Why I Am Patient With The VGAs

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Dennis Scimeca:
Why I Am Patient With The VGAs

Ease up on the VGAs, people.

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Agreed.

People go to SpikeTV for a small number of things. Nuance, class, or respectable journalism are not among them. It was started to cater to a particular audience in a particular way, and they've made quite a bit of money doing so. They're not going to bite the hand that feeds them.

At the same time, we can expect that people who are looking at respectable outlets to provide information on forming a well-constructed opinion of the video game industry (and culture) are probably not looking for it on SpikeTV. When I want a good steak, I don't go to Burger King. At the same time, if Burger King started serving steak, I would be understandably skeptical of its quality.

But above all these concerns is the larger issue: There is no "gaming culture." That is to say, there is no single set of culture norms that define it. Gaming is a medium in the same way a hammer is a tool -- it can be used many different ways, none of which are (necessarily) more valid than the others.

Apply this logic to film, and let's assume there's a "movie culture." Do we really mean to group feature films, documentaries, kids' cartoons, and porn into one broad heading, and assume that all such headings are united simply by virtue of the medium they use? Even the Oscars divide things up quite a bit (and don't show all of the awards on TV). Interestingly, they also completely disregard certain uses of the film medium (still no "Best Screenplay in a Pornographic Film" caption, for instance).

And arguing against the Spike VGAs because it doesn't represent the "industry" or the "culture" in the right way would be like the folks behind the Academy Awards protesting the existence of an awards show specifically for porn. It may not represent out preferred view of the gaming industry, but it represents the views and values of a pretty large section.

"Gamer" is no longer a meaningful and unifying label any more than say, "vertebrates." You can't expect one show to be all things to all people.

You touch briefly on a point I'd like to see debated: Given the criticisms of the VGAs (which, as you say, may or may not be justified), how many of us would rather see these VGAs than none at all? That, I think, gets to the heart of how essential an awards show really is for the medium (and I don't mean just videogames, but any sort of awards show).

Another critique worth looking at, I think, is the counter-argument that the VGAs themselves don't change anyone's opinion. Rather, those who've already embraced the ridiculous stereotype will simply look at the VGAs as justification of their point. I don't think they will change anyone's mind. And yes, there are many people who will gleefully embrace even the most ridiculous stereotypes. We're no strangers on this site to the sort of panic-stricken verbal diarrhoea that tabloids like the Daily Mail push out to anyone willing to read it. And given the seeming plethora of people willing to believe anything they hear in "the media", whatever their "media" of choice are, would suggest that there could well be an effect.

Personally? I think there are so many awards shows, in general, for so many different forms of entertainment, that they've largely ceased to be relevant. I suspect that much of the public only pays attention when something "shocking" or "interesting" happens. Given that, I would suspect that the possibility of said "shocking" event is especially high for anything broadcast on Spike, let alone the VGAs, so I would suspect that they are, at best, an unnecessary distraction.

I agree that the people bashing the VGAs should do more to promote the much better awards that are out there, but to everything else...no. The VGAs aren't bad because they're shitty ambassadors for our hobby (which they are), they're bad by the objective measure of any program or awards. They're just bad. They're shit television and they're shit as awards. If I had no interest in gaming one way or the other, my opinion of them would be just as low as my opinion of them as a gamer. They're pathetic, and pretending otherwise just denigrates all the better things associated with them.

If the choice is the VGAs or nothing, nothing would be preferable. If we ever get decent, televised awards, it won't be because the VGAs were working as some kind of proof of concept. It'll be set up on its own merits...or more likely, come about because of the exact same criticism and backlash you're saying we should stop. Nothing ever improved because people eased up and laid off. Settling for the best we've got when the best we've got is shit is completely wrong and it shows no demand for something better.

Unless Spike TV is engaged in some kind of Ozymandias-style plan to force people to create something better in response, they're not going to do any good and they don't deserve to be let off easy. Criticism is what leads to improvement, not giving shit a free pass.

I think your missing the point of a lot of the criticism.

