I’m one of the rare few gamers who really enjoys the Video Game Awards show every year. Many complain that it’s insulting to gamers, and while I see where they get that, I still have a lot of fun watching. I also really enjoy seeing the new game announcements and of course, the award presentations themselves. This year, Spike TV decided to try something new with the award show. Instead of broadcasting a live award show that could only be seen in the US with lots of flair, musical numbers, and not much about video games, they opted to stream a live broadcast via Twitch.
It honestly sounded like a great idea. No pomp. No circumstance. Just Joel McHale and Geoff Keighley talking about video games, showing off new game announcements, and getting through all the awards without a ton of commercials.
At first it was just like that. They did have “commercial breaks”, but they were spoofs and were a little funny, particularly the one set in the future where gamers were still waiting for Half-Life 3.
But then it became apparent that either Joel McHale didn’t want to be there, or he just had no idea what to say. He seemed so bored. He had zero chemistry with GameTrailers front man Geoff Keighley. The two brought on stage with them game developers to talk about their new games or show off new demos. Joel is known for being snarky, but this didn’t exactly resonate well with developers who aren’t professional actors. When Reggie Fils-Aime appeared to show off Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, the sarcastic badgering from both Joel and Geoff about else Nintendo was working on seemed to piss off Reggie. They even went as far as to make jibes at how well Nintendo was selling Wii U units and Super Mario 3D World. I was waiting for Reggie to punch one of them. Considering Geoff made a big deal that Nintendo has never come to the Spike Video Game Awards show before, I would have thought he would have been a little more welcoming. Now I doubt Reggie will ever go back.
I also felt like hardly any awards were passed out. I remember seeing the awards for Game of the Year, Best Action/Adventure Game, Best Shooter, and Best Independent Game, but somehow I missed the others. Either they blended in with everything else or I blanked out some time during the stream.
Not to mention, I was incredibly disappointed in the lack of new game announcements. The VGAs have always had fantastic new game announcements with amazing trailers and just enough hype to get the masses excited. This year, I only saw two new game announcements: Tales from Borderlands and Dying Light. And I’m not even 100% positive that Dying Light wasn’t already announced. Everything else they showed and slapped on the “World Premiere” label were new trailers for previously announced games. Really, really don’t care to see trailers for games already announced at VGX. Send out press releases with that info or save it for conventions.
Granted, this was the first year Spike tried this out so of course there would be some bumps. I just hope the producers took notes for maybe NOT what to do next year. If you’re just going to make it like an E3 interview setting with developers, then maybe you should not invite celebrity hosts, for starters.