The Game Awards 2014 have come and gone. The show lasted just over 3 hours and was broadcast on pretty much every gaming service: Twitch, Steam, Youtube, Xbox Live, PSN, MLG, and even the Wii U. A lot of people turned up to watch it and there was even some buzz prior to the event. So in that respect, the show was a success — perhaps even enough to warrant a repeat next year. But I really don’t think The Game Awards lived up to their description. See, it was supposed to be a night to celebrate “game developers and gamers” — and I want to emphasize this as the main webpage even describes it as a “night to celebrate excellence in gaming.” It was in that regard that I think the entire show was an almost unmitigated failure.
I’m not going to argue about who won the awards, why, or even the judging process. What bothered me was just how little attention was given to the categories and winners. I take issue with the fact that so many awards were just given away off the main stage, that the representative winners were not given any time to speak — and often times the nominees for the category were not even mentioned.
Destiny won best soundtrack/musical score and best online experience and it was just given to them unceremoniously off the main stage.
No build up.
No fan fare.
Just a “Congratulations you won!”
And cue the next World Premiere.
Valiant Hearts won both Best Narrative and Games for Change. Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. won best fighting game. The audience got nothing from them, either. Other categories were given away so quickly and unceremoniously that I didn’t even know who was winning or for what. I had no idea who Nadeshot was, or what eSports game he played — a Google search revealed him to be a Call of Duty player.
The highlight of the event that was the only thing that kept me from turning whole thing off: the Industry Icon award given to Ken and Roberta Williams, founders of Sierra and creators or publishers of many beloved franchises. Here is hoping that next years Game Awards has far more of that and far less World Premieres.
The entire show felt less like an awards ceremony and more like a three-hour ad for upcoming games. By the end of the event I was so tired of hearing the phrase “World Premiere”. I imagine for the Dorito Pope, those World Premieres paid the bills for the night and put a nice chunk of change in his pocket. He certainly got the audience for it, with nearly two hundred thousand people on Twitch alone. But the community didn’t need a three-hour advertisement for upcoming games — what the community needed was an awards show that focused on excellent games and game developers. Instead, it became another stage for triple-A developers to shill their upcoming games. We already have plenty of places for that sort of thing: we have countless game conventions — I mean we have E3 and PAX coming up for God’s sake, did we need a dedicated awards event to hype upcoming games instead of celebrating the past year of gaming?
If things keep up this way for Game Awards 2015, then the only way I’m going to get through watching it is by turning it into a drinking game.
The Game Awards Drinking game:
- Every time the word “Exclusive” is used take a drink.
- If the term “World Premiere” is used take two drinks.
- Each time an award is given without giving details to the nominees, take a drink.
- Each time Dorito Pope tells you how excited he is take a drink.
- Each time a game’s sale is mentioned take a drink.
- Every time someone goes on stage and feels the need to explain their “gaming cred” because they aren’t an industry name or personality take a drink.
- Every time someone gives away an award without using the phrase “and the winner is…” take a drink.
If I follow these seven simple rules next year, I imagine I’ll be so smashed that no matter how bad the Game Awards is, I won’t remember it the next day. And then I can search for another website who assigned a sap to watch through and summarize the entire thing sober.
PS the after party for the event produced this little gem.
Way to go Game Awards 2014 — you essentially did the equivalent of not letting Michael Jordan into the after party for the All Star game because a basketball jersey violates the dress code.