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Editorial: On the SpikeTV Video Game Awards 635

Posted by Zonk
from the r-e-s-p-e-c-t-find-out-what-it-means-to-me dept.
The best thing about the SpikeTV Video Game Awards show was that it was "only" two hours long. And that's really sad. Now that the business side of gaming has gained some attention, the next hurdle the gaming industry should be attempting to clear is an artistic one: games will never be seen as equals to movies or television if they and the culture that surrounds them are represented the way they were last night. The industry can do better. Read on for my reaction to last night's train wreck of an awards show.
The concept of an awards show for video games probably strikes some people as counterintuitive. While movies and television are investments of a handful of hours on the viewer's part, even the shortest story-based games take ten hours or more to complete. The personal nature of the video gaming experience means that gaming is a highly subjective genre of entertainment. Even more so than for movies and television, people have very specific gaming preferences. Attempting to quantify that experience across the board may seem like a bad idea at the outset.

That said, I think that an awards show is a good idea for the industry. At the very least, having an awards show with some gravitas would be a great way to put a public stamp of approval on the hard work that development houses put into their games. Games and movies can both take years to make, with certain games having development cycles longer than the lifespan of the average household pet. That kind of commitment by the artists, developers, designers, and producers should be rewarded in some way. If a game is good, I'm sure the big fat checks they get are plenty of reward. There's still something at work in an awards show, though. I bet if you asked a big name actor who's has been in a financially successful film and also won an award which he remembered more you're going to get "the awards ceremony" as an answer every time.

If an awards show in general is a good idea, I believe the debacle that SpikeTV broadcast last night was actually counter-productive for the gaming industry. As far as I could tell, the show had little to do with games, and everything to do with advertising. "Most Addictive Game Fueled by Mountain Dew"? Come on! If the Oscars had categories like "Best Comedy driven by Ford" or "Best Female in a Leading Role with makeup by Revlon" would you take them seriously? The night was a never-ending cascade of scantily clad women, rap, "extreme" stuff, rap, people who had nothing to do with games, and rap.

It's very interesting to me that, at least in my time zone, just after the awards show ended an episode of X-Play that I really wanted to see came on. Aside from the fact that the X-Play folks are (refreshingly) actual gamers, this particular episode had a piece with Morgan Webb covering the Child's Play charity auction from last week. Seeing Gabe and Tycho in tuxedos was excellent in and of itself. Above and beyond that, the disparity between the crass tenor of the awards show and the tone of the charity auction was striking. From what little I saw of the auction, it didn't seem somber at all. Jokes were cracked and everyone seemed to be having a good time. The difference is that the audience and organizers were there to celebrate games and children in a respectful manner.

And that, for me, is the biggest complaint I have about the awards last night. The show showed absolutely no respect to the games themselves. From the Video Game Ombudsman's commentary: "A selection of graphics adjectives used on the show - "slammin'," "great," "amazing," "hot visually," "so sick." That kind of shallow analysis is why games aren't art in the minds of a lot of people. Katamari Damacy is a very worthwhile game, but graphics and the "slammin-ness" of the game have nothing to do with that. Katamari is a good game because of a great (and simple) design, a development team that purposely looked for a unique style of gameplay, and a quirky and original soundtrack. I want an awards show that actually says things like that.

It could be great, too! The Oscars have a board that votes on the movies, and the Academy members are made of folks from the movie industry. I say the same style would be a useful format for games with some slight changes. The Oscars send around DVDs of all the nominee films to the Academy. Forcing a large group of people to play the number of games that would be required would be just cruel. That would mean hundreds of hours of gameplay just to be qualified to vote. It would be a much better idea to split up the field into bodies of relevant people. Have thirty or so folks involved in the RTS genre, say, from developers to producers to fan site owners review a set of five or six games and then vote accordingly. Have a Media Choice Award where game review organs like Gamespot, Game Informer, and X-Play, who have presumably played most of the field, can have their say. Have voting for the Game of the Year award be an industry-wide event, with everyone from an EA developer to a Sony Online Customer Service Rep to an IGDA member having a chance to say their piece. Voting via website is fine if you're taking a Slashdot poll -- making a representative, evaluative statement about a field of entertainment for an entire year should be slightly more involved.

I have enough problems in my day without having to explain to my family why a show honoring the entertainment I love is populated mostly by underdressed women in angel costumes. Once a year, wouldn't it be nice to put the scruffy, anti-social gamer stereotype behind us? To sit down and watch some very intelligent people in tuxedos and gowns get their due for providing us so much entertainment? Seriously, wouldn't it be great to see John Carmack present an award? Or get to listen to a Wil Wright acceptance speech? A gaming awards show taken seriously would be a sight to see. Even if that never happens, please -- enough with the Spike-style awards shows.

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Editorial: On the SpikeTV Video Game Awards

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  • zonk (Score:5, Funny)

    by daniil (775990) <evilbj8rn@hotmail.com> on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @03:31PM (#11095558) Journal
    Who is this guy, Jon Katz under a false name?
    • Not possible, unless there is going to be a book written on the downtrodden Videogamer.
    • Whoever he is..what does he have against scantily clad women? I mean, sure, I can see his objections to all the (c)rap associated with the show, but, c'mon, who doesn't like nearly nekkid women?

