Innovative rock game Guitar Hero II will go head to head with Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories at the 25th Golden Joystick awards.
Grand Theft Auto has become an important and successful franchise
Both have six nominations, including best soundtrack and ultimate game.
Massively multiplayer online games such as the Lord of the Rings and World of Warcraft also featured heavily in the shortlist, both with five nominations.
The winners - voted for by gamers - will be unveiled at a ceremony at a London hotel on 26 October.
Gamers can vote for their favourite titles on the Golden Joystick awards website.
There are 17 different categories in the awards, including mobile game of the year, girl's choice and best family game.
The ultimate game of the year shortlist features titles for all three next-generation consoles.
The number of nominations for each platform broadly reflects how long they have been on the market.
It has been a long wait for Metal Gear Solid IV
Four titles have been nominated which are available for the Xbox 360, first launched in November 2005.
Two games for the Nintendo Wii - The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and Wii sports - received nominations. The novel console -also selected for the innovation category - was first launched in December 2006.
Motorstorm and Resistance: Fall of Man for the PlayStation 3 - first launched in Japan in November 2006 - also featured in the shortlist.
Games for all three consoles also featured in the one to watch category, which was dominated by sequels to popular titles.
Nominations included the third instalment of the popular Halo series on the Xbox 360, as well as forthcoming PS3 title Assassin's Creed.
Other eagerly anticipated titles included Grand Theft Auto IV and Metal Gear Solid 4,
The Golden Joystick awards were first founded in 1982 when Atari, Commodore and Spectrum were the dominant players in the market.
The first ever winner was Jetpac for the Sinclair Spectrum.