G-Phoria 2006 Liveblogging

[UPDATE — 11:02 AM 8/9/06: Fixed some spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors brought on by fast typing]

T-minus five minutes to go until 6 PM Eastern time, when G-Phoria ‘06 Premieres. Not sure why they didn’t choose to put this thing in prime time — if I were still working in an office, I wouldn’t even be home in time to watch this thing. Anyway, I’ll be posting live comments on the show throughout the hour. Click the more link below and then keep hitting refresh to see the latest. Want to join in the fun? Send me an e-mail and I’ll try to address your thoughts in my blogging. And away we go!

5:57 PM: Yet another ad with Mount Rushmore heads laughing over doody jokes. Hopefully this will be the last one of these I ever see! Oh, and ITT Tech is worried about my future employability.

5:58 PM: So that’s how you beat the final boss of Destroy All Humans. What a great, timely lead-in for an awards show!

6:00 PM: “Democracy… the power to choose, to control the destiny of a nation.” Stirring words that, uh, don’t really apply here. This controls the destiny of an awards show… not a nation. Oh well. They’re doing a news show format?

6:01 PM Hundreds of thousands of votes… more than “Bucky in the fifth week of American Idol.” Network TV this aint.

6:03 PM: Best action game is first. Red states may be put off by legal prostitution in Gun? Is this the biting (read: stupid) political commentary we have to look forward to?

6:04 PM: Shadow of the Colossus is the “projected” winner? I thought the polls were already closed. Maybe they are? Can we flood the server with votes to make it so G4 called it wrong? Or is the “projected” thing just a joke?

6:05 PM: “I served with Ocarina of Time. Warriors… you are no Ocarina of Time.” Funny.

6:07 PM: Georgia, Kentucky, and the District of Columbia go for Fight Night Round 3? They’re really stretching this concept to the point of incredulity.

6:10 PM: First commercial break, and we’ve had one award and one video “campaign ad” for game of the year contender Fight Night Round 3. They’re gonna have to pick up the pace to be done by seven. So far most of the jokes have fallen flat, and the whole election night gimmick is really getting on my nerves. I like the newsticker at the bottom of the screen though… I’ll have to go through that again with Tivo.

6:11 PM: “Can you believe we get paid to do this?” No, Collins College, I can’t believe you paid people to record that ad for your crappy game design “college.”

6:12 PM: So best voice acting goes to a whole game, not a specific performance? Wow. That’s like giving an entire movie an award for “best acting.” The nominees are all pretty good choices, though.

6:14 PM: Indigo Prophecy and Ralph Nader both get 2 percent. All right… that made me chuckle.

6:16 PM: “The octagon of spin” with two extremely fake experts discussing whether WW2 games are passe. “If killing nazis is mysogynistic, call me Ike Turner.”

6:17 PM: Man on the street interviews from Hollywood Boulevard with Goofy, a guy in an Elvis costume, Darth Vader, and confused women who are not dressed up. Embarassing.

6:18 PM: Call of Duty 2 wins for best shooter by the skin of its teeth. It’s nice that they’re at least discussing how popular the other games were. Also, Kurt Cobain suicide jokes during a Guitar Hero video. I’m not sure if that’s too soon or too outdated, but either way it’s not correctly timed.

6:22 PM: Commercial break #2 and we’ve gotten through two more categories and two more funny jokes. I guess I should have known better than to expect any sort of serious awards-type show based on the ads, but I’m still kind of let-down that they didn’t even try for something more meaningful. Still, it’s not nearly as outright disrespectful as the Spike TV awards. I guess I’m saying it could be worse.

6:23 PM: Want to be rich like Bruce A. Berman? Quit your job and buy Bruce A. Berman’s book!

6:25 PM: The alt.sports award fueled by Dew. They feel the need to clarify that the dew is Mountain Dew. Or maybe it was required in the ad contract.

6:27 PM: Back in the “octagon of spin.” Stem cell research mini games, re: trauma center. Not a horrible satire of yell-at-each-other talking head shows of 24/7 news channels.

6:29 PM: They’re joking a lot about states “traditionally” going for this game or the other. I’d be interested to find out how the voting breakdown actually broke down by state, or at least region. Too bad anonymous internet voting makes it likely that robots cast more votes than actual humans.

