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I was going to post this as a reply to Fozzy Boudaz’s Do we really need the Video Game Awards? post, but I figured it might be a little long for a reply, so I’m doing my own post on it. I would like to point out that this is my own opinion and you might not agree with it, but hey, that’s life. That said, here we go:

Gee, the spike video game awards, how do I express my disgust in this…

Let’s strat off with the show itself. Bright, flashy, over the top and with tons of celebritire showing up, giving out and recieveing awards, and music performances by popular artists. But you know what? something’s missing. Oh yeah, the gaming industry. It seems that unless you were nominated for something (or rather your PR person was) you don’t get an invite. The amount of people in the audience who actually are involved in the games are dwarfed by the amount of celebreties looking for more screen time.

Then there’s the awards themselves. Now Spike likes to promote their award show as a representation of what the world thinks. The WORLD, think about that. Regardless of region, the popularity is supposed to be universal. Now who wins the awards? For the most part, Games that are either rehashed of older games, flashy but lacking substance, or the current big testosterone fest. I only have a few games that have won an award over the entire history of the VGA and the one or two of that pile that I replay consistently only won “throw away” awards.

And some of the awards are just plain ridiculous. “Best Independent Game Fueld by Dew”, uh, what? “Best Performance By A Human Male/Female” “Best Cast” in a media field where it’s almost exclusively voice acted, but wait! They also have “Best Voice”! So what’s the point of the others? (Incidentaly, these awards have all been claimed by celebs as opposed to people who do this for a living and are tops in the business in it) Then there’s the glaring situation of awards that are missing, apparently because they will ruin what the award shows mean. What’s that you ask? I’ll explain later. As for the awards:

  • Best story
  • Best controls
  • Best gameplay
  • Best character (no, best performance doesn’t count, this is character, not actor.)
  • Best music (wait, this is in, but it hasn’t been music made for the game)
  • Most innovative (good lord that would be hypocrisy at this show)

Now why does this get so much funding from (American) publishers (let’s be honest, developers don’t invest in it)? Marketing. That’s all this show is. Grabbing as many A and B list celebs as possible to endorse their games in a media blitz. Instead of putting money into making better games (ie: more depth than style, but that’s another rant altogether), they throw money at a celeb fest to get their AAA titles more marketing.

Which brings me to the stickers. I was in game retail when the VGA’s started, and a lot of people valued my opinion on games, as I considered more than the pretty packaging when making my recommendations. So needless to say, it stung when people would argue with me on a “good game” because their source of info was the “Spike VGA winner” sticker on the case. That sting usually felt better when they would purchase it, then try to return it later when they realized it’s nowhere near as good as the one I suggested only to be told they were out of luck. (the games that carried that sticker were usually all style, no substance games.)

To summarize, the Spike VGA show proclaims itself as the “world representative” for gaming, but it couldn’t be farther from the truth. It’s nothing more than a marketing gimmick that publishers throw money at to perpetuate their “mediocre is the best ever” market. It’s a shame so many people give it far more credit than it deserves.