I recently fried a few brain cells watching the perpetual commercial that is the Video Game Awards.
On the surface to someone who has never seen them before they look like the Oscars for video games but probably more laid back. I suppose if the Oscars were actually a long commercial for movies that haven’t come out yet (but will be nominated for next years awards) that they would be more comparable. It wouldn’t hurt for the people at them to pander to the audience by going to the lowest common denominator and utilizing ridiculous stereo-types either. Then the resemblance would be uncanny. But the only similarity between the two is that they are awards shows.
It was all kinds of wrong. Less than half the awards were actually given out on the two hour broadcast. I lost track of how many times the word nerd was used. I don’t know a single person who actually calls themselves a nerd, but whatever. In the end if felt like a feeble attempt by a rich executive to capitalize on the audience without actually knowing the audience. “Hey fellow nerd?” Nope, doesn’t work.
Then it seemed like every B list celeb that was there to present an award (and capitalize on their B list cred) felt the need to justify themselves being there by explaining how they loved video games when they were a kid. Can I just say something? I am pretty sure that 99% of kids have played video games. They have made a cultural impact. It really goes without saying if you were a kid in the 80’s - 90’s you played a video game or two. You don’t need to justify it. Plus when the emphasis that the presenter is giving is on the fact that they played when they were kids it actually sabotages their being there. I just think ‘Oh you played when you were a kid, and you’re 35 now? Why are you here? Oh right, you were in that TV show and the promoters thought they could get a bump in the ratings if they paid you to show up.” It just comes off as insecure. Don’t be insecure. Be yourself.
Then the awards were voted on by the lovely people of the internet, myself included. I’m pretty sure that most of the games that won awards actually came out in the last few months leading me to believe that hype about a fresh game actually compelled people to vote rather than a good solid game. But that could be just me being bitter that Jennifer Hale didn’t win the award for Best Performance by a Human Female.
The winners were good though. I mean I love Borderlands and Claptrap as much as the next person so I don’t want to take away from their win.
Then the ads. Oh my the ads. For those of you who haven’t realized it, I’m a woman. That’s only relevant because there was this Dr. Pepper ad that was patronizing to women and then the tag line at the end was “Not for women” WTF Batman? What ad exec in their right mind would instantaneously stop selling to 50% of the population? Not to mention that statistically speaking women on average actually do more of the spending of the coin and controlling of the household money. Unless they were that convinced that women would never watch the Video Game Awards and thus never know that what was going on.
Guess what? I was watching. And so was my poor Grandma who I hope with every fibre of my being didn’t notice the massive inflatable penis behind Tenacious D during the last song.