The thing about the SPIKE VGA show is that it creates and reinforces what gamers are. The problem with the stereotype presented here is it's an accurate representation of the audience that plays video games already due to the mainstreaming of the medium. You don't see anyone's opinions changing based on the VGA because this is what they already thought to begin with.

The thing is that video games need to work on trying to improve it's audience and increase their capabilities, making games something people strive to improve themselves in order to play... to uplift the audience so to speak. The VGAs pretty much say "this is what games are" and then wallows gleefully in that cultural stye.

The problem is that serious games are substantial in number, but are outnumbered within their own medium. The thing that annoys us is that while this awards show is going on we know there are probably a bunch of Bros out their fist-pumping in joy over seeing their mentality and take on gaming reinforced, and encouraging more of the behavior.

When you watch a TV show and see some young man video gaming for example, like a drug dealer, or someone's kid, or whatever, what kind of game is usually on the TV screen? If you have a video game being played in the backround who is playing it? You see shooters, and typically "bros" for the most part respectively. You might occasionally see some bit with a nerd mention playing a real video game or an MMO, but rarely anything that gives a positive reinforcement of what gaming could be, and often badly presented. The issue here is that the VGAs reinforce an existing perception that needs to be overcome.

When it comes to how game developers are treated, again that says a lot about the audience. See, your typical gamer doesn't really give a crap about how the games are made, by who, or what they think. They just want to watch digital versions of their favorite athletes throw balls around, or blow crap up with guns or whatever. They are there to watch the games almost exclusively and see reinforcement of the kind of thing they want. There is little or no appreciation for the people BEHIND the games, in fact if they could do the awards show without needing to have people show up to collect the awards and fill out some space they probably wouldn't be there to begin with... and that's part of the problem with the audience. Movies at least uplifted the audience to the point where we recognize actors, directors, and creators and probably know something about each of them and what goes into their various roles. As such, who is going to win "Best Director" is as big a deal for most people watching the Oscars, as say Best Picture.

To be honest, I'd rather see no awards show at all than the VGA.

I think the biggest problem is that we don't really have an "Academy" or the equivilent to recognize the achievements and give awards. As a result we seem mostly the industry patting itself on the back as a promotional vehicle, or a focus on the lowest-common-denominator with the products which again comes down to money and promotional value.

In principle "The Academy" (as far as it goes) would probably be handing out awards whether it got on TV or not nowadays, and with them comes a lot of professional credit within the acting community. It works on TV and supports itself with advertising because enough people know enough about the medium and are invested enough in it to be interested and care about the stars and celebrties involved... especially seeing as this is the work that made them stars and celebrities to begin with.

Right now video gaming basically needs a central critical organization with little or no direct financial involvement with the product (heh, even The Oscars seem to have problems with that) to evaluate and rate the product and people in the industry without any real concern for what it might do to careers (again heh). SPIKE's VGAs are not that, it's a promotional/money making platform that doesn't even disguise what it is with no respect for gaming as a medium, and only how much money it makes and how many units it moves.

While I don't always agree with them, at least on principle I think The Academy is right in how it tends look at serious films in most cases, while brushing the soulless popcorn fodder to the wayside. Things like "Modern Warfare 3" which are the video gaming equivilent of "The Expendables" might make a lot of money, but don't deserve any kind of critical recognition for being great, or even good, games even if they are entertaining to a lot of people. The VGA's however realizes that it can benefit from catering to all the FPS bros in screaming the praises of a game like that (I don't know how well it actually fared, I'm talking about a trend more than anything).

Having no show is better than the VGA's. It's not even a tough choice to make.

Well, if givin the choice between the Spike VGAs and nothing, Ill take nothing everytime. I know Spike does with the VGAs because they have to make money off of it, thus why I would perfer they didnt do the VGAs at all.

Never heard of the VGAs outside of the video game community complaining about them, so... do a lot of people watch these? Does anyone outside of the video game community care? And consider it's Spike TV, so how many, and what demographics, are watching that anyway? [Not that I watch Spike TV either, I'm not American.]

Basically, while they may be terrible... do they have any public impact?

