The Game Awards don’t Celebrate or Respect Gaming, and that has to Change
Like many gamers around the world, I got together with a friend and watched The Video Game Awards 2016 last night. As a gamer since I was 3 years old, The Video Game Awards are something I’ve looked forward to ever since they were a big deal on Spike TV. As I’ve gotten older, there’s something about the Video Game Awards that always felt off, and it’s something that has come up in conversation many times, in many different places, from many different people.The game awards are starting to feel flat-out disrespectful and never actually portray or highlight anything good about the gaming industry.
When the Game Awards moved from Spike TV to the current format of streaming online, a lot of things changed. Geoff Keighley has been trying to make this a big event for 3 to 4 years now and after some major missteps, I thought it was heading in the right direction, that was until I watch last night’s show. For whatever reason last night’s show just put me off from ever watching The Game Awards again.
This isn’t about how amazing games like The Witness and Hitman were missing from the GOTY ballet. This isn’t about how Overwatch shouldn’t of been anywhere near the GOTY list at all, let alone winning the award. This isn’t about how the voting process is completely dumb. This isn’t even about how the show still airs in December before major games like Dead Rising 4 and Final Fantasy 15 are released. (though seriously, why the hell can’t they do it in January? Or even the end of December?) Okay maybe this is a little about those things, but there is a much bigger issue about the Game Awards that would need to be fixed first.
This is about how The Video Game Awards don’t respect and celebrate video games. It’s an award show that doesn’t focus on the awards. It’s a gaming event that cares more about the future then celebrating current accomplishments. It’s a show that has more musical acts by musicians that don’t have any real relevance to the industry instead of highlighting real developers and their accomplishments. All around it’s just a big disappointment .
It has been argued for a long time that the game awards need to essentially stop focusing on trailers and musical acts and instead focus on the awards themselves. While I agree with that, I understand that the politics behind putting on a show that is just awards wouldn’t strike a cord with a huge audience. There has to be a way to draw in more people, and there has to be a reason for developers to give up their hidden content and upcoming trailers other than for goodness of the industry. I understand why the trailers are there, and I understand why the cringe worthy advertisements are there as well. As much as I would love for that stuff to kind of go away, and instead just focus on current gaming achievements, I understand that type of show will likely never exist. What I don’t understand, is why things like musicians and video game trailers have completely taken over the Video Game Awards.
Keep the advertisements, heck even keep performances there that have no focus on gaming, but they shouldn’t be the set pieces of the entire event.
Why can’t we have both? Why can’t we have montages of developers from ID software talking about Doom and what went into bringing back a franchise that has been gone for over a decade? A franchise that is responsible for a lot of what shooters are today. Why isn’t there any focus on Blizzard and what went into the highly stylized look of Overwatch. Why wasn’t Respawn Entertainment talking about what goes into the thought of building a Titan for Titanfall 2?
There were good moments at the Game Awards 2016. Such as the developer of That Dragon, Cancer giving his speech after he accepted his reward, and Mick Gordon playing music from Doom live. Boogie winning an award was awesome to see. and Geoff honoring Kojima was indeed odd but also very cool, but those good things were hidden so far deep into the event some people probably missed them.
Look, I get it, I’m now becoming an older gamer and I’ve been with this industry and followed it for over 20 years now. Things change and the industry has changed a lot, and change flat out sucks. There are politics going on in the gaming industry that are gross and frankly downright sad. There are Gamers out there that have never even heard Doom before it was rebooted in 2016. They don’t know that its’ responsible for Shooters today. The younger crowd wants to see the newest trailers and that’s all they care about, because this industry is forever moving and asking the question “what’s next?” They couldn’t care less about That Dragon, Cancer.
And that’s okay.
But they aren’t the only people watching.
What isn’t okay is having a show called, “The Game Awards” that doesn’t look back on the accomplishments of franchises like Doom. What’s not okay is having a ballot for Game of the Year that doesn’t actually give every game a chance to be on it and to be recognized. What’s not okay is having an awards show that is said to focus on the current year gaming, but actually focuses more on future games and their trailers to promote them. It isn’t okay that you have an Awards show that doesn’t give out their first award until almost 30 minutes into the event.
The Game Awards could be something special, and I hope in the future it becomes something that every gamer, new and old can enjoy.