Spike Video Games – The Gamers speak! (updated!)

Well, now that we’ve had a day to digest what transpired during the Spike TV VGAs, we can now look back and see what others thought. Seems that VGO and I weren’t the only ones who were underwhelmed by the whole shooting match.

New-to-me Grimwell Online took notes and commented. This is a great read, read the whole thing. A couple quotes:

Not that I’m complaining, yet. You see, I can’t really blame Spike. They have no idea how to do an awards show about video games so why not just skip it and play some music matched with titties and see who notices??? It’s Spike after all, it should be about titties.

He is an 80’s metal-head, so he was looking forward to seeing Motley Crue back in action but, after watching Snoop Dogg join in the song, didn’t think that was quite such a good idea. I’ll let you read his exact words on his site.

Snoop walks off, the song falls apart. The Crue has no idea where in the song they should be, so Mick wanders into a solo…. the song crashes and burns. I cry.

At NetJak, Rick “32_footsteps” also followed along, with the play-by-play blows. He wasn’t as mean to Spike TV as others but wasn’t kind, either. He gives us these gems

Host Brooke Burke promises to show previews of upcoming games. I wonder if they’ll just give out 2005’s awards now. After all, doesn’t this show rely purely on hype and flashy visuals over substance?

and

Was it better than last year’s show? Yes. But then again, trepanning without anesthesia was better than last year’s show. This year’s show was dreck, but at least it wasn’t insulting my intelligence at all times. Just half of them. I just hope that I’m the only one who watched this – maybe in the future, Spike will leave such awards to people who actually know games, and not just people with conflicting allegiances.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t the only one watching.

Here, here, and here are a few forum threads discussing the awesomeness of the VGAs.

Of course there was the Video Game Ombudsman, who I followed during the show. He also chimed in with wit and biting sarcasm. But he sums up the way forward:

If we in the video game community — the press, the developers, the publishers, and the gamers — sit idly by and allow this type of show to speak for our industry, then we deserve whatever stereotypical bad-mouthing we get from the mainstream press and society at large.

Agreed.

Zonk on Slashdot has a great editorial as well, it’s worth a read:

I have enough problems in my day without having to explain to my family why a show honoring the entertainment I love is populated mostly by underdressed women in angel costumes. Once a year, wouldn’t it be nice to put the scruffy, anti-social gamer stereotype behind us? To sit down and watch some very intelligent people in tuxedos and gowns get their due for providing us so much entertainment? Seriously, wouldn’t it be great to see John Carmack present an award? Or get to listen to a Wil Wright acceptance speech? A gaming awards show taken seriously would be a sight to see. Even if that never happens, please — enough with the Spike-style awards shows.

Succint and to the point. Exactly the way I feel. My wife knows I love games. She even plays them with me. But when she sees things like “Cheat codes read by hot chicks” she gives me that “look”. I think she recognizes (and tolerates) the nature of the “stereo-typical” gamer demographic but even she can see through the Spike TV’s thinnly veiled attempts at pandering. But we can and should rise above this. I think these quotes and links prove that the award show in absolutely no way represented gamers as a whole. I hope enough of an outcry is made so changes can take place. The first step would be to prevent Spike TV from ever hosting a video game award show. That would be a step in the right direction.

Update (12/20/2004) – A couple other places on the ButtonMashing reading list have chimed in. The-inbetween had some choice words for Spike TV:

And to make it even more intolerable, the tape delay means that the Spike tight-asses are censoring about every other word that they say. My tv now sounds like a skipping CD.

Everyone (including myself) looks to Penny-Arcade for their comments and opinions on all things gaming, so I looked anxiously to see what they would say.

if your 2004 awards program does not include Metroid Prime 2 or World of Warcraft, it has no authority whatsoever to coronate the king of any genre. I’m not even saying that those games need to win. I’m simply stating that the games exist and are real, news which has not reached them out there on the ragged periphery of taste and intellect.

This is something I thought about but didn’t articulate. Even though I haven’t played Metroid Prime 2, the fact that they all but ignored Nintendo proves their insignificance and irrelevance.

Video Game Awards 2004

9:06 – Just logged on, fricking laptop took forever to boot up. Anyway, here we are, and watching the opening act made me go YAWN. Let’s get to the games.

9:10 – Hmm, Snoop doesn’t do it for me. Neither does his co-host. No bother, I’ll deal with it. Geez, the writing sucks already. No feeling, just going through the motions. Okay, first award for female in a game. So far, outside of NFSU, the games are lame. Brook Burke. No comment here (in case the ButtonWife reads this)

9:15 – I love those AOL “I want my computer to make the sound of a Yeti” commercials. They make me laugh.

