Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cue Explosion

This is the first year I've tuned in to Spike TV's Video Game Awards show. It's hard not to be struck by a what a joke this is, as Jack Black destroys the pedestal and Kimbo Slice walks up to bellow the introduction to the new UFC game. Designers walk up, a little nervous, to be handed the most ridiculous looking monkey trophy and make their speeches.

The Spike TV certainly knows what audience it's shooting for. Its website critically highlights (in order) Kimbo Slice, Tony Hawk's award presentation, Mike Tyson and Snoop Dogg.

I guess it's no surprise to anyone that this is what ended up happening, seeing it's Spike TV's show in the first place, but I have to wonder what could have been when it comes to a real legitimate gaming awards show. When is something like the Game Developer's Choice Awards going to hit the big screen? Would this open the door for something like the Oscars of gaming? Picture Will Wright in a nice tux, walking up before an orchestra.

Instead we have explosions rocking the tricked out stage to screaming guitars. The crowd oohs and aahs on cue. This is how the populace sees gaming. It's for men and scantily clad women, and not much else. For teenagers.

Can we say this is better than nothing? At least we are getting some recognition, and some big celebrity names out there are endorsing these games. They say any news is good news, but perhaps not when Spike gets ahold of it. It just doesn't sit well with me.

The whole place serves as a big platform to advertise new games. This directs sales to the same target audience that would have already bought, and known about the product, and takes zero advantage of anyone else that might have happened by. Now they know better than to tune in again.

I'm embarrassed for the developers that went up there. A rocksteady developer walked up and stuttered out how he didn't want to have to follow Jack Black. Yeah, I wouldn't either. Why not send a costumed Batman as representative of rocksteady's game to accept the award and have him sling batarangs left and right before a Kanye Joker jumps up and interrupts him?

Well, I'd actually watch that.

But these are developers that have worked so hard to come out with a quality product, and it's presented in such a way that makes the recognition they get difficult to be something that's worth admiration. It's like having your 6 month old giggle as it puts your painting in its mouth. The giggle is nice, but it's not really worth anything.

When game award shows reach the point where they have Most Creative Level Design, most Immersive Experience, Most Innovative Gameplay and other awards that recognize innovation and pure game design skill, I think we will have reached a point where these games are really seen as respectable.

There's also another industry struggling to get recognition and legitimized, The Adult Video Awards. How do they hold their awards ceremony?

They've got a red carpet and wear suits. We have...(granted this was the 2008 show) this:

I just think it paints a nice contrast.


  1. ah yes, the porn industry. ever struggling for the legitimacy and recognition of the everyday working stiff who just wants to sit down with his kids and watch some wholesome anal fisting after a hard day of work.
    but that's only one of the many reasons your comparison fizzles.

  2. That's my point -- if everyone knows exactly what the porn industry is about, why bother making an awards show that isn't anything but stage orgies? I think they are trying to make porn be considered as not such a shameful thing to do (or watch). Why can't the gaming industry do the same?

  3. My point is that the AVNs have existed since the 80s, are only available on a premium cable channel and only exist to honor people in the porn industry. Porn isn't an industry struggling for acceptance or legitimacy and neither are video games. The reason the Spike awards are offensive and stupid is that they're just a really long commercial caged as something that's supposed to respect games, developers, and people who play games. In reality, it just serves DORITOS, MOUNTAIN DEW and whoever has a Blockbuster title they want to flash trailers for. They spectacle and slapstick is not even an iota as offensive as the fact that they had a category called "Best Independent Game Fueld by Dew."