The Spike Video Game Awards Don’t Need to Change, YOU Do!
(This is another edition of </RANT>, a weekly opinion piece column on GameFront. Check back every week for more. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not reflect those of GameFront.)
Every single year, we have the same old song and dance. Geoff Keighley begins hyping up the VGAs, promising huge news and an improved show that respects the videogame industry. Everybody gets worked up into a frothy lather until one Saturday in December, when gamers across the world feel simultaneously insulted and enraged. Yet again, the actual awards are discarded in favor of inane banter and horrendously embarrassing “LOL VIDEOGAMES” jokes, while meandering quasi-celebrities parade around to share pop culture news that nobody really cares about. The awards, such as they are, get handed out to what is popular rather than what may be superior, and then the inevitable fallout occurs — Twitter ignites with a slew of nerd rage, while chin-stroking pundits pen their smarmy “Why the VGAs need to change” articles.
The awards have been around for a few years now, and no matter how many of those articles get written (and they get written every f*cking year), it should be quite apparent to everybody by now that the VGAs have no intention of changing. Nor should they, really, because at the end of the day it is not Spike TV that has the problem. With the VGAs, Spike TV only does what Spike TV does best — shovel drivel into the heads of idiots. It’s the attitude that the VGAs are, or have ever, been about the gamer community that needs to change.
The Spike VGAs aren’t for you. They never have been, and they probably never will be, because what you want doesn’t make for good television. You want to see a bunch of developers accepting their awards and giving big, insightful speeches that will stir your imagination and teach you a little something about how the best games of the year were made. That’s not good TV. Half the developers have never been in front of a camera in their lives, and even less of them are actually good in front of one. Of the few acceptance speeches that were allowed to air, I don’t think a single one failed to be waffling and awkward. People who are not you don’t want to see that. People who are not you would like to see footballers revealing which footballer will be the footballer on the football game that they’re looking forward to. Because that’s who the Spike VGAs are for — people who watch Spike, drink beer, and watch the f*ck out of some football.
And yes, the VGAs don’t hand out awards to the best videogames so much as they do the most popular. Just look at the games that won — Portal 2 for best PC game, Modern Warfare 3 for best shooter, Skyrim for Game of the Year, Uncharted 3 for best PS3 game. Now, they’re all fine games, but are any of those awards surprising? Of course not. These awards are determined by sales figures and Metacritic scores, not by anybody actually giving a shit about videogames. The VGAs are not about surprising you with underdog victories or promoting games that really need a prestigious leg up. They’re about selling the biggest games of the year to people who only casually play videogames and might not know that “the shit with the dragons and aaawww yeah” is out in stores already. It’s a huge commercial for the games that want — rather than need — the extra marketing. You need to come to terms with that fact.
This leads me onto a very important bit of advice — STOP GETTING UPSET WHEN A GAME YOU DON’T LIKE WINS AN AWARD. So, Modern Warfare 3 won best shooter even though you think it’s a glorified mod. So, Skyrim won game of the year even though you encountered some big glitches. So f*cking what!? You already, objectively, know that the VGAs are a sham and that the awards are determined by no more noble a factor than popularity, so why are you in the least bit bothered? Are you that insecure that you cannot even rationally accept the results of a staged production of a fake award show? Are you so desperate to be agreed with that even a show you don’t care about can anger you with its predictable, obvious, uninspired results? Son, let it go. The VGAs are no less structured and false than a professional wrestling match, and has less than half the respectability. You owe it to your self respect to not care that much.
These are not your awards. These are not your Oscars. This show is not for you. The only value it has for a so-called “hardcore” gamer is the slew of game reveals and trailers, and you don’t even have to sit through the dog n’ pony show to see those. Just keep an eye on your favorite blogs. Spike will not miss your attendance, because it’s not aiming itself at you. You’re not the demographic here. So just get the news elsewhere. If you do watch the show, don’t get upset — just make fun of it. The show becomes vastly more entertaining once you accept it for what it is and laugh at the embarrassing attempts at humor. YOU are the one who needs to change, not the VGAs. You need to stop getting bent out of shape about a show that wasn’t yours to enjoy in the first place. You might as well attack Sex and the City for not appealing to gamers either, since both shows have about the same appeal.
We gamers are amazingly entitled and demand to constantly be catered to. Unfortunately, what we want isn’t what succeeds most of the time, at least in “mainstream” entertainment. You want a more surprising, more agreeable, more knowledgeable set of awards? Again, your favorite blogs will probably have their own. Wait for those. You don’t need Spike to pat you on the head and give you a doggie treat. It’s never going to do that, so stop deluding yourself year after year.
Every year, gamers get up in arms and complain with genuine, unabashed anger. Every year, people who were promised nothing of value act betrayed. Every single damn year, a bunch of game writers muse on the VGAs and offer their oh-so insightful ideas on how it could improve, seemingly unaware of the fact that the show doesn’t need to improve. It is perfect at what it does, and perfect for the audience it’s aimed at — the people who are not you.
The sooner you get that into your head, the happier you’ll be.
If you’re sick of the VGAs, you could always vote in GameFront’s Reader’s Choice Awards!