This is the official VGO Spike TV Video Game Awards Live-blogging Post. The way I see it, I’ll post my comments and you will read them. A have no idea how often I’ll be posting, but if you refresh this page during every commerical break you should be pretty safe. Feel free to go into a refreshing frenzy at other timesto see the latest and greatest additions, too.
Wanna make it interactive? Send me an e-mail or post a comment using the link below, and maybe I’ll address your thoughts during the show.
This is my first time doing something like this, so, in the words of Paul McCartney, “let’s hope this one turns out pretty good.”
8:41 p.m. EST: A pre-show? No way! – Just turned on the TV to get ready and found that there’s a pre-show. Dude! How long has this been going? Anyone wanna fill me in on what I missed?
8:46 p.m. EST: Tony Tony Tony – No, Tony, GTA isn’t a sports game. A-hyuck! Seriously, though, Tony came off pretty strongly. He seemed a little bewildered at the hostesses enthusiasm though (as was I). Is she going to be this perky all night?
8:49 p.m. EST: More Live-blogging – Dan Dormer and the crew at the Gaming Age Forums are doing their own riffing off the show. And some of them have a Tivo. Lucky bums. I’ll be reading them during the lulls. Perhaps you should too.
8:50 p.m. EST: They’re “dangerously close” – DANGEROUS!
8:52 p.m. EST: “Playing it for the articles” – This comment obviously about Playboy: The Mansion. Cute.
8:54 p.m. EST: “Is this your first Video Game Awards” – This question means very little now, as you might imagine. It may start to be signifigant in the future, though.
8:55 p.m. EST: Game are bigger than films – So says Tara Reid. That’s why films have an awards show on basic cable and video games have a major event on the networks. Oh, wait…
8:57 p.m. EST: Priceless – This exchange summary courtesy of Mr. Dormer over on the GA Forums:
BB: 10 MORE MINUTES! SNOOP IS DOING CRACK!
TR: I GAME! I KNOW SYSTEM NAMES!
BB: WANT TO DO A GAME?
TR: I WAS IN ALONE IN THE DARK!
BB: IF YOU COULD BE IN A VIDEOGAME?
BB: FORMAl, HIP CROWD! WE’RE COOL!
TR: VIDEOGAMES ARE JUST GETTING BIGGER IN QUALITY!
8:58 p.m. EST: Who needs Billy Crystal musical numbers… – …when you have Snoop Dogg blowing up a digital version of himself?
8:59 p.m. EST: Gratuitous product placement alert #1 – Virgin Mobile Camera Phones. Virgin, whatever you paid, it was too much. Did I miss any before I started watching? Lemme know.
9:02 p.m. EST: Waiting patiently? – I know no one who is patient about the wait for Gran Turismo 4, as Spike claims they are.
9:03 p.m. EST: Tiger and Snoop – Together at last.
9:04 p.m. EST: Ludacris – The closed captioner is having atough time keeping up with some of these lyrics. Now I know how ‘Yeek Yeek’ is spelled, though.
9:07 p.m. EST: Any 40+-year-olds in the audience – Have probably been totally freaked out by this opening song. But were there any to begin with? Hmmmm.
9:09 p.m. EST: Another rapper? – Did I accidentally tune in to the Hip Hop Music Awards?
9:10 p.m. EST: I think these background dancers… – … got turned down for West Side Story. Also, there seem to be more bleeped out lyrics in this song than allowable ones.
9:11 p.m. EST: Video games are all about… – Pantomimed beatings. Also, rapper No. 4 and minute No. 11 with no sign of anything vaguely video game related. *sigh*
9:12 p.m. EST: Snoop can fly – Holy god, Snoop can fly!
9:13 p.m. EST: “Spike TV got it right on the money this time” – Funkmaster Flex, in regards to the host Snoop Dogg. I have to say ouch for David Spade. Also: World premieres of two never before seen games? Is this the surprise that makes this show worth watching?
9:16 p.m. EST: “It’s the Vector Monkey, it’s awesome, isn’t it. Makes all those other awards look like junk.” – No it doesn’t, Victoria’s Secret angels. No it doesn’t.
9:18 p.m. EST: Where else… – …can Carmen Elextra and Judi Dench be nominated for the same award? Also: What chance did Judi Dench have of winning? I say -1000 percent.
9:21 p.m. EST: Commercial Break #1 – So far it’s already loads better than last year’s show, if simply because they haven’t given out game of the year yet. Seriously, who gives out game of the year as the first prize? Do you want your viewers to leave. Snoop’s banter — whether with Tiger Woods, the “angels,” or “himself” — is totally corny, but that’s par for the awards show course. At least they’re trying to keep it slightly respectable this time. The only thing that’s totally horrified me is the awards show trophy, and that’s an achievement.
9:23 p.m. EST: Hot girls read cheat codes – Zuh? Bubba-zuh-wubbah, huh? Gluh?!
