Oh boy, where to start. I don't remember much from last years to be honest, save for some great world premieres. I'd like to say it probably sucked as well, but literally all I remember from it were the world premieres one after the other. Anyways, fast forward one year, and we get to earlier tonight. Now, to be fair, it wasn't the most offensive VGA. I've got some bad memories of the old David Spade days. But it was perhaps the least awardy VGA yet.
In the first gloriously horrible hour they managed to get 2 awards in the hands of developers, and one I think wasn't even an award per se, just an induction into the VGA hall of fame (mind you, the first inductee). As cool as it was to see Shigeru Miyamoto get some love, nothing to that point looked like an award show. Really it was more like SpikeTV's Video Game Preview Variety Double Hour, where they decided a couple times 'hey let's give some fuckers some plastic monkeys' for the shit of it.
Enter the depressingly similar hour two, where the teabag skits, awkward backstage dicking around (for charity), and wor-wor-world-premieres continued, we got a 90 second or so montage of every (unseen) award winner besides best character and game of the year. Not too long after that when Charlie She--wait what? 90 fucking seconds to show off something like 20 award categories? Are you fucking kidding? Like is this really happening? Oh no, I shit you not, that happened, faster than you could realize too before things moved on to awkward YouTube superstars not reading the script.
Now, those of us experiencing it together quickly caught wind of the lovely shit-storm brewing in the twittersphere (-1 year from my life for saying that) over this nonsense, mostly from Whiskey Media's own chair-rocking and table-tapping, game-and-movie-reviewing-occasional-writer-of-new-articles-with-great-titles Alex Navarro. You can check it all out, compiled and conveniently assorted here taken from this thread. There was an exchange with GameTrailer's Geoff Keighley over the lack of actual awards to which Keighley defended the award show by saying rocksteady was on stage (they won one of the two monkeys given out in hour one). ?! DUDE it's over an hour into your 2 hour award show and your defence is one award acceptance that also happened to count for 2 other awards?
Justin McElroy, who many of you might remember from his Sherlock Holmes story during this past E3 Bombcasts, was also commenting on the show and criticized the abundance of nonsense and advertising to which Keighley replied with the tired old "so two hours of awards no premieres?" It's such a ridiculous and extreme swing to try and throw at someone. There's too much x and not enough y, so you obviously want all y and no x, implying you already have some sort of balance. That's just straight up disingenuous to say when the award show is already much two hours of premieres to begin with.
Oh yeah, by the fuckin way, anyone who spoke too long in their acceptance speech was thrown to the ground and teabagged. Seriously. They did it once to a MW3 dev. THEY ACTUALLY DID IT DO AN AWARD WINNER. It could have been staged, but the dude (co-founder and chief development officer of Sledgehammer Games, Michael Condrey) didn't look like he was expecting it nor like he enjoyed it much. THAT'S FUCKING CRAZY. "Hey we're going to invite all these developers and talk mad game about this night being for the developers so enjoy yourselves, but if you're one of the luck 3 to get up and receive awards, don't talk too long or we'll teabag you motherfucker." Egregious man, just awful.
I do wonder how much Keighley actually has to do with the VGAs. I remember last year there was that nonsense with Angry Joe or whatever the fuck his name is and him, and he said he was the producer or something. I don't care enough to look it up (just enough to write this blog though) but Keighley can't actually believe the things he says in defence of the VGAs can he? I mean, the Bonus Round is more often than not genuinely interesting and entertaining, and I've always looked at Keighley as one of the cool heads of video-gaming.
Ah well, on to the 'redo' bit. This started as a response to this thread, but I was considering writing up some of my thoughts on the show anyways so I figured I just combine it all. Not strictly a 'redo' but if that irks you so much how about I call it tips n' tricks for video game award-showing!
Categories awarded on-air (in order from first to last): action-adventure, RPG, sports, driving, downloadable game, shooter, performance by a video game cast, and game of the year. The rest (excluding the likes of football jpeg, most-anticipated, studio of the year, game god, and trailer of the year) can be relegated to a recap to be shown during the show (more on that later). But do away the platform awards. They're redundant and essentially pointless if you're just going to give it to a multiplatform. It's debateable whether or not it's worth keeping platform-exclusive categories, but I think at a video game reward show the games should speak for themselves and not get a free nomination or win just because it was a platform exclusive.
Start with an intro video of year past narrated by host. Move on to first category. Follow with a framework of award, world premiere, and side-show. Finish on game of the year. Let the winners talk, give em a big fat 60 second timer on the teleprompter, and if they start to go on longer, play some low music, and if they keep rambling, guess what, they look like the asshole. Don't think you're being cool or hip or fucking cheeky by bullying recipients off stage. So every 15 minutes you'll get an award, a premiere, and some nice little diddly to keep things interesting.
Acceptable side-shows: gags and music. OK, starting with relevant non-asshole gags. It's easy to dish out insults in an attempt to extract a laugh, but in the ridiculous world of video games you really don't need to call on celebrity gossip and not just start insulting the shitty games. Not cool. I mean, Saints Row The Third is hilarious at times. Portal 2's writing is fantastic. RIDE THAT SHIT.
'Relevant musical performance' is self-explanatory. When they played that Red Dead Redemption song, it was pretty damn awesome and felt like, hey duder, video games can be seriously awesome. Also have about 10 minutes (meaning 1 less side-show and premiere) during the to devote to the other rewards that aren't taking center stage. Not some half-assed manically paced chop shop montage brought to you by Hulk "winner's-emerged-victorious" Hogan.
Tonally, the show should be casual but not trying so goddamn hard to be. Stay professional, the nights about recognizing the year's best in interactive entertainment, obviously not to the point of monotonous mindless throw away back-patting lines for every goddamn second.
Not just that, but have some flow to your show. Don't try and nestle in a seriously grim trailer about an innocent business man getting murdered in between gags or go to commercials with a quick video supporting the vets. Not to mention the poorly thought through shenanigans Felicia Day was subject to every so often. If it helps in specific instances to rearrange the ordering of segments and not stick to award first, premiere second, and side-show third, then by all means switch it up.
Hire a goddamn writer. What's that? They did? Hire a better one.
As for appealing to the masses, I don't get why doing any of the above would alienate anyone who is into video games. If you aren't all that into video games and also aren't interested in them, who makes them, or the culture, then what are you doing watching a goddamn video game award show.
If you do that, you'll be less inclined to bring in forgotten celebrities that have little or nothing to do with video. LL Cool J? WHO CARES? THIS AINT NCIS:LA! Seriously, you're going to advertise an appearance by Charlie Sheen? Get some video game personalities like Adam Sessler, Victor Lucas, and various online personalities, hell even Olivia Munn. Sure, some people can't stand Munn, but she'd make more sense to present an award than those two guys from American Pie.
And that doesn't mean you CAN'T have celebrities of course. Ice-T plays the shit outta video games, and comments about them on the regular. And how awesome would it have been to get Robin Williams and/or his daughter to induct The Legend of Zelda into the VGA hall of fame and introduce Miyamoto.
I'm not gonna go into how 'Spike's got a thing here' and 'they've got a responsibility to not make gaming look like fuckwadery' because I'm sure there are other more impassioned folk who have and will do so much more eloquently. I will say this though: the Video Game Awards needs to exhibit some self-respect. If you're ashamed of video game culture, it's high time to grow the fuck up. Ironic? Not really.