9:17 – Hmmm, this is degenerating more and more to the lowest common denominator. But Bam just came on, I dig Magera. They’re announcing the “Viewers Choice” – I’ll go out on a limb and predict that they are stacking the deck so Katamari Damacy wins, to appear “hip” and in touch with gamers, but my vote is for Burnout 3.

9:22 – The first non-surprise, Halo 2 wins best FPS. The footage they used wasn’t very flattering compared to the other games. I love Ron Perlman and I know he was involved in Halo 2, but let the guys from Bungie talk.

9:30 – OOOOoooh a world premier of a crappy game based on classic movie! From those artists at EA, no less. Gag. Now the award for best driving game.(oops, I’m sorry, “The Pontiac GTO Best Driving Game”). My money’s on Burnout 3, that game is some serious fun. But with only three games. Yup.

9:34 – I love Ribisi (when he’s Phoebe’s brother) but I can’t stand Sum 41, I’m gonna go read Video Game Omsbudman’s comments and watch some Scrubs. Good stuff there.

9:44 – Best song in a game. Shouldn’t that be something like “Def Jam Best Song in an EA game”? < -- I wrote that before they announced the nominees. What a freaking joke, all songs were from EA games, all top-40 pop, Blech. I don't care who wins that one. 9:52 – Best Mass multi-player game? WTH is that? At least the gave the DS the “Best New technology”. Most of those awards were weak. 9:57 – Almost an hour into the “Award Show” and I’ve supressed the gag reflex twice, felt guilty watching at least thrice, pitied myself as I write this, and hope for something redeeming in the next hour. I’m not counting on it, but you never know. 10:01 – No one makes fun of Christopher Walken. That was the lamest bit yet, the “failed audtions”. Samuel L. Jackson is a bad dude, though. I don’t play PS2 games, but GTA:SA looks fun. 10:11 – I wish Snoop would put that Xbox controller down. Why is he holding it? It’s obviously not a wireless controller, it’s driving me nuts. On the otherhand, Vin Deisel is a handsome man. 10:16 – Commercial break and then Motley Crue. I’m going to tuck my wife in, I need to get away from the TV before I gouge my eyes out. 10:30 – I’m tired of the musical acts beeing constantly muted while they saying naughty things. Gimme a break. And I forgot to mention earlier – Fable is the RPG of the year? I’ll go with that, if RPG means really pathetic game. 10:39 – Oh good, another video game first-look, Fear and Respect. Looks like another game I’ll be skipping. But now it’s Malcolm in the Middle. He’ll be the most believable, I’m sure. Welp, after that line, that went out the door. He’ll regret it. Anyway, Viewrs Choice is… Burnout 3 – just as I though. Good for them, I concur. The guy who did the voice for Burnout 3 is single-handledly redeeming the rest of this craptastic award show. 10:48 – Exactly who I associate video games with – Ludacris, Method Man, and Redman. So the moment we’ve all be waiting for, Game of the Year. My money’s on Halo 2, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was GTA:SA (considering the hip-hop slant of the award show) 10:51 – Wow, I was right, it was GTA. I’m actually surprised it wasn’t Burnout 3, considering how much of an EA love-fest the show has been. 10:53 – Hey, Spike TV! I want those two hours of my life back. I have no idea what Motley Crue has to do with Video Games and your show was quite possibly the worse way to spend two hours on a weekday night. I think you surpassed the crapiness that was last years show. Motley Crue and Snoop Dogg on the same stage, singing the same song. The Apocalypse is upon us. I’m gonna go play some Halo 2 on Live. I’ll check in later.
Update: Thanks to Kotaku for the link on their VGA review post (and all the traffic they’ve sent my way). If you’re coming via Kotaku, welcome! Did you think the Video Game Awards sucked as much as I did? Hopefully you’ll take the time to read some of my other ruminations, realize how insightful and witty I am, and you’ll come back for more. Or leave in disgust, wondering how someone could be so wrong. Either way, enjoy!

Update 2: Not quite a “slashdot” but I’ve also been linked via games.slashdot.org. It’s quite an honor, I will admit. I’ve read slashdot for years, but never thought I’d get linked. So welcome slashdotters, too!

The Video Game Oscars

Well, not quite, but I’ll be live-blogging during the Spike TV Video Game Awards show (the second annual Award Show). Looks like I won’t be the only one who’s giving a play-by-play. (okay, I’m not doing a play-by-play, but I’ll be commenting on-the-fly.)