VGX – Gaming’s BP Oil Spill

I spent my evening last night sat in a pub with some friends having a few drinks and sharing two bowls of chips, it was a nice break to have after a week of rather intense studying (by which, of course, I mean me pulling one or two all-nighters to get essays done for the next day) and relax for a bit. We came home after a few hours, parted ways and I realised that the VGAs (or, as it has been pointlessly renamed – the VGX) would soon be on. I was interested to see what games would win which awards and had nothing else to do, so I tuned in via Steam.

I was not prepared for just how awful it would be. At all…

ImageI mean, how badly can you screw up an awards show? Previous years have been pretty good, I think. They’ve been hailed as pretty big events, complete with a live studio audience and people like Zachari Levi or Samuel L. Jackson hosting the night.

Before anything (before I plunge into a frustration-induced rant, rather), here are the awards each of the games won.

  • Game of The Year: Grand Theft Auto V
  • Best Action Adventure Game: Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
  • Best RPG: Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
  • Studio of The Year: Naughty Dog
  • Best Sports Game: NBA 2k14
  • Best Fighting Game: Injustice Gods Among Us
  • Best Male Voice Actor: Troy Baker as Booker (Bioshock infinite)
  • Best Female Voice Actor: Ashley Johnson as Ellie (The Last of Us)
  • Best Shooter: BioShock Infinite
  • Best Indie Game: Gone Home
  • Best Racing Game: Forza Motorsport 5

It’s funny because for what must the first time in history, I’m seeing more people complain about the VGX itself rather than the games and the awards they won. To give you the quick run-down on my view of these, GTA V did not deserve Game of the Year, it should have gone to either The Last of Us or Tomb Raider. GTA V certainly did not deserve best soundtrack either (we’ll talk about this later). Gone Home… just no, how this beat The Stanley Parable, I have no idea.

No matter how bad you thought the VGAs were in the past for whatever reason, they were nothing compared to what happened last night. I don’t really know where to begin complaining, to be honest. I guess we’ll start with the horrendous casting of Joel McHale as Geoff Keighly’s co-host, it was like they asked him to do it just 10 minutes before the thing aired… Not only was he awkwardly unfunny, asking developers non-constructive, ridiculous questions, but came out with things like:

  • “Just like the female orgasm, it doesn’t exist.”
  • “I use my Wii U gamepad in the bathroom while my wife watches Downtown Abbey.”
  • “Stop arguing about whether it’s pronounced gif or jif – it’s pronounced neither, it’s pronounced guy-if.”

These being some of his less offensive remarks, but every time he opened his mouth there seemed to be a rather prolonged silence with the awkward elephant dancing in the air. Why did they ask somebody who has no interest in video games to do a video games award show? Whenever Geoff asked a developer a question about the game they were presenting, you’d be sure to see that Joel would butt in to deliver a remark which would stop the conversation dead.

And then, there’s PewDiePie… Just minutes before he was announced to make an appearance, I was enthused and impressed by what we were shown of Dying Light – a new zombie game from the developers of Dead Island which emphasised open-world exploration and Mirror’s Edge-esque parkour stunts to get around the map. And then they announced that PewDiePie would play a live demo of the game… if the worst part wasn’t the fact that he was asked to do this in the first place, it was certainly the fact that he wasn’t doing Techland any favours by ending the demo with advertisements for his channel rather than the game he was paid to play.

But what had to be the most insulting, most repulsive, most dire part of the whole affair were those rappers who appeared to be drunk or stoned, as they came out with nonsense like:

“GTA V has cheese!”

“I love killing old people.”

That wasn’t the worst of it though, as Tyler the Creator was soon brought on-stage to ‘perform’. Yes, wasn’t this a smart move? “We’re short of creative talent, so let’s bring on this rape-glorifying misogynist to perform a song from the GTA V soundtrack”. What were they thinking?! I recommend you all check out this article from The Guardian which contains a video of Tyler openly abusing somebody who protested against him, this is the horrid, horrid man they thought would be good for the show?

Here are some of the lyrics that he’s come out with in his songs (which apparently 1.7 million people seem to like):

If this was a game, I already know that I would come out winner
And I’m not bragging, I’mma be in her
But this bitch really think that I’m ’bout to buy her dinner
My steak good, I got a good cut like Splinter
Juicy and hot such a black bitch temper
Now she wanna talk and chop it up like a blender
But I don’t give a fuck and or even listen like Schindler
She’s cute but her forehead’s big
Got stretch marks like she got four kids
Her legs can’t close like the four door hinge Bronco
That O.J. killed the white whores with
A wealthy white girl without the facelift
Lure her with expensive dinners and a nice bracelet
Leave the bitch breathless, what the bitch don’t know is that
I’m a mothafuckin’ sellout and a rapist

It was at the point where he started (what can laughably be called) ‘singing’ that I just had to shut the stream off and realise that a good few hours of my life had been stolen from me, hours I could’ve otherwise spent getting a good night’s sleep and waking up in the morning to see the storm of criticism about this abominable show. They could’ve had a full choir sing ‘Will The Circle Be Unbroken?’ from Bioshock Infinite, or The Last of Us… But no, I had to give into my curiosity. I had to see whether they were going to show us something new, and fortunately it wasn’t all doom and gloom on that front.

In addition to new footage from Titanfall and a tech demo of The Division’s stunning visuals, Telltale (the guys behind The Walking Dead games who won GOTY last year) are working on a Borderlands and Game of Thrones titles. I was ecstatic at this reveal, Telltale is really climbing their way up to the ‘most awesome developer ever’ through their passion and ambition for what they work on. I wish them the best of luck, and wish to express my condolences that their reveals will be forever tarnished to some degree by this awful event.

Lastly, there was one game in particular which got me more excited than anything. Hello Games, the indie developer, showed us a brief preview of a game they’re working on called No Man’s Sky – a sci-fi game which emphasises galactic exploration, mystery, space travel and discovery in place of space marines and explosions. I can’t believe that it’s being made by 4 people, yet it made me more excited in the space of two minutes than Bungie has in the last year with Destiny (which showed us a ‘new’ trailer of mostly rehashed scenes from previous trailers).

Check out the trailer for No Man’s Sky, it’s by far the most ambitious title I’ve seen so far and I can’t wait to get my hands on it – best of luck to the four of you working on the game!

Overall though, this event was a complete joke. If this is what is considered a “step forward” for the industry, I’d hate to see where we end up in 5 years time…

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