The peoples' choice for the GJA PC game of the year may surprise you

Return to Monkey Island
(Image credit: Devolver Digital)

Yesterday saw the 40th annual Golden Joystick Awards and, broadly speaking, Elden Ring had an extremely good night: here's the full list of winners. One of the things that sets the Joysticks apart is that almost all of the categories are decided by public vote, with over three million people casting ballots this year. And when it came to the PC Game of the Year category, democracy triumphed over pizazz. 

Return to Monkey Island won, beating out Neon White, Hardspace: Shipbreaker, Teardown, Total War: Warhammer 3, and Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate Daemonhunters. Take THAT Games Workshop fans. I was pleasantly surprised by this, but what followed was, if you'll excuse this cynical old man for a moment, really quite heartwarming.

I don't imagine Ron Gilbert or Dave Grossman ever thought they'd be picking up a gong again, which is probably why I liked the acceptance speech so much.

"I'd like to thank fans for voting for Return for Money Island the best hardware of 2022…," said Gilbert. "Oh I'm sorry, best PC game of 2022… that makes a lot more sense."

"We are thrilled and humbled and frankly a little gobsmacked," said Dave Grossman. "Thank you to the audience who ultimately make that choice. You make a game like this and it's a bit like having a child, You pour your heart and all your effort into it for years, most of the time you're not sure what you're doing, you're sure you're making a lot of mistakes, and you just sort of do the best you can. Eventually the day comes when you put it out into the world… and you just hope people are going to love it the way you do."

The whole thing about Return to Monkey Island is that it was a return. This most beloved of settings had been passed from hand-to-hand over the years, suffering a number of entries that really didn't do its legacy any favours. But behind this one was the original team of Ron Gilbert and Dave Grossman, who'd made the first two games before leaving LucasArts, and the crazy thing is that developer Terrible Toybox delivered: our review awarded it a whopping 92% and said it's as good as Monkey Island has been "for a very long time: funny, captivating, superbly paced, contemporary and packed with neat ideas and eccentric characters."

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."