Coming away from this year's E3 many in the industry felt that Nintendo was the clear winner. That sentiment was supported today as the winners of the 2006 Best of E3 Game Critics Awards were announced, with the Wii console getting the distinction of "Best of Show."The nominees and winners for the awards were chosen by a panel representing a wide variety of publications from the gaming world and mainstream media. In order for games to be considered, they had to be playable at the show. Nintendo's Wii console took top honors by beating out some stiff competition in Will Wright's Spore, Microsoft's and Epic's Gears of War, Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed and others. Regarding the Wii, panel member and GameSpot Executive Editor Greg Kasavin said, "People practically stampeded to try it out--either that or they waited in line for hours. Yet most of them seemingly still came away more excited than ever by Nintendo's weird, inspired vision for how gaming could be different. "Some important questions remain about how the Wii will finally turn out, but by giving E3 show-goers a taste of what playing games on the Wii will be like, Nintendo seemed to gather much more momentum for the system's launch later this year. So despite how many great-looking games were on display at this year's show, the Wii stood out as the single most exciting and remarkable new product at E3 2006."Not only was the Wii honored with "Best of Show," but Nintendo as a whole did very well, snagging 5 awards from a total of 13 nominations. The Wii was also awarded "Best Hardware/Peripheral," while The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass was named "Best Handheld Game," Excite Truck was named "Best Racing Game," and Wii Sports was named "Best Sports Game."Following closely behind Nintendo was Spore from Maxis/EA. Spore was dubbed "Best Original Game" as well as "Best PC Game" and "Best Simulation Game." Commented panel member Mike Synder of USA Today, "With Spore, storied game designer Will Wright is taking 'god' games to the Nth power, creating an original game that we expect will devour many hours peeling back its many layers. Wright didn't stop with his ingenious game parameters that let you nurture your characters from amoebas into interstellar explorers. He takes the game online in a stealth mode that uploads other players' creations so that we can explore the strange new worlds and new civilizations that they create - without the hassle of actually dealing with them. As the guys on the TV ads for Guinness beer say, 'Brilliant!'"Other notable winners included Gears of War as "Best Console Game," Assassin's Creed as "Best Action/Adventure Game," BioWare's Mass Effect as "Best RPG," Heavenly Sword (PS3) as "Best Fighting Game," Gas Powered Games' Supreme Commander as "Best Strategy Game," Harmonix's Guitar Hero II as "Best Puzzle/Trivia/Parlor Game," and Splash Damage/id Software's Enemy Territory: Quake Wars as "Best Online Multiplayer Game."A complete breakdown of nominees and winners can be found here.