round of Plants vs. Zombies.
As with any medium, eventually there is one piece of work with great crossover appeal. The fact that a casual game from a casual game company made it into the running for PC Game of the Year proves that, for this year at least, Popcap has provided that crossover hit.