Well this was a surprising change of pace. The Video Game Awards are considered notoriously awful. Most gamers unanimously agree every year, but we watch them anyways out of spite and make jokes about how bad they are on Twitter as they happen. This year was a bit different, might I even say, they were worth watching? Actually decent? Actually something that didn’t feel shallow, corporate, and almost poke fun of what it is supposed to be giving a tribute to? Dare I say even better than that thing called the Oscars that nobody really likes either? I am quite surprised.
The show opened extremely well, with a decent tribute about gamers and gaming as a medium becoming the largest one in the world. And then we cut to Koji Kondo, composer of the music found within Zelda and Mario, playing Super Mario Bros. music. What the hell else could you want? Seriously, this was awesome. The thing is, Koji Kondo has never really gotten the limelight at these types of events before (at least I don’t think so) and seeing this happen is a beautiful moment. This man has composed some of the most memorable music ever put into video games and he finally got a moment to shine on stage.
Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America, comes onstage to discuss Mario Maker, the new app/mod/game that allows players to create their own Mario levels with multiple different skins, such as New Super Mario Bros, classic Super Mario Bros. styles, etc. The game has been revealed before, but seeing more of it is still awesome because it looks absolutely fun. I don’t necessarily plan on creating levels myself, but I will gladly play everyone else’s levels (and spend plenty of hours doing so I’m sure).
Geoff Keighley, the organizer of the Video Game Awards for many years and video game journalist, then more properly introduces the show and is essentially the glue/host of the entire show. He does a pretty good job of it too.
Kiefer Sutherland, voice of Big Boss for the upcoming Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, comes on stage and actually gives a really sincere speech on video games and how the medium is really incredible and doing more than movies: it’s actually evolving and becoming something more every single year. It’s weird when they have a celebrity come on stage at these types of shows and he isn’t a complete asshole or pretending to like video games. He seemed completely genuine about everything he was saying. It was really great.
Hideo Kojima comes on stage to talk about Metal Gear Online, the online component of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Some gameplay of it was shown and it looks absolutely marvelous. I was a fan of the MGSIV Online component and I will gladly spend some time with this one. It looks far more dynamic and more well realized this time around with more gameplay mechanics and components in abundance.
Tim Schafer, founder of Double Fine Productions, came onstage to give the best performance award and also pokes fun at the older editions of the Video Game Awards by stating that he doesn’t look as good as celebrities giving video game awards, which was a nice jab and a very necessary one for all the bullshit over the years found on these shows. Trey Parker won the award for South Park: Stick of Truth and also states how this is the only time he’d win over Kevin Spacey (who was nominated for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare). This stunt by Trey Parker might as well also be called the most badass mic drop ever. In the history of everything. Ever. Seriously.
A new game was revealed from the creators of Gone Home (a game I still need to play…waiting for that PS4 version) titled Tacoma. Very little of Tacoma was shown in the reveal trailer, but it is a new science fiction game.
New footage of Bloodborne was shown, a game that I wasn’t really that excited for, but seeing this new footage made this game jump up to my list of most anticipated games for 2015 (which I wrote about here). The footage was absolutely gorgeous and the game looks like a blast. But I do hope it won’t be as painstakingly difficult as something like Dark Souls, which is made by the same developer (From Software).
Conan O Brian for some reason introduces the first game of the year nominee (Dragon Age: Inquisition). He also introduces all of the nominees later on throughout the show. Yeah if we could just not have that next year, that’d be great. I haven’t played Dragon Age either (actually even better, I haven’t played ANY of the game of the year nominees).
Something called Banner Saga 2 was shown. I have no idea what this is, but it’s something?
Destiny wins some awards for online gameplay (which I’m sure some people are angry about) and music (which I’m sure people are okay with).
Boogie2988 (which I was super excited for to see onstage. This dude deserves all of it. An extremely humble, genuine, and considerate YouTuber who truly loves video games passionately) and iJustine (meh) appear and give an award called Trending Gamer out. TotalBiscuit wins it. I know almost nothing about TotalBiscuit. Jeff Gerstmann should have won (because Giant Bomb is one of the best gaming sites around…like by far. Listen to the BombCast. Just do it. Now).
A game titled Hazelight is shown, which is developed by the developers behind Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (a game that I didn’t like anywhere near as much as everyone else did), and it should have also won the award for worst trailer ever. All it managed to show is two people in a train together. I’m not even joking.
