LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Hobbits may rule the multiplex this year, but when it comes to the small screen, fans of video game fantasy want all Jedi, all the time.
GameSpy.com, one of the Internet's leading video game sites, on Tuesday handed its Game of the Year honor to "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic."
The role-playing game, developed by BioWare and published by LucasArts for the Xbox (news - web sites) and PC, beat out titles like "WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgamer" for the Game Boy Advance and "Beyond Good & Evil" for the top award.
Video game publishers typically use such awards for bragging rights, sometimes republishing their titles in "Game of the Year" editions.
In that way, the $10 billion domestic U.S. video game industry has taken its cue from Hollywood, where the awards season is a crucial marketing window for films.
"The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" chalked up more than $125 million in ticket sales in the United States and Canada in its first five days of release, and its release so close to the end of the year has helped garner the tale of Hobbits and elves serious Academy Awards (news - web sites) buzz.
Other top game publications are expected to soon give out their 2003 kudos, including GameSpot.com, which will name its top game of the year on Christmas day; and 1UP.com, the Web site of Ziff Davis's game magazines, which will name its winners at a ceremony in Las Vegas in early January.
Previously, football game "Madden NFL 2004" from Electronic Arts Inc. won "Game of the Year" honors at the Video Game Awards held by cable channel Spike TV.