      :-)

      • Re:zonk (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Zorilla (791636)
        It probably means that it reinforces all the horrible disproportianate Barbie-esque way women get portrayed in video games.

        Most every video game within the last 6 years up until recently always had some Big Booby McBoob character who had no reasonable explanation for why they are dressed the way they are. Think Unreal II, Heavy Metal FAKK, etc. FAKK was so bad about this. All the female characters had shrunken head syndrome, but had boobs three times the size of their head (per boob).

        Alyx from Half-Life 2
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Boring things that 99.9% of people don't want to read?

    Yeah, you've got an opinion. Guess what, you're not special.
  • wrong (Score:3, Insightful)

    by spac3manspiff (839454) <spac3manspiff@gmail.com> on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @03:34PM (#11095592) Journal
    Mixing Snoopdog with videogames is simply sad and a disgrace to videogames.
  • To Summarize... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FortKnox (169099) on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @03:34PM (#11095595) Homepage Journal
    ... hollywood thinks gamers are the frat-boy, rap loving, dew drinking jocks that play the following games: Tony Hawk, Madden, and GTA.

    Of course, this is completely wrong in most ways and its not a surprise that any 'real' gamer thinks the award cermony was trash.
    • Re:To Summarize... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bob670 (645306) on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @03:38PM (#11095656)
      You are confusing the classic "geek" gamer archetype, which probably represents you and I pretty well, versus the more typical "gamer" today, which you decribed perfectly. You only had to drive by a store during the Halo 2 release to see what the typical "gamer" has become, and it ain't us.
    • Re:To Summarize... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Deathlizard (115856) on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @04:38PM (#11096423) Homepage Journal
      Last year. I said that they should have called the VGA's something like "WWE Most Xtreme Beach Volleyball Def Jam Vice City Madden Football challenge with Funkmaster Flex."

      This year, Im going to go with "EA Sports Xtreme Beach Def Jam San Andres Pro Skater Football with Funkmaster Flex."

      I dont know who the hell this show even appeals to. I dont have anything wrong with Hip Hop or Rap but geez its a video game awards show not a music awards show. Seriosly the first 10 minutes was a Gansta Rap War that was half censored. Most of the Stars of this thing were rappers or skateboarders. and Frankly, the only reason to even watch this was for Motley Crue (again not VG related), which they cut off in the end. This is a Video game awards show that I swear to god thinks it's some sort of music awards show.

      Frankly, this article has it on the money. What needs to happen is let gamers take this over. I know I'm going to take a ton of flak for this, but G4 really needs to take this off of SpikeTV's hands. Sure it will suck but at least it will be game related instead of T&A filled Rappers Delight, and the one awards show G4 had was a much better show than this thing ever was, and thats saying something.

      Second, screw the "Viewers Choice" voting that SpikeTV does. All thats ever going to win that is Madden and the like even though they did nothing innovative or groundbreaking. I agree that what needs to happen is a Oscar like board of professional Video game reviewers, programmers and people directly associated with the industry to nominate and award.

      Third. The Advertising goes away, pure and simple. No promoting of awards, games or anything in particular. Half of this show was video game previews and acts based on most of the games that won awards. The minute you saw all the Promos for San Andreas you already knew it won GOTY hands down. The "Most addictive game fueled by Dew" presented by Virgin mobile and Moutain Dew is a perfect example of whats got to go away.

      Frankly, at this point, I dont think this show could ever be saved. The Gaming public has been so scorned by these last two showings that I can't see SpikeTV possibly getting out of the deep hole they dug. I'm frankly amazed that gamers watched this one because the only reason I watched it is because I cant stop watching a train wreck. I'm guessing the same goes for most of the gaming public out there.
    • Re:To Summarize... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by faust2097 (137829) on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @04:46PM (#11096526)
      That's funny because Madden, Grand Theft Auto and Tony Hawk are some of the best-made, most consistently quality titles being released right now. And it doesn't take them 5 years to release a game that can be beaten in 6 hours.

      The entire concept of the 'real' gamer and the "gamer lifestyle" is what leads to pandering garbage like the Spike awards. The more of a market segment you try to make yourself the more attractive you become to advertisers and therefor the more crappy television gets made for you. Since 18-30 year old males are watching less television than ever before advertisers are desperate to try to market to them. Did you notice that most of the sponsors were not game companies?

      Most people who buy and play games do so as a side hobby and they have no interest in being 'real' gamers. They just play games that they enjoy and live the rest of their lives. The actual gamer population crosses all demographic lines and is more diverse than you can imagine. Just because that guy at EB talking about Madden accidentally elbowed you and made you drop the copy of Harvest Moon you were looking at doesn't give you any special rights as a "gamer" as opposed to a frat boy.
  • Media (Score:4, Interesting)

    by The Snowman (116231) * on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @03:34PM (#11095598) Homepage

    This attitude will change when the media stops portraying gamers the same way they portray internet child predators -- weird, pasty white guys with no lives who cause trouble, e.g. Columbine. Games are a scapegoat for the media, why give them any credit?

