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The 2011 Spike Video Game Awards: A Retro Diary

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The Spike Video Game Awards were this past Saturday, which in internet time is an eternity. There’s no better proof of this than the seemingly dozens of reactionary editorials posted all over the web, most of them blasting the show. All of them are justified, of course — the show was a train wreck. That’s not to say that it wasn’t without its bright spots. There were some genuinely great trailers, some news was broken, and some legends got their due.

I watched the VGAs live with many others, and live-tweeted the event on Academic Gaming’s Twitter account. I got more and more surly as the show went on and I drank more beer, so I figured I’d give it another shot by rewatching the “awards” on my DVR with not a drop of alcohol within 200 feet of me.

Look, we can each pretend that we have better ideas for a video game awards show, but deep down we all know that’s not true. So rather than overthinking a rambling editorial, I’ll just be typing up my reactions as I remember them with a running diary. Yes, a diary. Like teenage girls keep. And astronauts.

God help us all.

minus 30m elapsed — Apparently many of the awards were given out during an online-only preshow, which is good because you don’t want them in the way of the Black Keys performance later.

00m — A warning tells us that viewer discretion is advised because of all the M-rated promo stuff. Sex and gore are far from the biggest threat to public decency contained within the next two hours, I’m sure.

01m — In an awkward montage, Zachary Levi pretends to be in some of the year’s most popular games because apparently we were enjoying them too much. I already hate that there isn’t any beer nearby.

04m — The ladybot voiceover announces that we’re watching the 2011 Video Game Awards, then rattles off all of the upcoming trailers, reveals, and celebrity appearances that viewers have to look forward to. I have no idea what Brooklyn Decker has to do with video games, but here she is.

07m — Levi takes a moment to thank some of the developers and publishers that are represented at the VGAs. He says that “tonight, you’re the real superstars.” Aw, that’s nice!

“But only tonight, so don’t get cocky.” Oh.

09m — Levi says that if acceptance speeches run too long, winners will be teabagged. An example is made of him as Jason Biggs looks on. Less than ten minutes in and I already have zero idea what’s happening.

12m — will.i.am nearly falls down the stairs on his way to present an award a trailer while Hulk Hogan looks on. It’s like a fever dream, only there’s a voice telling me to buy will.i.am’s terrible music.

I’m not sure why Sony picked him of all people to present the trailer for The Last of Us, but — holy hell, is that a Naughty Dog logo?! With ND behind the helm, it looks like we’re finally getting the thoughtful zombie survival game we thought we were getting when that first Dead Island trailer hit. Only these zombies have mushroom heads. I also appreciate the lack of the word “DEAD” from the title.

This makes up for opening the show with, let’s face it, a really pretty commercial rather than an award.

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