How to Fix the VGAs
Last night many gamers partook in the annual tradition of hate-watching Spike TV’s Video Game Awards (VGAs) because… well… we’re not really sure but we did. We were aided twitter snark from our friends and industry writers (most of us also dished out a fair bit of snark) and we woke up the next morning to the angry responses by said industry writers. These rants are useful, giving us an assessment of what makes watching the VGAs akin to gouging one’s eyes out. However, being the writer and video game fan I am, I have decided to take a different, more constructive approach to the typical day-after collective hate-orgy that follows the VGAs. I’m going to give some advice to the VGAs and whoever runs them so that watching the VGAs can become less similar to watching a train plow through a school bus.
Step 1. GET OFF OF SPIKE TV
The number one problem with the VGAs, the problem that if fixed would make alleviating the other cancers affecting the VGAs easier, is that they are aired on Spike TV. Spike’s target audience is men between the age of 18 and 49 whose testosterone levels (and immaturity) are ten times that of the average person. This is evidenced by the unofficial holy trifecta of Spike TV fetish items (hot women, beer, and wrestling). By aiming at this audience, instead of the audience which are most likely to… um, I don’t know PLAY VIDEO GAMES, Spike just makes everybody who watches the show feel alienated and bored. This has been proven by years of godawful shows and production values. Spike has shown that they are terrible hosts for the VGAs. They need to go to a network which understands the average person that plays video games and can create an award show with class. Getting on the big 4 networks might be a few years away, but a Comedy Central or an IFC are not out of the question. Just anywhere but Spike.
Step 2. Get Better Writers
Among the numerous problems that gut the VGAs of any enjoyment is one very basic problem. The show suffers from bad writing. Most of the jokes come from gamer stereotypes and outdated internet memes which are unfunny and insult the intelligence of the target audience. I don’t blame Zachary Levi for last night’s terrible show, nobody could’ve made those crappy jokes funny. It feels like the jokes were written by people who have never played video games because the people who wrote the show probably never played video games. So VGAs, please hire some better writers, it be even better if they actually played video games.
Step 3. An Award show ought to have some Awards.
Out of the two hours that the VGAs aired last night, less than six minutes were dedicated to presenting award. Only 3 were presented in person and most were through montage. Some of the recipients of the awards didn’t even know that they won until after the show. The focus of the VGAs has always been on the world premiere trailers, but if you want people to enjoy an award show, you might want to focus just a little bit more on the awards. Make all the awards be presented and accepted by the developer. If not, why don’t you just change the name to the Video Game Trailer Dumping Show? More appropriate.
Step 4. Be Consistent.
A rant against online multiplayer vitriol followed by a video game developer getting teabagged. A beautiful tribute to Legend of Zelda followed by Felicia Day eating cupcakes off of a conveyer belt. The loving playfulness of Shigeru Miyamoto followed by Charlie Sheen. These wildly inconsistent shifts in tone and content simply leave the viewer dumbfounded and angry. It’s hard to take the VGAs seriously when they can’t figure out what they really are. Are you a serious award show or a goofball MTV movie awards type show? Combining the two just creates a horrible train wreck nobody wants to watch.
Step 5. Game Developers> D-List Celebrities
I’m tired of seeing Will.I.Am and Brooklyn Decker more than Ken Levine on stage. I’m not watching because I’m interested in them. I’m watching because I want to see high quality video games honored along with the people who make them. Not Kevin Jonas running into a wall and pretending he’s Spider-Man. Only in Charlie Sheen’s cocaine-induced nightmares should he be on stage longer than Shigeru Miyamoto.
So there you have it, a simple five-step plan to ensure that I (and many other people) will watch the VGA’s for something other than the morbid curiosity that makes us slow down when we see a car wreck on the side of the highway.
About the Author - Matthew Byrd
Matthew is a senior at Jones College Prep. He regularly writes about Movies, Politics, Sports, and Video Games at his blog byrdsplace.tumblr.com and records podcasts for libraryofgames.org and does a film podcast called "The Final Cut Film Podcast" with fellow LoGer Taylor Bayless.