  • by TrollBridge (550878) on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @03:34PM (#11095599) Homepage Journal
    While I didn't bother wasting my time on this show, I can only wonder why the producers (and everyone else involved) did. However I have to disagree with one part of this editorial.

    "And that, for me, is the biggest complaint I have about the awards last night. The show showed absolutely no respect to the games themselves."

    These are video games that people play for fun. It's not a symphany orchestra, it's not a blockbuster movie. While I can see how this show may have demeaned, in many ways, the hard work of the developers, but these aren't productions worthy of prestigous critical acclaim.

    Just my $0.02.
    • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @03:46PM (#11095779)

      These are video games that people play for fun. It's not a symphany orchestra, it's not a blockbuster movie.

      Did you just compare a symphony orchestra to a blockbuster movie? Did you just imply that a blockbuster movie has more depth, or more art than a video game? Have you seen any blockbuster movies in the last 10 years? I'm sorry but most people go to see blockbuster movies because they are fun and because you don't have to think very hard.

      The top three blockbusters right now are: Ocean's Twelve, Blade: Trinity, and National Treasure. Yeah, that's some real art for you.

      • by Altus (1034) on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @05:19PM (#11096936) Homepage


        no kidding... how can you compare that dreck with something so sublime and beautiful as the complex intertwined plot of DOOM,

        your on mars... and there are DEMONS!

        you cant make that shit up!
        • rebuttal (Score:3, Interesting)

          Allow me to respond with Vampire Raiders: Ninja Queen [imdb.com]!!! OK, your point is taken, some video games are just as bad as some movies. I highly recommend watching the referenced movie, however. It is sort of like a painting done by a mentally retarded elephant. You should see it just to see what a mentally retarded elephant can paint.

    • First of all, no one watches award shows for the awards...

      They watch it for the colorful musical guest appearances, and a glimpse of celebrity breast in tight fitting low cut dresses.
    • Well, pal, the budget for many of the games that are produced these days approach that of a hollywood blockbuster. So why then, I ask, can't you compare the two? Gaming at this stage of the game is like the beginning of the movie industry at the start of the 20 century - it's rough around the edges and it leaves a lot to be desired. But problems aside they DID have awards for movies back then even though there were people just like YOU saying "Duh, this is not art, it's not Mozart, why do we need awards." I
      • Well, pal, the budget for many of the games that are produced these days approach that of a hollywood blockbuster.

        Not even close. Most games cost around $10M, the big ones (HL2) around $30M. Block buster movies cost around $100M. Budget Hollywood movies cost $30M.
    • Neither Symphony Orchestras nor Blockbuster Moovies have *ANY* practical value whatsoever. Same (despite the hand-eye coordination claims of any adolescentbusted for too many hours in front of the nintendo) for video games. How is a symphony orchestra in any way superior to a video game aside from being more expensive?

      The only possible significant difference between a symphony orchestra/movie and video games is orchestras and movies have a longer history, and video games make more money.

      In both cases, yo
    • So what exactly is the difference between movies, symphony orchestras, and video games? All of them are pieces of entertainment where 1 or slightly more people create an idea and hire a lot of talent to bring that idea to life. I was going to say that the main difference between games and movies or music is that a game's success is measured in fun level, but that could be said for movies as well as music these days. And just like movies and music, there are some games that strive for emotional impact.

      of co
    • People go to movies to be entertained, same as with playing video games. The difference between games and movies is that the person sitting in the theater is only allowed the experience someone else crafted, and none other. With games, you are intimately involved with how the story unfolds, how the story paces as a direct result of your actions. Does this deprecate in any way the quality of entertainment? Maybe it does for people who have little to offer themselves within games, but for me, it's better
  • Well... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Blue-Footed Boobie (799209) on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @03:35PM (#11095603)
    All of your points are valid and EXTREME TO THE MAX!!

    Seriously, 'slammin article with some wicked good points.

  • by bob670 (645306) on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @03:35PM (#11095606)
    the analogy to the Oscars, look how many absolute crap movies get nominated and win Oscars every year. The real problem is that we have turned gaming in to such a big business, which explains why so many crap games get released every Tuesday. Maybe there is a paralell between Hollywood and the games industry, but not the one you want to draw...
  • by mordors9 (665662) on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @03:35PM (#11095608)
    These are video games.... you really think that this should be as serious as the Oscars. And by the way, exactly what is wrong with scantily clad females?
    • Re:Are you Serious (Score:5, Insightful)

      by shawn(at)fsu (447153) on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @03:48PM (#11095792) Homepage
      Why are movies any more serious? Did Titanic really change any ones lives? did some one get some great epiphany from watching the LoTR? I'm not saying that games should be elevated to the level of movies, I think that everything else should be lowered to games. Movies, TV shoes, Music. Games. It's all entertainment. I don't think any group on it's own is better than any other. All this prestige that surrounds the Oscars, Grammies Emmys Etc is in my humble opinion dumb.