9:24 p.m. EST: Gratuitous Product Placement #2: “Most Adictive Game Fueled by Mountain Dew.” I predict I’ll be up to at least a dozen by night’s end.
9:25 p.m. EST: I just noticed… – …that none of these game clips use the actual sound from the games. It’s not like they have bad soundtracks, either. Come on, let the games breathe a little under the glitz.
9:26 p.m. EST: Gratuitous Product Placement #3 – The PSP. Bobby Crosby has “the only one in America” because “Spike TV has the hook up” but Freddy Adu steals it. Cute, but still gratuitous.
9:28 p.m. EST: On the Halo 2 acceptance – All right nerds, back in your cage! At least they’re keeping the speeches short.
9:31 p.m. EST: Fact error #1 – Tony Hawk on Grand Theft Auto: Vice City mentions “the two games that precede it.” How about the other two… namely GTA1 and 2. Just because they’re not in 3D and not on a current system doesn’t mean they don’t exist. This industry needs to get in touch with its history by doing more than occasionally mentioning Q-Bert.
9:34 p.m. EST: Commercial Break #2 – We’re finally getting to some video game stuff, at least. The acceptance speech for Halo 2 was probably embarrasing to watch for anyone who isn’t an amazing-looking celebrity. The PSP bit was well done, but I hope either (a) Sony played a lot of money for the mention of (b) the Nintendo DS gets equal time. My money’s on (a).
9:37 p.m. EST: A bit sad… – …that a great virtual performance like the Godfather clip just shown has to be cribbed directly from the movie. Also sad: the fact that Funkmaster Flex describes the game as “mad crazy” based on a somber movie clip.
9:39 p.m. EST: Gratuitous Product Placement #4 – Pontiac GTO sponsoring the best driving game. The guys accepting the award put a good face on game development, though.
9:43 p.m. EST: Questionable Pronunciations – So far I heard You-BiSoft and Katamari Dama-See. I don’t think either is right.
9:44 p.m. EST: Shannon H Asks, “WHEN’S SNOOP & THE DOORS GONNA DO THEIR GIG?” – I answer: “Hopefully during the Grammy’s.
9:46 p.m. EST: Commercial Break #3 – Between the music acts and the endless commercials, I’d be surprised if there was 30 minutes of directly game-related material in the two hours of broadcast. Also, nothing against rappers, but it’s nice to see some variety in the musical lineup in Sum 41. Gamers have all sorts of musical tastes. Why not bring out some ducks singing the Katamari Damacy theme song next?
9:49 p.m. EST: Danny Masterson was playing video games while his co-stars were dating – Is that supposed to make him some sort of gamer god or something? Also: Pricless line of the moment: “The first person action game guarnatees an ass kicking good time.”
9:50 p.m. EST: These bits about the Game of the Year Nominees… – … Are actually well-produced and respectful. Now if they could only finda fan to say something deeper than “the story is really good” or “the graphics are really good.”
9:52 p.m. EST: Green Day’s Grammy Nominations Mean Nothing! – This is the award that counts! And…. they have gaming gloves. “Keep giving us a virtual playground to play in.” A touch of class.
9:54 p.m. EST: Snoop Dogg’s big musical number – Now we know why he took the gig.
9:56 p.m. EST: From the GA Forums – StrikerObi points out: “Way to only fucking mention the publishers. Fucking cocks. VU games deserves no credit for Half-Life 2 and MS deserves no credit for Halo 2.” A good point. Where’s the credit for the developers?
9:57 p.m. EST: If anyone else asks the crowd to scream/make some noise/if they’re having a good time… – … I will scream.
9:58 p.m. EST: Seven Awards in 50 seconds – And that’s including the lame intro. and Bloodrayne’s 9 second acceptance “speech” for cyber-vixen of the year. Way to stand there, BloodRayne. The categories and winners aren’t even vaguely related. And these are major awards, not the largely immaterial technical awards at the Oscars. Oh well, I guess now they can squeeze in another musical number.
10:03 p.m. Kane for blood banks – Actually pretty funny.
10:05 p.m. Clips of Burnout 3 – Actually pretty good, despite the description of the graphics as “slammin’.”
10:06 p.m. Celebrity impersonators in game auditions – OK, this is no longer “pretty funny,” or even “remotely funny.”
10:08 p.m. The crowd likes Sammy L. Jackson – As shown by their cheers. And Sammy likes his game work — he even wants to do motion capture on the next GTA. On another note, he doesn’t seem totally ashamed to be there. He really is a good actor.
10:15 p.m. EST: Commercial Break #X – I lost count back there. This whole thing is starting to make my eyes glaze over. Trying to pick out the bits that are (a) about video games (b) not lame jokes and (c) not also desperately shilling for some non-gaming product, song, movie or celebrity is like finding a needle in a haystack. Those bits have been generally quality when they appear, though. The ratio just needs to get better.