A strange, trippy performance of video game music was performed; it was sort of good, sort of bad, sort of confusing.
Dark Souls II has its little game of the year nomination video. I haven’t played this game either.
A game called Adrift was revealed, a science fiction first person game that sort of looks like the movie Gravity, but with video games instead. Um, it could be good? The trailer wasn’t amazing by any means, mostly because it didn’t show enough.
Two comedians come onstage, make some (mostly) bad (and unnecessary) jokes and present the award for best mobile/handheld game. Something wins. (Hearthstone maybe?) I don’t even remember. Who cares I guess? I still don’t necessarily watch this show for the awards…is that bad or good?
The Regginator comes back onstage and gets some more awards. Why not?
Also, some game called Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. is shown, a 3DS game, I had no idea what the hell I was watching when I watched it.
A game titled Before is revealed, a game with some cavemen/cavewomen are shown and repetitive music is played over it. But hey, the game looks beautiful and some amazing visual landscapes are shown. I have no idea what in the actual hell the game is though.
Troy Baker comes onstage. I like Troy Baker. Who doesn’t?
And then we get into the real slump of the show. Battlefield Hardline has a long, absurd reveal and a long, absurd music performance. Yes, you did hear me correctly. MUSICAL PERFORMANCE. A SONG. FOR A BATTLEFIELD GAME. What is going on here? This was actually maybe the worst part of the show. For one thing, I don’t really care much for Battlefield and then some random, mediocre song plays for a really, really long time.
And then we give the award for competitive gamer. I really don’t care, if you’re into Esports, that’s cool. I’m not.
Some dude from Imagine Dragons presents the award for best sports/racing game (aka we said fuck it and just put two genres together) and Mario Kart 8 wins (deservingly so).
New footage of The Order: 1886 is shown and I have no idea how to feel about this game. I want to be excited for it because it is a Playstation 4 exclusive developed by Santa Monica, but the game just doesn’t interest me very much so far. I hope that’ll improve. (Maybe during the Playstation Experience Keynote tomorrow? Hopefully?)
Something about MLB The Show is shown. Yawn.
They slowly tease us with Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End but nothing is shown for obvious reasons, Playstation has their own keynote to worry about tomorrow.
Until Dawn is shown, a Playstation 4 exclusive horror game that is basically everything I hate about video games shown in a single gameplay trailer. Basically, it’s Button Prompt: The Video Game, also known as, LITERALLY EVERYTHING HORRIBLE ABOUT VIDEO GAMES.
Footage of Lara Croft and The Temple of Osiris is shown, a game I could care less about, but I know some people really liked the previous entry in this top-down shooter series of Tomb Raider games. (Or do we call these Lara Croft games? I have no idea.)
A trailer for the new Destiny expansion is shown. Some people are into it, some aren’t, and I think that’s basically the general consensus of Destiny at this point.
Elijah Wood does the voice of his character from Broken Age and breaks the 4th wall and such about the Video Game Awards. Who would have thought that Frodo and Ryan from Wilfred would be saying things at the Video Game Awards?
Far Cry 4 wins best shooter. I haven’t played Far Cry 4, or Far Cry 3 for that matter. Man, I need to play more video games apparently.
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft gets its little game of the year nomination bit. Uh, that’s cool? I know almost nothing about this game if I’m going to be honest.
Footage of The Witcher III is shown. I also know nothing about The Witcher series of games. Man, I REALLY need to play more games.
The Games For Change Award (aka games that had some actually real life commentary on things and isn’t just shooting things for a couple of hours) is given out and is given to Valiant Hearts: The Great War. Did I mention I haven’t played this game either? Regardless, The Last of Us: Left Behind should have won. Because I said so. And Ellie is the shit (I’m really doing a good job on being a games journalist right now).
Footage of No Man’s Sky is shown, also known as one of the most interesting games for 2015. I’m so damn excited for this game. How could anyone not be? I also find it crazy how this game is getting such incredible coverage at basically every major press conference; it’s weird that such an ambitious, bizarre indie title is being pushed for the AAA market. But hey, I’m all for it anyhow. This game is going to absolutely amazing if it’s half as good as it’s supposed to be. Oh, and some music from the game is then performed.
A trailer for a new Godzilla game is shown. Moving on.
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor gets its little game of the year clip. Did I mention I haven’t played this game either?