6:31 PM: Commercial 3. They just said during the outro that they’ll be keeping up with “constant coverage around the clock until all the votes are counted.” Is this true, or just another wacky election-styled “joke?” Maybe I’m slow, but I’m seriously confused as to whether or not these results are final. With only four awards down, they’re either gonna have to skip some or really hurry it up.

6:33 PM: A quick check of G4TV.com/vote shows that voting is actually closed, making the ridiculous concept of this whole show even worse. Meanwhile, Adam Sessler is hiding under the desk. I can’t make this stuff up.

6:35 PM: “One prominent video game critic has a gay daughter… not that there’s anything wrong with that.” I wonder what Dick Cheney thinks of Condemned.

6:36 PM: Guitar Hero squeaks out a win over Shadow of the Colossus for best original game. A close race full of drama. Good thing they devoted a whole ten seconds to it.

6:37 PM: A fake police chief says: “There’s a good chance your children will be killed if Shadow of the Colossus is not awarded game of the year.” This is what passes for humor?

6:40 PM: Commercial 4. The Jeep Legend Award is coming up, because we haven’t had enough awards with the names of products in them yet. Overall, I’m impressed with the smooth presentation of what I can only assume is a live broadcast (I mean, voting was still open an hour ago, so I don’t know how else they can read the results), but not very impressed with the writing. There are only so many election jokes you can make before longing for a dictatorship.

6:41 PM: Some one in the background holds up a “Hi dad, please love me” sign. Cute.

6:42 PM: The Jeep Legend award goes to controller cords. Are you serious? Jeep is paying to be associated with an award that’s obviously a joke? I wonder if they were aware of this.

6:44 PM: The octagon of spin has a bunch of cans of Mountain Dew on the table. Subtle. Also, RPG nerds argue turn based vs. real time and scream “Do the Dew.” Kind of funny, kind of disturbing.

6:45 PM: Kingdom Hearts 2 wins for best soundtrack? Did the KH fan sites get together for a mass voting campaign or something? This is why I hate Internet polls.

6:47 PM: Commercial Break 5 teaches us how to unlock Evil Ryu and Dan in Street Fighter Alpha something-or-other. That’s really all I have to say at this point.

6:49 PM: First laugh-out-loud moment. Apparently, in 1935, Monopoly beat “playing in ditches” and “working in a pencil factory” for best game. How far we’ve come…

6:51 PM: Second laugh out loud moment — an over-the-top Japanese explanation of Shin Megami Tensei, and then another over-the-top explanation of the explanation. Are they saving the funniest stuff for the end? Maybe I’m just loosening up.

6:53 PM: Elder Scrolls wins by ten votes over Kingdom Hearts 2 for best RPG. No time to discuss that, though, it’s time to announce best multiplayer game. Oh, wait, now we have to discuss best looking game. They’re really squeezing them in. Also, the guys in the octagon of spin are getting their hair shampooed with Garnier Fructis. Over-the-top product placement is funny.

6:55 PM: Commercial 6… just because they could squeeze in one more before announcing game of the year. I’m gonna guess Oblivion will get it, but for all I know there was some groundswell for Kingdom Hearts 2 among the populace. And it isn’t even nominated for game of the year!

6:58 PM: “This is the most sought after award in the video game industry… I don’t know why anyone respects them, but they do, so here we are.” Some refreshing honesty. The second part, not the first part.

6:59 PM: A filmed Shadow of the Colossus concession? It must have been a clear loser well before the end of voting. Also, I called it, Oblivion wins.

7:02 PM: And we end with a suicide pact joke, going directly into Attack of the Show, which discusses the results live. Kevin thinks Guitar Hero should have won. But enough about that… Snakes on a Plane!

Final thought: Though the news format got a little grating, G-phoria definitely exceeded the low expectations brought on by Spike TVs award fiascos. Then again, it was a very different show, going for over-the-top humor and Internet voting instead of any kind of even semi-respectability. Quality presentation and occasional witty writing carry the day.

I’m still a little baffled by how G4 handled the whole thing. Six p.m. on a Tuesday… this is where you put the awards show you’ve been building up to for months? No effort to make a night of it either… sandwiched in between Cheat! and Attack of the Show, it may as well have been a repeat of X-Play. Like I said, a very different direction than I was expecting, although that’s probably my fault.

With that, it’s time for dinner. Did anyone else watch this thing? Leave a comment below if you did.

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