Hello and welcome to a three part series I am starting where I talk about my thoughts on this year's Game Awards. This part will be about my general impressions, and part two and three will be about the awards themselves and the games announced. I can't tell you about when the other two parts are out or in which order I will choose the other two topics, but I will link them in the comment section of this blog when I do write them. So stay tuned for more in the near future, but for now let's get into my thoughts.
Before I begin talking about I liked and disliked, I would like to congratulate Geoff Keighley on this award show. He has put a lot of hard work into the award show, and I respect what he is doing. But even though the show gets bigger in scale, their are still issues I had with the show that I had with previous years that ultimately leaves me with saying that this award show is just okay.
The biggest set of issues I had with this year's show was what was prioritized and a lack of structure. When I watch the Academy Awards or any other award show, I can clearly see that the main topic of the show is to award the best of what that medium had to offer in the year of 2017. That is not the case hear. Geoff tries to mix up the awards with world premieres of games, which in theory sounds really cool but in practice isn't. This has been going on for some time in this show, but I felt that this year was the worst on what was prioritized. So much time was spent on showcasing new games while most of the awards given had very little time. A large percent of awards were announced all at once, usually being four or five game awards announced without knowing the nominees within a ten-to-twenty second time frame. He doesn't even hand out these awards; he just looks into the camera and says the winner like it is the small, unimportant part of the show while he eagerly gets back to announcements. Some awards were given the proper treatment of a speaker reading off the nominees then allowing the winners to give a speech, but it was nowhere near enough. I want to watch the award show to see what the best of the best for the year of 2017, not look at new game announcements. In my opinion, I think the award show should strip new game announcements entirely and keep to the awards. It may be more boring, but it is a decision that makes much more sense than trying to make an award ceremony a mini E3. But I am sure their is a legitimate reason for showing new games, so I know that stripping it entirely is unrealistic. Despite that, I believe the new game announcements, if needed, should be shoved in at the beginning of the show while the rest is purely about the awards. And that is where my next issue comes in: structure, or lack of it.
The show felt like anarchy when it came to the structure. One minute Geoff could be announcing five winners in rapid succession and the next minute would be a reveal of a new game followed by a developer interview, then next thing you know they are formally announcing one winner. The structure was so much of a mess that they forgot to announce one of the winners, which was PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds for best multiplayer. It wasn't an award formally announced, and it wasn't an award said in rapid succession. This lack of structure also made the 'pre-show' worthless. When the pre-show came on, I thought it was just going to be small announcement. Usually, pre-shows are there for smaller things. But next thing you know they announced best trending gamer and best score. From the moment it started to the moment it ended, the show felt like something that was fine the way it is, but then someone took a blender and turned it into a confusing mess. I get that Geoff wants to make a different type of award show to represent how games are changing and evolving over time, but I feel that in this process of making a different type of award show, he lost the basics of an award show, which is to showcase the winners and put that as priority number one.
Despite the lack of structure and poor priority choices, the bigger scale of this year's awards also brought some good. The few awards that were fully announced were treated well, both the orchestra and the band Phoenix made good performances at the show, the special guests list was good, Carol Shaw for the industry icon award and Andrew House both had great little biography videos, and the new awards fit right into place with the evolving video game landscape. I also thought that the various deals the award show had with giving away items and putting games on sale was also neat. But the biggest thing that stuck out to me that was positive, which I guess is also a product of a lack of formal award announcements, is the lack of politics. All of the other award shows recently feel like winning the award for them means talking about their political views more than an achievement in their career. I was happy to hear that the things bashed on by the few people who did have the chance to speak were issues within the video game industry (and one other thing, which I will get into).
Now any good award show has some comedy to it, but usually the comedy resides in the host. On this show, the comedy resided elsewhere. Their were funny moments that resided in the show, so I wanted to talk about two of them. The two I am talking about involves trailer from Bethesda and a certain, well, passionate man. I felt like talking about the comedic side because I wanted to get away from the good and the bad and look at the ugly, or in this case funny. And man can I say that the Bethesda trailer for single player games was both funny and a perfect way to say a point-of-view as well as bash on the idea that multiplayer games are taking over. The trailer was in the style of a Sarah McLachlan SPCA style commercial; but instead of puppies needing to be saved, it's single player gamers. And instead of Sarah, it's Linda Carter. But despite the sad music and somber tone of Linda, the commercial is a great way for Bethesda to not only advertise their single player experience, but also take a bash at the idea that single player games are dead. But nothing beats the funniest moment of that night: Josef Fares. For those who don't know, Josef Fares was previously a movie director, but now is making games. He made Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons and is now working on a new game called A Way Out. Anyways, Josef got to have a little talk with Geoff on the game, but it was when he looked directly into the camera and said "f**k the Oscars!" with his middle finger high, as well as just about everything else he said that makes this the best part. The only things I will say about this special moment are that the trailer is linked on the quote two lines above and God bless you Josef.
In the end, here is what I have to say about the award show in general: the show has evolved in a couple of ways that makes this award show feel more legitimate than ever. But it's the priority of announcements over awards and lack of structure that keeps this from being considered as a large award in the likes of the Academy Awards, Golden Globes, The Emmys, or others. The awards are a lot of fun to watch and see what games are the best of the year, if only they actually showed most of them.
Thanks for reading part one of my three part series on The Game Awards. Stay tuned for part two and three when I talk about my thoughts on upcoming games and on what awards won.
Here is the entire show (I can't recommend watching the individual clips the Youtube channel made because I don't know if they include all of the content).
Part two here.