This article is an opinion piece written by Shawn Long and does not necessarily reflect the thoughts of the entire Nintendo Enthusiast staff.
Many of us tuned in to YouTube and Twitch to watch The Game Awards 2015. After being on Spike TV for many years, the past 2 years have been put on by Geoff Keighley. Last year’s show had its peaks and troughs, but from a gaming standpoint I think everyone saw that only one company really took it seriously: Nintendo. Hell, we got a Zelda U reveal at the end of the show. What would have happened if Nintendo themselves didn’t care about the show though? You would have a hollow corpse of an “awards show”, as evident by the 2015 showing.
Let’s get the good things out of the way first: Psychonauts 2 and the Iwata tribute. Psychonauts 2 was completely out of left field, especially since the original was adored by critics but not by the purchasing public, so it’s great to see this series get a second chance, even if it’s through crowd funding. Second, the Iwata tribute was touching, and you could genuinely feel the emotion both in the room, through our host, and through Reggie’s speech. So kudos on those two events, but this is a two hour show, and with only 10 minutes being positive, there are a lot of issues with the show.
Let’s start with my biggest issue: the name. The name clearly states “The Game Awards”, yet how many of these “awards” were given just in passing? Many times Keighley would just mutter out a random award winner to no fanfare or worthwhile recognition in a random segment not on stage. If the point of the show is about “awards” for games that excelled, then why are these not the focal point of the show? And speaking of these “awards”, who is choosing the nominees? I literally do nothing but research, study, and create media in either writing or videos based on video games, and one of the titles that won many of these awards was a “game” I had zero knowledge of: Her Story. I’m sure it’s a decent experience, but a FMV game “winning” something in 2015? The SEGA CD was clearly ahead of it’s time, because it would have racked it up! Also, how is a stellar title like Rise of Tomb Raider for the Xbox One not a finalist for Game of the Year? It makes no sense.
There was a major issue “hyping” some lackluster world premiers. Aside from Psychonauts 2, everything shown was common knowledge or out of place. We knew Uncharted 4 existed. Showing a new character briefly doesn’t exactly excite the gaming community. We knew Far Cry Primal is a game in development and had gameplay trailers. Why were these touted as something epic? The problem with this situation was that game developers didn’t put enough effort into the show. Nintendo tried last year, and did great, but what did Sony and Microsoft do last year? Nothing. This year, no one cared, and that’s why we got a two hour snooze fest.
The largest upset with the Video Game Awards was the complete lack of direction and focus for the show. Is it an “awards” show? Is it a concert? I mean, last year you had Zelda U close out the show. This year? A musical performance. Granted, I think Deadmau5 is a talented artist, but who wants to see that as the closing of a video game show? No one. Yet, someone thought it was a great idea to showcase a musician as the final memory of a show about video games. It boggled my mind.
I honestly don’t know how I made it through two hours of that show. It lacked cohesion, wasn’t interesting, and just felt so contrived that I realized something at the end: it’s time to end this madness. I’m sure Geoff has good intentions with this award show, but it’s a failure. There is nothing wrong with admitting you tried something and failed, and this is proof of a failure. The show could use a reformat and be more successful, but now it has a stink on it assimilated with the name “The Game Awards”.
Either start from scratch, rename and retool the show for 2016, or pull the plug on it.