VGA 10: What Went Right and What Went Wrong

Right: The Walking Dead: The Game, Game of the Year. In a year full of big name titles swamped in controversy, the time was right for a simpler title to climb to the top of the heap. Congratulations to developer Telltale Games for also bringing home Studio of the Year, Best Adapted Video Game, Best Performance By a Human Female, and Best Downloadable Game.

Right: Journey, Best PS3 Game. It’s been a great year for smaller independent games, and for Journey in particular. If the VGAs were an awards ceremony as important to gaming as the Grammy Awards are to music and the Oscars are to movies, Journey’s victory here would be a bit of a wakeup call for the industry. Hopefully it’ll serve as a lesson that games don’t have to be huge, overblown messes to be successful.

Wrong: Mass Effect 3, Best RPG. Mass Effect 3 is a perfectly fine game that I enjoyed immensely, but the series ditched its role playing roots to become a shooter a long time ago. It flat out doesn’t belong in the same category as Xenoblade Chronicles and Torchlight 2. If Mass Effect 3 is an RPG, I’m Jessica Alba. Speaking of…

Wrong: Jessica Alba. I get why Spike wanted to trot a pretty lady out onto the stage, and Jess certainly handled her presenting duties well. That said, I can’t help feeling that her presence was just another attempt to pander to the horny male gamer stereotype. Her spot on stage should’ve been given to someone important to the industry, or at least someone who’s done some voice work or character modeling–even if said someone wouldn’t have looked nearly as good in that dress.

Right: Samuel L. Jackson. Despite my desire to get more people involved in the industry up on that stage, only a true blue entertainer can actually host a big awards show. Sure, he’s over the top and occasionally reductive to the source material, but he holds your attention and can occasionally elicit a legitimate laugh. Samuel L. gets the job done.

Wrong: Sam Jackson’s wardrobe. Did Mugatu dress this guy? Derelict has finally hit the big time!

Right: That stage. It’s obvious that Spike spared no expense on the facility. I’d pay $10 to walk out on that thing with the lights and music blaring as a raucous crowd goes wild.

Right: The Phantom Pain trailer. Well played, Kojima. Well played.

Wrong: Claptrap, Character of the Year. No offense to Borderlands’ lovable little robot, but he wasn’t even the best character in his own game. Thinking about the acceptance speech we should’ve heard from Handsome Jack makes me sigh wistfully.

Right: Daemon Clarke as Handsome Jack, Best Performance By a Human Male. Naturally.

Right: Half-life 2, Game of the Decade. Everybody’s got their own favorite game of the last ten years. This one’s in most people’s top five. Can’t argue with that.

Wrong: The amount of time in between awards. Given all the world premieres, the entire thing felt like one big commercial. This should be a celebration of gaming, not a terrible attempt at selling more games. And that’s why a lot of gamers just flat out don’t take your awards show seriously, Spike; for as much fun as it can be, it often feels like nothing more than an attempt to cash-in on our love of games. Here’s hoping someone, somewhere, figures out a way to do this better.

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