>2010 VGAs: why they invented DVR

>I got conned into watching the VGAs, again, but at least I didn’t have to watch them live.  No, I waited until after they were over, and then fast-forwarded my way through announcement after announcement after unnecessary band performance after announcement, until I realized that there weren’t any awards given out.

I don’t know why I keep allowing myself to believe that this year, it’ll be different.  For shits and giggles, I went back and read my 2008 recap, and I might as well just cut-and-paste my main point into this year’s model.  Like so:

I really wish I didn’t have to be embarrassed about watching this show. It’s clear that Spike is really trying to make this award mean something, and I’ll admit that having all these major announcements during the show is a pretty convincing incentive for me to stick it out. But the writing is terrible and the emphasis is everywhere but on the actual game designers, which is unfortunate.

That’s the thing that’s so annoying about it; Mr. Geoff Keighley goes out of his way to promote the VGAs as something important and valid and authentic, and instead it’s a series of commercials for next year’s games, sandwiched around lame skits and pseudo-celebrities who’ve clearly never played a game in their lives, and I think they only give out 3 or 4 awards on TV, out of 20 or so categories.  It’s dishonest and misleading, at best. 

Which is not to say that the announcements aren’t awfully exciting.  2011 is already looking like the best year we’ve had in a long time, and that was before the announcements of Uncharted 3, Mass Effect 3, Forza 4 (!!!), SSX, and Elder Scrolls V.  My 2011 Lust List will require at least a bib upon reading.  I admit it:  the announcements were enticement enough for me to tune in.  I am a whore.  This is not news.

Look, Spike, I know I’m not the target demo for this show.  I’m not 15 years old, I’m not a My Chemical Romance fan, I don’t like Dane Cook nor would I ever think of Dane Cook if I were thinking about or playing a videogame.  But humor me just once.  Please.

  1. Let us know who’s on the voting panel.  If you want us to think of these awards as meaningful and authentic – and we’ll get to what the plural form of the word “award” should mean in a bit – you can at least let us know who’s choosing.  Considering that every inch of this show looks bought and paid for by PR and advertising, it would help give some credence of authenticity.  I would wager that most of the audience for this show is not the stereotypical Madden buyer – we are aware of the game journalism industry; we read magazines and the internet.  If you have game journos on your panel, let us know.  Maybe we’ll go to their websites!  Maybe we can have some synergy!
  2. Stop giving stage time to Television Personalities.  I don’t give a flying fuck about Denise Richards or whoever the fuck that was on stage, and all the people you put up there look uncomfortable and out of their element.  Here’s an idea – let the game designers present the awards.  Let us, the game-buying public, put faces to names.  
  3. SHOW SOME FUCKING AWARDS ALREADY.  There were 20+ categories and we saw, like 5.  And nobody gives a fuck about Best Performances by a Human Female.  We all know you’re going to be like Monty Python’s Summarize Proust competition and give it to the girl with the biggest tits anyway.  
  4. Stop with the skits, the bands, the montages.  I get that the product placement and the trailers need to be in there; somebody’s got to pay for this madness, and we all like the trailers.  But anything that’s not actually related to the literal handing out of awards grinds the show to a halt.  I’ve been saying this for years, and nobody listens.  So at least hire a decent fucking writing staff already.

I could go on, but I can’t waste any more of my life thinking about this nonsense.  Get it right or stop doing it.

>The 2008 VGAs

>Do I really want to do this?

I guess I’m doing it.

It’s 9:25pm EST on Sunday, December 14, 2008, and the VGAs have been on for almost a half hour, and I guess I’m gonna watch it. I’m trying to watch it; I would estimate that about 90% of the TV time has been either commercials, product placements, or LL Cool J. I don’t even know what awards are being given out or who’s nominated.

Herewith: some random ramblings as the bullshit unfolds.

…When Mike Tyson came out on stage, I’m pretty sure everybody in the theater got a little queasy.

…Is it me, or did the very brief look of in-game footage in that God of War 3 trailer look a little… early?

…They gotta stop with these skits.

