I didn’t watch the SpikeTV Video Game Awards this year. I don’t have SpikeTV. Sure, I suppose I could have watched it online, but that would have taken away from my surfing time, and that surfing time is valuable. It’s alright. According to the people I follow on Twitter, I didn’t miss much. Maybe I follow overly-cynical people (that’s possible), but the general consensus was that the show blew. Again, I didn’t watch it, so I can’t judge, but from what I understand, it was an hour and a half of silly jokes and premieres, with all of the awards shoved into the last half-hour. Judging by the time-stamps on the Twitter posts announcing the winners, I think that time-frame is pretty accurate. This strikes me as odd. I would assume that the “awards” in an “award show” would take center stage, but that didn’t appear to be the case. At any rate, one of the people I follow, Justin McElroy from Joystiq.com, questioned this odd move, and received the following reply from Executive Producer Geoff Keighley:
Um, Geoff Keighley? You do realize that what you tweeted, right there, is the formula for every other award show out there, right? The Academy Awards? No premieres, lots of awards. The Grammys? No premieres, lots of awards. The Emmys? No premieres, lots of awards. Oh, I shouldn’t quite say that. There are some premieres. They just come in between the awards. You know. During the commercials. These companies buy commercial time to premiere their wares; they aren’t a part of the show itself.
Now, I understand that the VGA’s (There is an apostrophe. I just decided) do not have the legacy that the rest of the awards shows have. Those other awards have been handed out for decades; the VGA’s are eight years old. I’m sure they believe they need to do something to attract the attention of both video game developers and players. Without these premieres, would anyone care about the show? I think they would, because my Twitter feed told me something else. When the awards were finally announced, there were congratulations all around. Yes, there were a few eye-rollings, but even those are a sign of notice. The people talking about these awards were the very same people that had spent the first 90 minutes of the show complaining. They watched for the awards, and when they were announced, there was genuine conversation.
These awards are voted on by an advisory council of people within the industry. If a game wins an award, it’s because it’s made an impact. That impact should be recognized, and the VGA’s are a great way to do that. I think the problem is that Geoff Keighley is gunshy, and that’s too bad. Video games have become a valid medium in their own right, and it’s time to recognize them as such. Let’s skip out on the gimmicks and stupid jokes and focus on the games we’re there to celebrate.
I’d take time out of my valuable surfing time to watch a show like that.