I like this article. You make some very good points although I think that some of your criticisms may be misguided.

For one, this year I think the Felicia Day segments may have been stereotypical (and funny... let's face it, real life Fruit Ninja with a sword is awesome) but I think that much of the humour was done as satirical and making fun of the stereotypes. Whether or not these reinforce others misconceptions about it are another matter altogether.

Personally I love the VGAs. Yes, I think that their selections may be absolutely wrong in many cases and I have no idea how Madden 04 beat KOTOR and Wind Waker in 2003, but I believe this is a necessary step in the right direction. Spike TV should be applauded for going through with this undertaking.

It's story time boys and girls...
I hope most of you know what the UFC is. For those that do, I saw an interview with Dana White (the president of the UFC) and he said that they had almost shut down when they decided to do a reality show on Spike TV called The Ultimate Fighter. That single-handedly introduced thousands of people to mixed martial arts and saved the UFC.

While we may not think much of Spike TV, we have to give them credit for their role in the grand scheme of things.

Therumancer:

I think the biggest problem is that we don't really have an "Academy" or the equivilent to recognize the achievements and give awards.

While I agree with everything you said, the sad state of affairs would be that this medium even lacks a decent amount of critics.
We've got a lot of reviewers who tend to write the shopping guides for us, but when was the last time you saw someone dissect the gameplay systems, artistry or sound design and comment on it in a more meaningful way than "meh." or "compelling!".
There is a reason why media outlets are exactly that and called "enthusiast press" for a reason. It is very hard to find a critic amongst all the reviewers.
An academy would have to consist of critics for all different aspects of video games.
The problem might even run deeper with the issue of evaluating an "achievement" or giving value to certain properties of a game. Reviewers are pretty much off the hook and are always free to say "I did/didn't like it and a review is an opinion", where a critic will always be able to deconstruct the relevant aspects and explain in great detail why something is not working.
For that to happen, it would require some standards in understanding the integral parts of a game.

If you look across all different publications, one has to notice that there is not even a general consensus on the genres that games fall under, not even mentioning a truly common vocabulary.

Those things are still shaping up and events like GDC are a pretty good place to look for such agreements upon standards. I'll have to agree with Mr. Scimeca that it will take time, but it might be a good idea to ignore and forget the VGA's as they are now until some of those prerequisites are met.

The guys at GWJ suggested in their podcast that PennyArcade might be able to organize something like an honest award show for developers and games and I have to agree with them.
Not because they belong to the "webcomic creator pair", but because they have shown the ability to handle gamers and the industry with respect and from the perspective of a gamer, while also being able to step into the background when necessary.

But coming back to the article, I just want to add that it is perfectly fine to say "I do not like this" without offering a detailed description to the problem. This counts even double for "not offering a solution/alternative".
It is ridiculous to expect such knowledge and to require it in order to complain about something. I mean, that is like not being allowed to complain about the taste of a certain food if you are not able to explain the exact molecular changes required to make it better.
In fact, this is not even our job as an audience. It is their job to come up with a decent offering and we get to say if we like it or not - it's that simple.

While you individually have good points about the commentary, your premise is wrong. One need not provide an alternative. Sometimes things are just bad and should not be. For instance, I will argue that rape is wrong. I do not need to provide an alternative to rape to argue this. The alternative is clear: DO NOT RAPE. That's an extreme example but sometimes it's fine to realize that something is just bad and shouldn't be. Whether that's true of the VGAs or not is another question, but not all criticism requires one provide an alternative. Case-in-point: Hans shooting first. It just shouldn't be.

This article seems rather purposefully wrong in some aspects(the audience does nto have to give reasons to criticism. if the community does not like it, they have the job to change it to our liking, or not if they dont care about us, and teabagging in front of an audience, as well as reprsenting Felicia Day as just another whore is and always will be unnacceptable, by any human standards). This segment and your previous seem very...Kotaku-ish for some reason.

This is only somewhat tangentially related, but what the hell happened with Felicia Day? I keep hearing booth babe stuff but when I tried to google it, I didn't find anything related to happening at the VGAs. I have no idea what's going on. Can someone tell me what happened?