10:17 p.m. EST: Snoop in a lame rap battle with his virtual “self” – The night has reached a new low.
10:19 p.m. EST: Disreagrd my earlier comment about the developers They seem to at least be mentioning them. Also: If Vin Deisel owns a game studio, then gaming must be cool.
10:24 p.m. EST: One for two I was right about Gamespot but wrong about Game Informer. I guess EGM is no longer the behemoth it once was. Also, more awards condensed into quick 10-second clips. Come on, Spike, throw us a bone!
10:27 p.m. EST: Calling it now – Halo 2 is my odds on pick for Game of the Year.
10:28 p.m. EST: It’s official Samuel L. Jacksonis cooler than nerdy, sterotyped gamers. Also: Is it kosher to present and win an award at the same show?
10:31 p.m. EST: Madden 2004: Game of the Year. 2005: Sports Game of the Year. Was 2004 a slow year, or was 2005 a slow game? Also: Madden, “we’re gonna go and go and go and be better and better every year.” Insightful. NOT!
10:32 p.m. EST: How many rappers is too many – Busta Rhymes answers by appearing. Also, another Snoop Dogg song? Even Billy Crystal stopped at one.
10:35 p.m. EST: From the comments – I just realized you guys are leaving comments. Usually they’re forwarded to my e-mail but that doesn’t seem to be working. Anyway, Wilder says ” Fable is best RPG? Fable’s not even an RPG! It’s a hack & slasher.” A good point. What makes a game an “RPG” or a “sports game” for a show like this. Are there any guidelines? Should there be?
10:38 p.m. EST: Commercial Break #Y – Funkmaster Flex just announced two awards and two musical acts coming up. I’m going to be timing to see which take up more time. I’m not betting on the award presentations.
10:39 p.m. EST: A selection of graphics adjectives used on the show – “slammin’,” “great,” “amazing,” “hot visually,” “so sick.” Did I miss any?
10:41 p.m. EST: DAMNIT HOT GIRLS – STOP READING CHEAT CODES!
10:42 p.m. EST: Snoop Dogg/Game Informer Shirt – I want it! How much! I’ll pay any price!
10:44 p.m. EST: “No it’s not a porno” – It’s this show sinking even lower in self-respect. Also, Malcolm in the Middle asking for a five-way is disturbing.
10:50 p.m. EST: Commercial Break #Z – It’s finally winding down. Now it’s all over but the Game of the Year award and the Motley Crue Reunion. Just how a video game awards show should end. Except for the Motley Crue part.
10:54 p.m. EST: “Who better to introduce [Game of the Year] … than Method Man, Red Man, and Ludacris – How about “someone remotely connected to the games industry”?
10:55 p.m. EST: Wrong Again GTA:SA wins the battle of the sequels over Halo 2. Samuel L. Jackson accepts for Rockstar? Did everyone who actually works for Rockstar leave? Were they there to begin with. And now… Motley Crue!
10:58 p.m. EST: What’s cooler than Motley Crue? – Motley Crue on a motorcycle. with hot girls spreading their legs. And Snoop Dogg. Duh!
11:28 p.m. EST: Final thought – When I was younger, I distinctly remember watching the Oscars every year with my mother. I waited through the opening music number (which I didn’t really understand) suffered through the bad jokes (which I even laughed at a bit) and marveled at the spectacle of an industry congratulating itself for another year of artistic achievement. Tonight, I marveled at a spectacle, but it wasn’t of an industry that seemed anywhere near artistic acheivement.
And I know that’s not true. This farce of a show isn’t the games’ fault — I’m not going to sit here and say a bunch of indie games you’ve never heard of should have been nominated or something. The nominees and awards themselves are of course open to opinion, but they were handled decently enough for an industry show of this type.
But between the endless musical guests, scantily clad women, name-dropping celebrities (that often had nothing to do with games), and — as a final insult — multiple award presentations squeezed into ten-second segments, this show made me long for the splendor and decorum of the Cable Ace Awards.
Still, it was a marked improvement from last year. One could argue it had nowhere to go but up from the “extreme” explosion of epilpsy-inducing extraveagance that caused me to question my place in the industry through song parody. There were signs of life this year: Particularly the thoughtful (if less-than-inspired) comments on what made the game of the year nominees special by actual gamers. I also noticed some (very limited) speech time and acknowledgement given to developers and publishers. These rays of sunshine were enough to give me hope that a similar awards show, in more capable hands, could actually do the medium justice.
If we in the video game community — the press, the developers, the publishers, and the gamers — sit idly by and allow this type of show to speak for our industry, then we deserve whatever stereotypical bad-mouthing we get from the mainstream press and society at large.
When I was younger, I remember longing for an awards show that focused on video games with the grandeur and splendor of the Oscars. I’m still longing.
Note on the live-blogging: This was tons of fun and a great way to cover a live, unfolding event, in my opinion. Thanks to everyone who read, e-mailed or commented. Keep you comments an e-mails coming.