      I was going to end this with a movie or a song that breaks the rules I have laid out above but I can't think of any. If they do exist they don't get the recognition they deserve.
      • All this prestige that surrounds the Oscars, Grammies Emmys Etc is in my humble opinion dumb.

        Agreed. I've never understood why anyone not directly a part of these shows would even care. I might get a 'really' good hamburger one day. But I'm not going to run to the back of the shop and beg to hear a short speech by the people who made it, nor come in with baited breath days later to see if they've been voted hamburger maker of the year.

        I suspect a lot of it just comes down to our societies emphasis on eve
      • Re:Are you Serious (Score:5, Insightful)

        by stratjakt (596332) on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @04:17PM (#11096156) Journal
        By that token, why are fiction books so serious? Did War and Peace really change anyones life? Did someone get a great epiphany reading To Kill a Mockingbird or A Farewell to Arms?

        You can tell a great story in any form, books, TV, movies, or in a video game. The truly great ones don't need an award.

        Most of the best movies I've seen never won an Oscars, most of the best books I've read never won a pulitzer, most of my favorite TV shows don't win Emmys, and most video games I really like won't get 9 stars at EGM or win any votes. It's irrelevant.

        Being popular doesnt mean being great, and take awards shows for what they are - popularity contest. At some point some group, large or small, votes on the winners using whatever arbitrary method they use. There are no metrics, nothing you can measure to say "this game is bigger/faster/better than that one".

        People like zonk need to be told what to like or dislike and/or constantly reassured that they like/dislike the same things as everyone else.

      • I was going to end this with a movie or a song that breaks the rules I have laid out above but I can't think of any. If they do exist they don't get the recognition they deserve.

        Songs are a little tricky, because they aren't very long. It is tougher to pack a message in there. But as far as movies go...

        Fahrenheit 9/11. Regardless of what your opinion of it is, it got people across the nation talking and thinking about the issues at hand. To paraphrase a comedian "You didn't hear people arguing about

        • by ChaosDiscord (4913) on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @05:08PM (#11096808) Homepage Journal
          I didn't see the awards show, but I would guess that it was pretty representative of the game industry.

          Indeed. It's a little known fact, but most video games are developed by rappers and Victoria's Secret models. Few people truly appreciate Snoop Dog's mad-3d pipeline optimizing skillz.

        • Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling for Columbine really made me think too. Before I went into the theater I thought that only in North Korea could someone shovel a ton of propaganda down your throat in a two hour period... then I watched Bush administration officials getting make up put on, a grainy image of Bush getting ready to speak before the entire nation, and Bush officials shaking hands with ARABS IN HEADRESSES (the headdress means they are 3vil). After watching that shit and the lack of outrage by democr
    • And by the way, exactly what is wrong with scantily clad females?

      It's like Fry said in Futurama. The Internet has made me bored of pronography. At any moment I can turn on my computer and 30" Cinema Display and see all the unclothed, orgasming, cum-splattered women my poor eyes can handle. It's just no big deal anymore, so I'd rather non-pr0n things just stick to the topic at hand rather than toss herpes-laden bitch-whores on top of everything as some sort of icing.

  • Was it just me... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by the unbeliever (201915) <chris+slashdot AT atlgeek DOT com> on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @03:35PM (#11095610) Homepage
    ...or did it seem like every other nominee was an EA game? I swear, EA had at least two games in almost every category, and the ones it was in, it tended to win.

    I found it annoying, like an even worse interpretation of an awards show than MTV's typical fare.
    • "did it seem like every other nominee was an EA game? I swear, EA had at least two games in almost every category, and the ones it was in, it tended to win"

      They must have been working overtime on it...
  • by Mage Inq. (651824) on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @03:36PM (#11095631) Homepage
    I wouldn't give SpikeTV Video Game Awards much creedance. It's like taking Blockbuster Awards too seriously. The audience for SpikeTV is hardly academically minded, so the show caters to its audience. No surprise there. TV is a vast wasteland anyway.
  • by achacha (139424) on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @03:37PM (#11095647) Homepage
    Name two developers that wrote/designed/coded the game you really like... can't think of any, but most people can rattle off B-actor/actress names. Our society is very much about visual appeal and instant gratification, the people behind the schenes are often forgotten and ignored.
    • That analogy is pretty off.

      The developers who code the games are like the production crew of a movie. Those who worked on sound, camera work, and the locale. I doubt the majority of movie-goers don't care about them.

      The closest thing to a movie actor analog in the videogame world is probably the main character of a game. And a lot of gamers can easily rattle off many video game leads and memorable characters.

    • Name two developers that wrote/designed/coded the game you really like...

      Feargus Urquhart, the man with the funny name of (the late and lamented) Black Isle Studio, and Fallout fame.

      Ummm... Mike Stephenson, one of many from the NetHack DevTeam.

