Sweeping medieval fantasy game "Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim" and addictive puzzle play in "Portal 2" won accolades at the world's largest gathering of game makers that wraps up Friday in San Francisco.
"Skyrim" was crowned Game of the Year for 2011 at the 12th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards while "Portal 2" won top honors for narrative, audio, and game design.
"2011 was an incredible year for games, and we can't wait to see what the future holds for these talented developers as the industry continues to grow and shift," said Game Developers Conference general manager Meggan Scavio.
She cited "wonderfully crafted" blockbuster titles such as "Skyrim" and "Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception" as well as "standout" independent games including "Bastion" and "Superbrothers: Sword & Sorcery EP."
Bethesda Softworks released "Skyrim" in November and sales soared to about $650 million by the end of the year.
"The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim" puts players in a boundless world complete with death-dealing dragons, Nordic gods, and foreboding prophecy.
Versions of the game are tailored for play on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles as well as on personal computers.
"Skyrim" praises include being proclaimed "game of the year" by an array of outlets including the Spike TV 2011 Video Game Awards.
Electronic Arts subsidiary DICE won a "best technology" award for a new game engine used in "Battlefield 3" while studio Naughty Dog topped a visual arts category for visuals in role-playing action-adventure title "Drake's Deception."
"Sword & Sorcery" was honored as the best game released in 2011 for play on mobile gadgets.
The award for innovation went to "Johann Sebastian Joust," a no-graphics game tailored for group play using Move motion-sensing controllers on Sony's PlayStation consoles.
The tempo of background music determines the threshold of movement in each controller, making "for an intense jousting experience like no other game before," according to GDC.
A lifetime achievement award was bestowed on Warren Spector, director of "Deus Ex" and creator of "Disney Epic Mickey, for a game career spanning 30 years.
Awards winners are selected by an invitation-only group of 700 leading game makers.
Explore further: US smartphone app sends police incident videos to lawyers