The Game Awards 2014 has now come and gone and there is little dispute that this show was a drastic improvement over Spike’s output. Unfortunately, the bar was set so low that not even Barbados Slim could wiggle his way underneath it, and the fact they got up there and talked about games once in a while already made it a romping success. After watching this year’s show, I still don’t fully understand the point of these ceremonies, and I’m not sure the people that put them on do either.
This isn’t even about the fact that the show always seems to be half commercials, an estimate that doesn’t even include the actual commercials. The show is nothing but trailer after trailer after trailer, and none of them are long enough to hold anything but the game title and company credits. Even if they were able to convey anything, an awards show is meant to be a celebration of the past year, not a commercial for the upcoming one. The Academy doesn’t take out time from every other Oscar to show off trailers for films for the upcoming year, and that is because it is an actual award show rather than a gussied up advertisement. I’m not going to deny I love a good trailer, but an awards show is neither the time or place for one.
The most problematic moment was when Nintendo was announced as the developer of the year. This is pretty much the biggest award a gaming company can receive (and well earned considering the plethora of quality titles Nintendo has developed and published this past year) so naturally it was treated with the utmost gravitas. Nah, just kidding, it was actually thrown in at the end of another award in a blink-and-you-miss it aside. Of course, the award for Trending Gamer was shown front and center, because without it how would we know which Youtube celebrity feigns being scared of Five Nights at Freddy’s the best? To advertise your show as “The Game Awards” and relegate your most important award to a two second afterthought shows how low a priority the awards really are.
This shows a gross misunderstanding of what gamers are interested in. It would be like if the Academy gave an award for the “Best Mustache In A 1800’s Period Piece” and then was like, “Oh yeah, they also won best picture and director NOW CHECK OUT THIS TRAILER FOR XMEN TWELVE!” The best developer of the year is sort of a huge deal, and to announce it in an off-the-cuff comment is to admit that you don’t think it’s that important in your own show. I watch the show to see the achievements of this year’s games celebrated, and when they ignore the awards in favor of these trailers I feel like I’ve been tricked into a timeshare presentation.