Trying to take it professional… but it doesn’t pan out.
Spike TV and GameTrailers held their annual Video Game Awards this past weekend, but things are a little different. To usher in the next generation of consoles, all of which are now out and accounted for, Spike felt that their award ceremony needed to get to the next level. Rechristened the VGXs, the award show was three hours long and a mix of developer interviews, game trailers, and (of course) handing out awards… well, not much handing them out in person, anyway. We were kept company with games journalist Geoff Keighley, and star of Community, Joel McHale, for most of the night, when they weren’t cutting away to strange skits about Assassin’s Creed: Black Hole, or a bunch of brothers talking about their love of cheese and Grand Theft Auto V before throwing it to an outdoor concert featuring music from Rockstar’s latest blockbuster.
All the on-set segments with Geoff and Joel felt like I was watching some Entertainment Tonight. All rather posh-looking, rather professional vibe when talking to game devs and execs and such.
But then Joel McHale speaks and reminds me that I’m watching a Spike TV Awards show.
Man, that sounded negative, eh? I mean, it’s not like I WANT this to be bad; I’m sure I’m not alone in hoping that one year the stars and planets will align and VGA/VGX actually “gets it”. Until then, though, I’ll keep burying my head in my palms harder than anything before.
Still, there are a lot of things I enjoyed:
1 – Game previews. I always enjoy watching new trailers of games. The announcements from Telltale Games were pretty sweet, and Hello Games’ No Man’s Sky was really pretty, but there weren’t as many surprises as there have been in years past. I hope that, next year, they’ll be able to secure more World Premieres and give viewers even more of a reason to tune in.
2 – Dev interviews. I really enjoyed having Geoff talking to the various game devs about the games they showcased. Always a treat, I say. But then Joel spoke… and then I facepalmed.
3 – Award acceptance “speeches”. I thought it was kinda cute to have the developers for the winning games do something unique with their winning speech, which was a short video. Such as this one:
I hope they do this every year, as these shorts put a smile on my face.
4 – The atmosphere. Maybe it’s because they weren’t jumping around so much, but it seemed more… focused, for lack of a better way to put it. They really made an effort to make it more about the games instead of how many celebs they could parade in front of a teleprompter to read horribly written lines awkwardly.
What I didn’t enjoy:
1 – Parading celebs in front of a teleprompter to read horribly written lines awkwardly. Sure, there were less famous people around, but they were still there. And they were still awkward. So very, very awkward.
Why do celebs hosting any videogame-related show feel the need to act the fool the way they do? Like doing that makes them ‘cool’ or edgy or something of the sort?
I admit, I’ve never seen anything Joel McHale’s been in, but folks say he’s a funny dude. Seeing him up there reading the prompter (both correctly, and tongue-tied), ad-libbing… it was so awkward, cringe-worthy, and just not funny at all. I was seriously contemplating not bothering with sitting through the entire thing just because of him. Nothing against the guy; I’m sure he’s hilarious everywhere else… just not here.
2 – Internet celeb video shorts. Mega64 and Pewdipie are popular (I guess? I’m quite out of touch with these things). But those viral clips that were shown were… um…
Ah hell, they were awkward and not very funny.
Why must all form of celebrity be so awkward and not very funny when it comes to videogame related thing? UGH!
So, What To Do?
I’m sure that a lot of the things that need fixing will sort themselves out, but the major fix I’d like to see happen for next year (at least) is to get someone to talk shop… professionally. I understand the need to have a co-pilot on hosting duties; a funny guy to play off Geoff’s get-down-to-business tone. I think it’s just a matter of finding someone suitable. I don’t mind the funny, but don’t act like someone trying too hard to be hip. It comes across as fake, and folks can pick up on it.
Oh, and nominating games that have only been out for two weeks prior to the award ceremony is a bit suspect…
Change is a funny thing. And it can be a good thing. I rather like the direction that VGX is heading, and I think that Geoff Keighley’s on the right track. A couple of more tweaks, and this could be something I could look forward to every year.
Until then, though… the palm print on my face will just keep getting more red.
Anyhoo, let me know what you think. Did you guys catch the VGX awards? What did you think of ’em? Let me know in the Comments Section!