      Mind you, those are the ONLY two I can name without searching Google. Of course, one of the things a well done awards show might do is shine a little more light on some of the developers....

    • Name two developers that wrote/designed/coded the game you really like...

      Without going to Google I'll give you three...

      • John Carmack, id software
      • TTimo, linux porter at id software
      • Ryan Gordan, Linux porting god responsible for keep UT2k4 hale and hearty on my native AMD64 linux box :-)

      That wasn't too hard. I suspect that most seasoned Nintendo game players could name the minds behind Mario, etc. etc. Top developers do get exposure in the technical media.

      Some parts of society may be all about visua

    • Off the top of my head: Michel Ancel (Beyond Good And Evil) and Shigeru Miyamoto (Zelda/Mario).
    • Do you ever recognize the people that win Oscars for Best Art Direction? Best Cinematography? Best Set Direction? Best Original Score? Best Documentary?

      Sure, some of us might recognize a name or two, but the vast majority of viewers know few names outside of the Best Act* categories. Does that mean that those relatively unknowns don't get honored in a formal and prestigious ceremony in front of their peers? Of course not, so why should the interactive entertainment industry be any different?
  • Woah, wait. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sagara Sozou (726002) on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @03:38PM (#11095653) Homepage
    Remember, Spike is the first network for men, NOT the first network for nerds. I feel that Spike is trying to make the awards for those average Joes who like to play GTA and such, and don't have the time for in depth analysis of certain points of games. We're only part of the market guys, we shouldn't be selfish and count out the rest of the world. What may be a train wreck for us, may be a good time for others.
    • Re:Woah, wait. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @04:46PM (#11096528) Homepage
      And this is MY biggest complaint. Spike TV is NOT A NETWORK FOR MEN. I'm sorry but real men (not adult males) don't spend all their time looking at scantaly clad women and big trucks and stuff like that. I HATE that image. It is terribly demeaming. You think the images of women on TV are bad? What about men? 9 out of 10 times on sitcoms they are portrayed as sex crazed idiots (and you're starting to see that in dramas too). Not all shows are like that, but they seem to be more and more common. Where are the "Father Knows Best" and "Andy Griffith" shows now?

      Spike TV is not the first network for men. It's the first network for horny adolecents who what to THINK they are adults and dumber adult males. The only reason I've ever watched Spike TV has been MacGyver or a Star Trek. But their origional content, and their ads (first time I ever saw "male enhancement" ads other than SPAM was on Spike) are just demeaning to any guy with a brain.

      I HATE them. Real men wouldn't find that kind of crud entertaining. If you don't agree with me, I guess that means that I have a much higher standard for "man" than you, for better or worse. Sorry for the rant.

      PS: For more on TV making men look terrible, read "The War Against Boys", which talks about that issue and many more. Facinating book.

      • Re:Woah, wait. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Insanity (26758)
        To merely say that sitcoms show men as sex-crazed idiots is understating the severity of the problem. Far worse, sitcom men are ineffectual, incompetent, and willing to endlessly abase themselves in pursuit of sex.

        It may have been funny at some point, but the prevalance of these roles has reshaped the definition of man from a competent and capable individual to a blithering buffoon who, despite his deficiencies, manages to fuck scores of vapid women. He has the intellectual and emotional maturity of a teen
  • by meganthom (259885) on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @03:38PM (#11095657)
    I think the problem here was that you were hoping for an Oscars-type awards show, when the previews clearly indicated it would be more on the level of Grammies/People's Choice. I like the idea of a games award show, too, but realistically, anything the televise (especially on the so-called "television for men" channel) is going to go after the teeny-boppers and dolts. They have money, and it's easy to entertain and please them.
  • Probably the worst awards show ever. What was up with all the celebrities accepting the awards for the developers? Can't there be a decent award show without hollywood getting their dirty hands in it?
    • Samuel L. Jackson (Score:2, Insightful)

      by andman42 (721375)
      Probably the worst awards show ever. What was up with all the celebrities accepting the awards for the developers?

      I only caught a few minutes, but it was terrible. The "highlight" for me was when Samuel L. Jackson accepted the Game of the Year award for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas but kept referring to it as "Grand Theft Auto 2."

      How many other award shows have people accepting honors for things they know nothing about? It was a joke.
  • 2 things. (Score:2, Insightful)

    1. It was on Spike. Not NBC. Not Fox. Not even the game show network. They have no advertisers, so they have to advertise during the show. (Watch the commercials sometime, most of the commercials they show are for their OWN SHOWS).

    2. What's the problem with rap? Video games feature prominently in the mainstream african american community, while in the white community they are still by and large considered "childish" or "geeky". Know your audience my friend, that's what it is all about. You do know that Sno

  • Agreed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by grumpygrodyguy (603716) on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @03:41PM (#11095697)
    games will never be seen as equals to movies or television if they and the culture that surrounds them are represented the way they were last night.