Eri:
This is only somewhat tangentially related, but what the hell happened with Felicia Day? I keep hearing booth babe stuff but when I tried to google it, I didn't find anything related to happening at the VGAs. I have no idea what's going on. Can someone tell me what happened?

She had to do a couple of real-life games that were partially adapted from video games (i.e. Fruit Ninja with a real katana). It's nothing horrible per se, but it didn't really fit into the context of an award show, even if they did it to raise money for Child's Play.
The whole thing just was awkward to watch and felt a bit unnecessary.
Stuff like that would have worked on Club Disney maybe, but not at a show that is supposed to award people for the work that they have poured into their craft over the last 2-3 years.
On the contrary, she had one of the most honest sounding and best introductions when it came to handing out the award to Blizzard (I think it was Blizzard and the "Gaming God" award - oh my ... "Gaming God" award...)

Dennis Scimeca:

Do you, dear reader, feel like the average person at your workplace watched the VGAs and, knowing that you play video games, is now looking at you with less respect or increased scorn as a result of having watched them? No? Me either. That's why I won't lose my mind over some perception that the VGAs might create for whoever the hell watched them.

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First:

Do I think the average person watches the VGAs? Nope. None what so ever.

Do I think that people who don't play video games have seen the VGAs as they flip to other channels? Definitely.

Second:

What about the controversy surrounding the stunts EA pulled for marketing their games(Sin to win and Your mom will hate this game)? Does the average person look down on gamers because of the actions of a single company?

HELL YES!

The same goes for the VGAs. A person doesn't have to actively watch something like this to develop a point of view on the subject. A person only has to hear about the stupid and immature things they do on the show to develop a perspective about video games in general.

Yes, award shows like Spike TV's and the thankfully extinct GPhoria do harm to the public appearance of "gamers", now more than ever. While I agree that the more extreme examples of any field WILL be ignored by the majority because they are blatantly ridiculous you have to keep in mind that that also relys on there being a counter-example. Given that there is no tastefully organized and televised video game award show Spike TV is all the public has.

Well not only would I rather have no awards show than the VGAs, but I've also seen firsthand some of the utter crap that gamers get shackled with because of the VGAs. Thanks to this "awards show" many people have considered me a "man-child", been unable to take me seriously simply because I'm a gamer, and have actually shot me down for potential opportunities because "gamers can't handle responsibility". I've even had employers say that they won't hire me because, and I quote, "I've seen what people who play video games are like from that Spike TV awards thingy. Your kind are definitely not the image we want to have here." This is all simply because I play games and they've seen the VGAs, nothing more. They do nothing but reinforce the negative stigma so many people have about video games, and you don't need to watch the VGAs to have them color your opinion on games.

The VGAs do more harm than good, and I would rather our medium be banished into obscurity again than have to put up with the image and stereotypes that utter drivel paints us as. If we had another awards show for the VGAs to be a counter to then things would be different, but with only an awards show of that caliber being available to the general public it's a miracle that anyone takes video games seriously as a medium.

Exactly. Patience is the key. The VGA's is just one step in gamings natural progression.

What happened during the awards was ridiculous and demeaning. As much as I support the idea of having a video game award show, they need, NEED, to be more sophisticated than the VGAs. They also need to not be on Spike TV. I mean, on-stage teabagging is freaking stupid and immature. Is that what people think of gamers? Is that what they see? A person could only use the Spike TV VGAs as evidence to support claims of gamer culture being immature and childish.

I feel like I'm in a major minority of the people liking this article. That or maybe the facebook crowd is being ignorant...again...as always. I found it to be a very good read!

Thought I'd post my two cents on this issue, as reading through the article I couldn't help but think it was deliberately contrarian.