After all of this, Neil Druckmann comes on stage to give the award for industry icon. The winners being the founders of Sierra, Ken Williams and Roberta Williams, they also gave a long history lesson on Sierra, which I found quite intriguing and truly interesting despite the fact that I have never played any of these classic Sierra games. It truly made me want to play them. Also, a new entry in the series of King’s Quest (one of Sierra’s most popular franchises) games gets a trailer and looked pretty great. I have nothing snarky to say.
Lindsey Sterling gives a performance of music from Dragon Age: Inquisition and it was quite beautiful, even if I haven’t played this new fangled Dragon Age video game the kids are talking about.
Shovel Knight won best indie game. Did I mention I haven’t played this game either? I’m really out of the loop.
Bayonetta 2 gets its short little game of the year video. Oh, I haven’t played this game either.
A new game titled Human Element gets a proper trailer. It looks like a first person shooter. Made by a guy who used to work at Infinity Ward (Robert Bowling). It just looks a little bit cartoonier. What I’m trying to say is that this doesn’t LOOK THAT EXCITING, OKAY?
A short video is shown of Eve Online players having real conversations during their games. Also known as completely nonsensical blabbering to me because this game is so complex and I’d never ever actually try and learn how to play it because I don’t have that kind of time, seriously though, I commend the people who dedicate so much time to a game with so many layers, it’s really amazing.
And finally, after ALL OF THAT, game of the year is finally given out. Dragon Age: Inquisition gets the win. I guess I’m supposed to go play it now according to the Video Game Awards, right? I have no idea. I won’t lie; I sort of just wanted Bayonetta 2 to win because it would have been absolutely insane if it did.
But the show wasn’t over yet! (Gladly? Not gladly? I don’t know.) I guess gladly because we got some new Zelda footage! Sort of. We have two sweet old Japanese men sitting on a couch together (these men being Shigeru Miyamoto, you might have heard of him, and Eiji Aonuma, you might have heard of him too) talking about the new Zelda game as some footage is shown on the TV. It looks really pretty, but you can tell that the game was nowhere near the word finished because they weren’t willing to give us any close shots of any footage whatsoever. They also mention that you can eat apples in the game. YOU CAN EAT APPLES! GAME OF THE YEAR 2015! They also mention that the horses can avoid running into trees. YOU CAN AVOID RUNNING INTO TREES WHILE RIDING HORSES! GAME OF THE YEAR 2015! I kidd, kidd (they really did mention this though), the game looks pretty great, even if I’m coming from the perspective of a non-Zelda fan. Miyamoto also stated that Star Fox Wii U was coming along and would be out before the new Zelda, both being released sometime next year. But no footage of Star Fox was shown, unfortunately.
The show ends with a final performance of Koji Kondo…and Imagine Dragons? What the hell is going on here? This hip band called Imagine Dragons is performing beautiful Zelda music with the composer of said music. Seriously. This is super weird and awesome and came out really great actually. And then Imagine Dragons slipped into their own music and even that wasn’t too bad.
Geoff Keighley comes back and bids the show farewell. And that’s that. I just summarized/reviewed the Video Game Awards for 2014 for some reason (so you didn’t have to watch them), and I hope you enjoyed it. The Video Game Awards as a whole were decent. This is the best point they’ve ever hit and I can only see them improving this even further if they keep up at this pace over the next couple of years. They’ve cut out the bullshit celebrities and the bullshit corporate sponsors and it seems like a show that is truly designed for people who actually enjoy video games and not some shallow, weak form of that. I do commend Geoff Keighley for organizing a show that actually didn’t turn out too bad. It had a couple decent reveals, it wasn’t littered in cringy, bad attempts at comedy (which was probably my favorite thing to be omitted), and it truly came across as genuine. He seemed like he really wanted to make a show for people who play video games and that is a great thing to see. I now feel like I can truly look forward to the Video Game Awards. I never thought I would type that sentence in my life.
You can watch the entire show below if you really want to:
What did you think about the Video Game Awards if you watched them? Like them? Hate them?
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Author of this post (and the only author ever on this blog):
Jesse Jordon is an aspiring writer who writes this stuff on these blogs to make you learn something I guess. (Wait, why am I mixing 3rd and 1st person point of view when I’m the only one writing this?) He’s trying to be a video game journalist but is probably failing at that. You can follow him on Twitter @jjordon96 (if you want I guess). You can also purchase his first self-published book On Human Empathy for only $5.00 (you can buy literature or coffee, it’s up to you to decide. I’d go with the coffee personally).