…The “best independent game” nominees are all amazing; I was fortunate enough to play all of them and I’m very glad to seem them all getting their due. I was not aware of any of them being fueled by Dew, though; that’s good to know. That technical difficulty snafu announcing World of Goo was a little scary.

…I really wish I didn’t have to be embarrassed about watching this show. It’s clear that Spike is really trying to make this award mean something, and I’ll admit that having all these major announcements during the show is a pretty convincing incentive for me to stick it out. But the writing is terrible and the emphasis is everywhere but on the actual game designers, which is unfortunate. I’d be very curious to see what Spike anticipates the target demo for this awards show to be; I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that it doesn’t include me.

…It’s 9:41 and they’ve only announced 2 awards… now they’re giving Kiefer Sutherland an award, and now the All-American Douchebags are playing, for no apparent reason. Are they afraid that the people who watch this show will be bored if they actually showed some games winning awards?

…At this rate, I’m probably turning this off after they do the Brutal Legend video, and I can’t help but feel like that’ll be the last thing they show. Why excatly did they ask Jack Black to host this thing? We’re almost an hour into the show and he’s been on stage for about 5 minutes.

…EA is doing Dante’s Inferno? Really? That could almost be interesting; the brief glimpses of gameplay made it look like a cross between God of War and Dead Space, and that’s actually kind of awesome.

…Will Wright deserves better than that intro. (Nice shout out to Tim Schafer, though! W00t!)

GTA4 DLC preview… That was a pretty bitchin’ trailer. It basically looks like a shorter campaign; I wonder if it loads seperately from the main game. What happens to Niko after you start this DLC? Do you never see him again? If you start as the biker, is the city different?

…I’m so glad to hear that the famous celebrities who got paid enough to show up for this thing “really love videogames.” That makes me feel like these are that much more authentic.

…Best RPG: I’m gonna guess Fallout 3. And I WAS RIGHT. Will they show any video of the upcoming DLC? No.

…Busta Rhymes? OH BOY OH BOY OH BOY. You’re right, Busta – I do hate it when I see a trailer and it turns out to be bullshitty. Uncharted 2 trailer: OK, that was fucking amazing. I am officially on board for Uncharted 2. Also: I think the confetti machine is borked.

Terminator Salvation gets a big fat meh.

Mafia 2‘s music is HORRIBLE. I’m pretty sure those string patches were out of date in 1987. The game itself looks like Martin Scorcese directing GTA.

…Tony Hawk again? 50 Cent? Why?

Watchmen: Alan Moore weeps.

…Weezer announces for best music game, and I’m gonna guess it’s Rock Band 2… although Wii Music looks hott.

…I do like how all the people who accept awards give nice, quick speeches.

…This Kevin James Mall Cop skit is kinda sad. Epsecially if he’s here to announce the award for Studio of the Year. I guess it’s official that these awards don’t mean anything. I have no idea what to guess for this: I’d vote for any of them. But good for Media Molecule. And I meant to say this earlier – why are the Best 360 and Best PS3 categories throw-aways?

….Wait wait wait, they’re doing a MONTAGE for the actual fucking awards? 96 minutes into a 2 hour show? What the fuck is this bullshit? Why did Shooter, RPG and Music Game get stage time and everybody else get shafted like this? Jesus fucking Christ. Brutal Legend had better be fucking awesome.

…From Joystiq’s live blog, which is reading very much like this one:

10:38PM Dear VGAs, until you pretend that these awards are important no one else is going to believe it.

10:37PM Now we blow through all the awards, because watching the actual awards is SOOO much less fun than watching Kevin James put human joy to death live on stage.

Brutal Legend! At 10:44pm. Funny with the flamethrowing; let’s go and show it. SHOW IT. And it was shown. Can’t. Wait.

…Megan Fox announces Game of the Year? Oh I wonder if there’ll be another techincal snafu for this. The silver women in the background look exasperated.

My guess: GTA4. Looking back at all these games again, though, I am reminded just how amazing this year really was. Drumroll: I win. Why aren’t the Houser Bros accepting?

I think this final skit went completely off the rails.

Weezer brings the hot sauce. That applause sounds canned. I’m done.

Spike: you’re getting closer. But you’re still a long fucking way off.

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