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12 facts about the Golden Joysticks

Scintillating trivia about the longest-running game awards

This year marks the 27th Golden Joystick Awards which will be held in London, England on 30 October 2009. For the maths-challenged that means the first GJAs was held way back in 1982.

This year, we're asking all our readers to vote, but we're aware that this being a 'global' website and the awards being a UK-based event, many of our readers might be thinking, 'WTF is this Golden Joystick thing, then?'

So to put you in the picture and give you some sense of history of the illustrious awards, here's 12 hot facts. Read it and you'll know more than the people that organise the thing... And don't forget to vote!

1. Jetpac won the first GJA Game of the Year award in 1982

Back in the day, games like this won awards

Ultimate's Jetpac has the accolade of winning the first Game of the Year, which appeared on grandad game machines ZX Spectrum, BBC Micro and the Vic-20. If you want to see why it won, you can play the original on XBLA as part of Jetpac Reloaded.

Other Game of the Years in the GJA's history have included bonafide classics like: Knight Lore (1984), Gauntlet (1986), Outrun (1988), Street Fighter 2 (1992), Grand Theft Auto III (2002) and Doom 3 (2004)

2. Voting has already started for the 2009 GJA Awards

As if we haven't already mentioned this, if you head over to the Golden Joystick Awards voting page you can give us your valuable opinion on which games deserve the coveted trophies. We genuinely want to know.

3. The winners get an actual golden (plated) joystick

The gaming equivalent of an Oscar

4. The ceremony always has a celebrity compere

Everyone knows celebrities who turn up at a game events typically know nothing about games whatsoever. The Golden Joystick Awards is no exception.

2002: Jonathan Ross crowned GTA III Game of the Year

Aside from a few confessed gamer comperes (UK Talk Show host Jonathan Ross is a notable exception) the awards are normally presided over by an 'of-the-moment' comedian who knows naff all about games. They do one of two things - use their slot to take take the piss out of people who like or work in games (cue awkward laughter from the audience, who are 95% games industry) or say nothing whatsoever about games in their (usually very funny) opening routine.

2007: David Mitchell hosted the 25th anniversary awards

Like we said, it's a tradition. And it wouldn't be the same without it. Globally famous presenters of the Golden Joystick Awards include Matt Lucas of Little Britain/USA, Jonthan Ross and David Mitchell (Peep Show).

2004: Little Britain's Majorie Doors (Matt Lucas)

BONUS UK Specific celebrity corner:

For our UK readers here's a few other photos from the archives that show GJA presenters from the past. US readers get kudos for knowing who any of these people are...

Radio One Superstar Dave Lee Travis in 1982

1987: 'Later...' presenter Jools Holland gave out the Joysticks

1989: Chris Tarrant handed Bionic Commando 'Best Soundtrack'

1991: DJ Danny Baker handled presenting duties as Speedball 2 reigned

Friday Night Project funny man Justin Lee Collins in 2006

5. Some girls attend the awards

Girls from The Sun newspaper give out an award

As if to remind the audience that *as a general rule* men like games more than girls, female-types are hired in to bring a bit of glamour to the proceedings, fill the gaps between the men and ensure backstage awards photographs don't look too hideous. Well, not *too* hideous.

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