    I agree completely, I saw it on the channel bar and eagerly switched over expecting some real information, reviews, demos etc. I watched for about 5 seconds before I went back to what I was watching before. What I saw was so rediculous that I specifically avoided that channel for the rest of the night so as not to incur any more brain damage.

    I am one 29 year old gamer of many in their 20s 30s and 40s who would request a bit more maturity and relevance.

    Targetting specific demographics just alienates everyone else. Note to the producers: Next time try focusing on the games.
    • I agree completely, I saw it on the channel bar and eagerly switched over expecting some real information, reviews, demos etc. I watched for about 5 seconds before I went back to what I was watching before. What I saw was so rediculous that I specifically avoided that channel for the rest of the night so as not to incur any more brain damage.

      I think they had the same show on last year, or perhaps the year before. I had heard about it, and I thought COOL! A video game awards show. Probably all the de
  • Get over yourself (Score:2, Insightful)

    by stratjakt (596332)
    Noone in the world takes the "spike video game awards" seriously.

    I saw no boxes on the shelves at Best Buy proudly proclaiming "Winner of 18 spike video game awards".

    They have nothing to do with the industry. They're like the Blockbuster awards or the results of the Nickelodeon Kids election.

    You're frankly a moron for wasting the time watching, let alone writing about it.
  • I didn't catch the show, but from the previews leading up to, I could tell that it would be nothing near what it could be. I think the stigmata the gaming industry has will take a long time to shirk. Remember current developers are gen-Xers anyway. One of the reasons the gaming industry is so scrutinized is because of the reasons taughted in the article, the image thats portrayed of the average gamer. I don't really give a flamin fuck what game was most fueled by Mountain Dew. What the hell did they contrib
  • Redundant (Score:3, Funny)

    by allenw (33234) on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @03:44PM (#11095740) Homepage Journal
    Given that this was on SpikeTV, this editorial isn't really necessary, is it? [Does anyone actually watch that channel on a regular basis?]
  • by Spencerian (465343) on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @03:45PM (#11095755) Homepage Journal
    It's not just that one show. Spike TV changed format about a year ago to male-oriented programming from its roots as The Nashville Network (TNN). TNN originally showed some country music-oriented programming, but became more mainstream in its latter years as it began to compete with TBS and other national entertainment channels.

    Apparently someone at Viacom (owners) got a bee in their ass that the Lifetime Oh-My-God-Judith-Light-Is-On-AGAIN Network and the Oxygen (deprivation) women's oriented networks needed some competition. I think, however, that like some women claim about us men, that the Viacom men were caught programming with the wrong head.

    Spike TV is a travesty of programming for men with moronic tastes, and I mean STOOOPID. They could not take the tack that the Fine Living Channel took, or even pair up with known good magazine formats and features such as that found in "Mens Health", "Esquire", "GQ" or even "Playboy" magazines, opting instead to rot our brains with tripe that makes "Maxim" and "Stuff" magazines seem like professional and academic thesis journals.

    WTF were they thinking? The only thing good on Spike are spoadic episodes of "Star Trek-TNG", but you have to dodge commercials of the recanned and redubbed Japanese game shows to watch it.

    Not even Comcast fucked up this big when they acquired TechTV, ripped a few vital organs from it for G4, then killed TTV. At least you can see a little TTV in the Frankensteinian G4.
    • I guess Spike want to target boys who think that they are Men. Kids ages 14-20, where they are mature enough to find girls attractive but not enough to talk to them and they would be in trouble if caught watching porn.
    • I'll agree with everything you're saying EXCEPT:

      Without Spike, I wouldn't have be exposed to Most Extreme Elimination Challenge.

      I have NEVER laughed so hard.

      FWIW, Spike's doing good with the automotive shows they're producing. (Yes, I'm serious.)

    • you have to dodge commercials of the recanned and redubbed Japanese game shows
      I assume you're refering to Most Extreme Elimination Challenge (MXC)... have you *watched* it? It's hysterical! One of the best shows on TV for sure. And unlike other popular programming on SpikeTV (and Fox), the jokes are a little more intelligent. Some of them require some geek knowledge to understand (think Futurama-style jokes).
  • ...without any hope ODB might bum rush the podium and take the Gamey from the Half-life 2 team while drunkenly proclaiming Wu-tang had the engine with the best dynamic lighting and physics.
  • by Telastyn (206146) on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @03:46PM (#11095780)
    The 'editorial' assumes 2 things which are largely incorrect.

    Firstly, that we actually respect the Oscars, and that they themselves aren't completely shallow renderings of that industry. Awards shows aren't respected anymore. They've become popularity contests at best, and an annual soap opera at worst.

