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The Award For Worst Awards Show Goes To…

December 13, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

Dear gaming industry,

We need to talk.

Last week was the VGX awards show. While primarily an American show, gamers over here in the UK do pay attention to what goes on. We do have the BAFTAs offshoot about games, but it gets barely any coverage, and so the live-stream of your major video game awards show is the next best thing.

However, I feel we need to discuss the numerous problems with VGX. I know it recently underwent a makeover from the VGAs, and it was a bit of an experiment as a result. But, for a show that was apparently put together from suggestions, part of me has to wonder if the feedback was all provided by hyperactive 12-year-olds, since it was, for want of a better term, a shambles.

No, I’m not going to complain about Joel McHale and his persistent jokes about wanting to go home and get drunk, because I actually found that hilarious. In fact, I was right there with him, because almost everything around him made me want to drink something very strong. And I haven’t touched a drop of alcohol since at least 2010. Oh yes. It was that bad.

First of all, for an awards show, there seemed to be an awful lack of awards given out. I barely even registered that the Lutece Twins from Bioshock Infinite won Character of the Year, because it rushed past so fast it seemed like a nomination video. I also recall only seeing two other awards being given out during the entire show’s three-hour running time, which is bizarre.

The rest of the time was spent, well, dicking around. The words “World Premiere” were said so often that I’m not sure what they even mean anymore, especially as much of the stuff the words were being applied to were just graphical demos of games we’ve known the existence of for a while now. And also, was there a quota on how many times you had to shoehorn TitanFall, which I have dubbed Robo-CoD, into EVERY SINGLE SECOND of the show?

In fact, out of all the announcements at VGX, only two seemed genuinely interesting – Double Fine are an absolutely lovely bunch so of course I’m interested in Broken Age, and I’ll admit I took an interest in No Man’s Sky. That means that your show pretty much summed up the state of the gaming industry – the major publishers are putting out boring, samey ideas while the indie market are making stuff that looks genuinely charming and interesting.

On top of that, it seemed like many publishers couldn’t even be bothered to be there, with Squeenix simply announcing a PS4 port of Tomb Raider which would be interesting if I didn’t already own the game, and Nintendo choosing this big event to announce a playable character in the new Donkey Kong, something which they could have tucked in as a footnote on a Nintendo Direct presentation.

On top of all of this, it was also hard to get past the awkwardness, poorly-written jokes, lack of audience and bafflingly dull “Music Of GTAV” concert shoved in the middle, populated by uncomfortable-looking nerds who didn’t know what to do with themselves. It made the entire show look amateurish, like you didn’t just get hyperactive 12-year-olds to provide feedback, but you actually gave them jobs as producers.

The reason I’m writing this open letter, gaming industry, is because I need to know – is this a sign of the industry as a whole now? Will we be seeing more dudebro posturing in a desperate attempt to appear funny? Have we nothing more to look forward to than more shooty games by developers that show tech demos off as “gameplay” demos? Are Nintendo really that bankrupt on ideas right now that they deem a Cranky Kong announcement as top of their list?

Or is this just an outlier? A fringe element? A sign that a pocket of the industry is a problem, but the rest of the industry isn’t that bad? Is that why no one could be bothered to provide actual interesting announcements except the indie devs?

I sincerely hope so, because VGX made me feel embarrassed to admit I like playing video games. It made me feel like there’s nothing to be excited for, like the end of the industry is nigh, that the Video Game Crash of ’83 is about to happen all over again.

I can only hope, games industry, that you learn from this experience and realise that things like this are why video games are not being taken seriously. Can we start getting some more charm and imagination in our games, and some more professionalism in our marketing?

Thank you,

L.Haydn Price, a concerned citizen

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  1. James
    December 14, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    I think Nintendo’s hand was forced by Amazon Italy leaking Cranky Kong earlier… I like to think they had something more impressive planned but had to back peddle to look like it was all planned ahead (which it really didn’t),,, the fact that Reggie almost slipped ‘of course’ to a new Metroid title (which we all know about anyway, just hasn’t had an official reveal) shows that it wasn’t as well rehearsed as it should have been.. though given the Nintendo Directs being a far more effective way to communicate with their fans maybe they just didn’t give a toss about the VGX (and they have right to) and threw something together at the last minute.

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