To me, gaming nominations for a pristine ceremony, such as TGA since it touts itself to be the video game version of the Oscars, is take into account everything a game has to offer, including the game as an artform. Best Picture nominees are supposed to encapsulate film as a form of art. Very rarely does a high budget movie ever have a Best Picture nomination. It happens more often now than it used to, but still rare. GoW: Ragnarok would be to me what The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King was at the Oscars. A high budget film that took everything that made movies fun to watch, yet still be a piece of art. And it swept all 11 Oscar nominations it had that year.
If just those kinds of games get nominated though, why bother having other genre of games if those aren't just as viable to be considered for GOTY? Inside was just as simplistic in design and gameplay as Pentiment, yet it received a GOTY nomination in 2016 as it was a very powerful and moving game, but lost to Overwatch, a multiplayer only hero shooter. If the entire presentation of the game is a work of art, it should be considered for GOTY. I don't like to discredit a game if it doesn't match a very specific type of standard.
The problem with the the art narrative is that art is subjective. Modern art is considered trash by most people but some rich dude pays a million for a giant bannana. And thats the problem these small indy games have. Some people will swear by it but the majority will think its bad. I honestly dont think a game should be nominate for goty because some elite game journous think its great and we are to dumb and I unculture to really apreciate what they see. Now a game like ragnarok appeals to everyone and theres nothing subjective about why its good.
This is a hot take and just untrue. We have tons of indies that sells millions of copies, just because they are low budget doesn't mean they can't be appreciated by many people. It takes two sold 7 million copies, this is blockbuster level of sales
What about Among us? Minecraft? There are so many successful indie games, why can't be they be nominated for AOTY?
Also, there is no need to feel alienated or uncultured just because you don't see the beauty in a specific piece of art form, as appreciating art is subjective and sometimes we need to be touched by some sensibilities that for a couple of reasons we are unaware of.
Indeed if anyone feel dumb just because they disagree with critics choice then, perhaps, they're dumb indeed, just not for the reason they think they are.