    Secondly, that Spike was actually targetting the gamer culture, which they weren't. Remember that the most played game of all time is Windows solitare. Deer hunter, myst, and roller coaster tycoon are among the top selling pc games of all time.
    • Obligatory Simpsons quote:

      (On the subject of the First Annual Montgomery Burns Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence)

      Lisa: "This show is the biggest farce i ever saw"
      Bart: "What about the Emmys?"
      Lisa: "I stand corrected"
  • Been there... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kanotspell (520779)
    I accidently got into last years awards as a seat filler and was not all that impressed. The whole show was just a marketing circle jerk for some game companies and SpikeTV. Every table had a rep from the game company, a big name celeb, and a spiketv celeb. At my table Ray Liotta was extremely adgitated to be there, John Henson was nervously studdying his lines, the rep for GTA was on the phone with his family the whole time, and sadly Jenna Jameson never sat in here assigned seat next to me.
  • I was lucky enough to have worked in a startup record company headed by one of the major players in the Emmy awards. I remember one company meeting where the twenty five year old CEO of the company announced some good news... (I paraphrase)

    ...and three of our bands have made it. We feel pretty good that they were accepted

    even before we started working on the awards promoters

    Wow, the behind the scenes politics were a real revelation about awards shows. Now, more cynical and jaded I watch them as contes

  • Paid Advertisement (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Malicious (567158) on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @03:51PM (#11095827)
    With all of the money floating around to promote videogames, I can't help but figure the fix was in. There's no acadamey, we don't know who voted for these games specifically. I say it was fixed.
    There's not a single Internet reviewer or published magazine who doesn't get their palms greased to give a good review now and then. EA has proven that they're willing to sell out in their games, and now they're buying awards as well.
    Spike's award show was nothing more than a paid advertisement complete with titties to lure the average jock into wanting to buy stuff.. uh.. yeah.. huh...
  • by Obiwan Kenobi (32807) <evan@[ ]terorange.com ['mis' in gap]> on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @03:53PM (#11095856) Homepage
    I love the Katz haters, the young ones, the immature out there ready to beat down this editorial with the typical "They're just games! Stop taking them so seriously!"

    Well, that's what people have said about many professions and artistic ventures. The fact is, many years of work and people's lives are wrapped into these games.

    When you do a $40 million (yes, forty million) dollar game project, you run your dev team in the ground to ship it (see: EA Wife), you struggle with design and features and usability and publishing it on 3 different platforms...well, to sit back and trash it out with Tara Clueless Reid and basically say that all games are just rap videos with an interface...it's disheartening.

    It doesn't encourage growth in the industry toward more unusual and original IP/ideas because one of the best things about the Grammys and Oscars is that it recognizes Dark Horses that usually get a huge boost in record sales or box office because they were recognized.

    I see a classy, well done and thoughtful award show on video games as a good thing. Let's just face the facts: Spike TV isn't going to provide it.

    What's best about this situation is that both of these shows could coexist. You can have your cake (Spike TV) and eat it too (nice, classy show attended by actual important game designers and developers).

    I think it would be amazing to have a true video game award show with a host to provide funny banter but at the same time shuttup and let John Carmack accept his Landmark Award (or whatever it would be called) for his achievement in the art of programming and making game technology.

    We need this type of recognition so that big games can get the recognition they deserve and little games can get their due limelight.

    There is nothing wrong with doing a classless show. But there is also something to be said for having a show full of it, complete with respect, something that the Spike TV show simply refused to provide.
  • by bludstone (103539) on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @03:54PM (#11095862)
    Awards shows are worthless.

    All of them.

    Always have been, always will be.

    Expecting more from a Televised awards ceremony is fairly foolish. You would be better off spending your time actually playing the games.. or, heck, even spouting worthless drivel in a thread _ABOUT_ awards shows on tv.. on slashdot. ...what?
  • Seriously, this dialog is over the top bad. From the spike TV awards main page.

    "Well I hate to say it - but the 2004 VGAs are over. But man what a gnarly show. Mötley Crüe is back together. Finally. And all is right with the world once again. How sweet of a band do you have to be to have an ümlaüt in your name and still kick ass? Alright friends, I'm off to the afterparty. I may not remember most of what happens so be cool about it if I do something stupid."

    Love, Mat Hoffman

  • And swore never to watch that bile again. No Japanese games were commenced other than Final Fantasy as best RPG of the year. It was terrible. And almost every game that won was on the XBOX. Sick.
  • ... The fact that they had a damn countdown timer for most of the day.. At least they did during Star Trek. A really freaking annoying red and blue opaque shield does not make for good Trek watching.
  • There actually is a more 'Oscar-like' videogame awards show: The Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences [interactive.org] has an awards show every year, although to my knowledge, it's never been televised. This is the type of awards show that actually does the 'art form' of gaming justice. Also, each year they induct people into the "Hall of Fame". Previous inductees include Miyamoto, Will Wright, John Carmack, etc. (and if you want to see acceptance speeches, they have some of them online [interactive.org])
  • ...is to:

    1: Not watch.

    2: Ensure that pissed-off gamers put in their say with SpikeTV.

    3: Point out how the negative aspects are doing more damage than good for the industry on the whole.

    4: Offer a feasible solution that might get gamers promoting it themselves.

    Hopefully something respectable that really represents the industry will take hold. One can wish.
  • It's not well known but there IS an Academy Awards for video games, similiar to the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences - the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences at http://www.interactive.org/ [interactive.org].

