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HMV Golden Joystick Awards 2012 are live: Shortlist announced, voting open, and prizes aplenty to be won

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Yep, it's that time of year again. The time when hero battles against hero. When fan faces off against fan. When votes are cast, fingers are crossed, and winners are rewarded with shiny gold effigies of obsolete gaming hardware. Yes, the HMV Golden Joystick Awards 2012 are go, and this 30th anniversary year they're going to be a bigger deal than ever.

The GJs have always been the place where the AAA behemoths duke it out. This year you'll see Batman go up against Nathan Drake. And Dovahkiin square off with Commander Shepard. And Kid Icarus face Chris Redfield. And a little game called Battlefield 3 have a pop at a cheeky young scamp called Modern Warfare 3...

But things are being shaken up this year too. Firstly, our shortlists are leaner and meaner – there’s no filler any more. If one category is rammed with the maximum twenty games, it’s because they’re all great. Similarly, if another category only boasts a handful of titles… well, that tells its own story. Secondly, the awards have moved to recognise the growing importance – and quality – of DLC and browser-based games (Flash and Facebook). There’s gold in them thar Freemium types. And to really get under the skin of why we all love games in the first place, there’s also the all-new ‘Top Gaming Moment’ award. It’s sure to get you talking (and, quite possibly, ranting). 

Voters who participate in all 16 public categories are in with a chance of winning the hmv Ultimate Gaming Prize - a £4k-plus haul including ultra desirable tech goodies including an iPad 3, Dr Dre Beats ‘Phones, PS Vita and Samsung Galaxy S3. Award winners are announced at the awards ceremony, taking place at the swanky Westminster Park Plaza hotel on Friday 26th October. Among the surprises on the night will be a number of exclusives and reveals from across the games industry, making it a weapons-grade important event even if you don't happen to be a high-profile game developer or publisher. Oh, and supremo comedian Ed Byrne is hosting. Did we mention that supremo comedia Ed Byrne is hosting?

How to get involved? There are multiple ways. Firstly and most importantly you'll want to be voting. You can do that on the official Golden Joystick website right here. After that? Our Facebook page is already buzzing, we’ve a shedload of hmv vouchers to dish out in celebration of the awards, and more going on in terms of community than ever before. So come visit us at http://www.facebook.com/goldenjoysticks, give us a ‘like’ and let’s get this year’s party started! And don;t forget our Twitter feed either. We're available at https://twitter.com/GoldenJoysticks for all your rapidly updated, 140 characters-or-less needs.

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