    I believe it is run by the same organization as the Motion Picture Academy. Membership is only open to full-time employees of the industry with a minimum of 2 years on development teams, who have been credited on a commercially published title. Like the Academy Awards, it is the talent of the industry
  • My favorite part of the awards was when they awarded Game Of The Year Grand Theft Auto 2. That's right, GTA2, an 8 year old PS1 game.

    "What? Games existed before the PS2?"


    For some reason they had Samuel L. Jackson accepting the award, rather than someone who actually worked on the game. A VOICE ACTOR accepted the award for the game. That would be analogous to awarding an oscar to the assitant best boy of a movie.
  • by enjo13 (444114) on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @04:17PM (#11096151) Homepage
    What sells a video games award show?

    Answer: Absolutely nothing. The Oscars are carried by the star power of the people receiving those awards. It's not about the Movies themseleves, but the people in them.

    Games, on the other hand, are faceless beasts. Giving an award to an animator is nice, but no one really CARES about that particular animator. Outside of the very highest reaches of video game fandom.. it simply means nothing.

    This is why they have to trick up the show so much.. They where banking that people would be drawn to the video game piece, but realized no one would stick around to see some bearded programmer get an award for best physics..

    Video games need an awards show.. just not on TV.

  • ...with the show being aired on a station called "Spike TV"?

    I'd never waste one minute of my life on that worthless channel which for the most part, airs nothing worthwhile and a good pop culture symbol to the decay of western society.
  • X-Play! (Score:3, Funny)

    by HarveyBirdman (627248) on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @04:19PM (#11096183) Journal
    Yeah. Give me a ketchup-splattered, katana-weilding Morgan Webb in a "Kill Bill" satire over some pointless parade of dumbass whores any day of the week, Pedro. Listening to Howard Stern give simple IQ tests to these stripper types over the years has actually turned me off to women like that. Seriously, some of them can't answer the question, "Who is the President right now."

    And Adam Sessler may get goofy, but it's a self-referential type of goofiness that's funny. The best part of X-Play is that they spend the whole review showing extensive and varied game footage. No one else does that.

  • Relevant question. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Vvornth (828734) on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @04:38PM (#11096431) Homepage
    Must we kill EVERY Rapper in this world in order to have a sane awards show of any kind AGAIN??
  • by OoSync (444928) <wellsedNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @04:42PM (#11096471)
    I caught exactly 30 seconds of this "Awards Show" before changing the channel. The only thing I saw was the game "Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater" being nominated for "Game of the Year". Is it just me, or has that game only been released for about two weeks. Also, the year's not yet over.

    So, if they'll nominate brand new titles (i.e., one's that haven't been evaluated over time to see if they hold that special something) for "Game of the Year" and they'll do this before the end of the year, it leaves one conclusion.

    The "Awards Show" was nothing more than a hackneyed marketing shceme to showcase this season's holiday lineup. Nothing more, nothing less.
  • No surprise (Score:3, Interesting)

    by techstar25 (556988) <techstar25 AT cfl DOT rr DOT com> on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @05:12PM (#11096852) Homepage Journal
    It doesn't surprise me that the gaming awards are immediately as tired and ridculous as MTV's music video awards have become. There was a time when music videos were awarded for the art form that they can be. Gone are the days when a Neil Young music video can win video of the year, without ever once being broadcast on MTV! MTV banned the video yet it remarkable won best video that year. That was back when the award for the best video went to the "best video" instead of the "most requested on TRL" video. These types of awards shows are not to be taken seriously.
  • Award shows (Score:5, Insightful)

    by John Carmack (101025) on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @07:31PM (#11098250)
    I did the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences awards show a few years ago -- I was inducted into the hall of fame one year, then the next year I inducted Will Wright.

    I hated it, but it is a big industry, and there is a broad range of people involved. Honestly, I'm almost certainly in the minority. One developer that I was talking to backstage was very bullish about how important it was to legitimize the industry with events like this, but I just don't have any empathy for what I perceive as "Hollywood envy".

    Some award show issues are just a result of stupidity -- I felt so bad watching Hironobu Sakaguchi of Squaresoft, a non-native english speaker, being forced to read a long speech written by some PR type about me. I threw out what they gave me to say about Will, and wrote something more to the point myself.

    I do feel that there is a rather fundamental mismatch with big awards shows for game development, because game development isn't a performing art. You expect actors and musicians to show well, because that is what they do. Why aren't awards for authors the same glamorous events that the movie / TV / music ones are? Game developers are much closer to authors than actors.

    John Carmack

    • Re:Award shows (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Oxygen99 (634999)
      Actually, I don't know what it's like in the States, but here in the UK, authors and artists do have glitzy award shows that are televised live. Witness the Booker Prize, the Orange Prize or the Turner Prize. Maybe this just reflects differing intellectual standards or interests, but it's certainly nothing strange to us.

      Personally, I feel as soon as real writers realise the power of the medium, computer games will become a respected art form in themselves distinct from more traditional modes of expression.

He keeps differentiating, flying off on a tangent.

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