1) Firstly, your comment about alternatives. Like some have said, no, it's not necessarily the job of some, whilst criticising how a specific product is delivered, to show another product and how they do it better. Thats the entire purpose of the criticism - if you were to say "the spike VGAs spent too much time simply concentrating on getting money of various publishers to show their trailers exclusively a matter of hours before theycould be found on the web, rather then actually spending the time to award the work of many by honouring the devs/actors/etc in a true awards style" you ARE inherently offering an alternative/solution - that of having the show honour the people in the undustry more. And that's exactly what most criticism I have seen does (not to mention the vast majority I have seen DO mention the GDC games, DICE, etc as examples of how an awards show can work).

2) The perception of the "gaming culture" WILL be influenced by a show such as this. Its just a fact, just like those tuning in to watch the Academy Awards do have their perceptions over films changed. Ttake for example the year when Avatar (a film I find partcularly mediocre, but thats a topic for another time) lost out to the great (indie) film The Hurt Locker) - during the build up to the awards, and after the awards themselves, the reven ue the Hurt Locker got was WAY more than their revenue just from film being seen when itcame out. Why? Because there is the perception from the public that the only films they will ejoy is the big budget Hollywood popcorn flicks, be it with poorly written "romance ("Sex and the City"), mediocre comedy (anything with Adam Sandler/Eddie Murphy/Judd Apatow etc) or massive explosions (Michael Bay, most other Summer Blockbusters). This is because thats where all the big PR and marketing money goes, into getting mainstream media to show the ads, to hype them up, and people follow like sheep. yet every year, when the Oscars comes around, you get a more refined, intelligent discussion of films in general, and in specifically the films nominated, and it DOES drive the general public to go outside their usual media-driven "taste" and go out and watch these films they wouldn't have watched, and, shock horror, usually they like them. To pretend that gaming is somehow different, that a similiar movement towards the games intelligently discussed, is unfortunately just the attitude that will keep games from achieving a more mainstream "acceptance".

3) Which leads on to my 3rd point - that of cost, and why Spike "have" to do the style of show they do in order to make ends meet. Even if an awards show is as expensive as you seem to think it is to produce for a national audience, we're NOT talking about a small, niche interest anymore. Not when games like MW3 SHATTER "entertainment launches" (as inMW3 has made more money than any film, ever - FACT) - and even so-called "less mainstream/bro" games like Skyrim make more than a THIRD OF A BILLION DOLLARS!!! The money is clearly there, when you have 10 million people on the FIRST DAY something is out queueing to purchase it, you should have zero problems finding enough money, from sponsors and advertisers, to produce an 1-2 hour long telecast. Suggesting that people will only watch an Video Game Awarts show to see C-list celebraties acting stupidly/talking with no knowledge about an issue (see Hulk Hogan, Charlie Sheen, etc), or people who ,ake games get treated poorly. is just fallacious. Unless you really are being *that* insulting about the general public, and the SpikeTV audience. When you have devices like the Wii, DS, PS3 and XBox, between them with global sales (in units) of upwards of 200 MILLION, even if a fraction of these consider themselves as gamers, you know there *is* interest of a show talking about artistic achievement on them.

4) As some on here have said, the Spike VGAs are *not* a step in the right direction towards the mainstream more accepting of gaming - in fact, it couldn't be further from the truth. All "the mainstream" have to do is to turn it out, see some guy who worked for months, nay years, on bring his artistic vision to a wider audience, get tea bagged by some idiots, or just treated like members of a niche hobby who should be outcasts, and the appeal of games to the mainstream *instantly* takes a hit. It does nothing but reinforce negative stereotypes (ones which we as a community tend to speak out against when the likes of the Daily Mail, Fox News, etc come out with them - unless you are saying we shouldn't do that either). Someone who doesn't see the appeakl of games will switch over, see this, and think "oh, I was right to not take this seriously, and maybe look into it. I won't enjoy this form of entertainment, Fox News/Daily Mail were right, all gamers are [insert stereotype here]". Having nothing on Spike TV would be better. Another network WILL notice the gap in the market (which there currently isn't, thanks to the VGAs), and WILL realise there is money to be made by having an awards show - and honestly, save maybe Fox, there really isn't a network out there who could do a WORSE job than Spike.

5) As some have said, maybe gaming is hampered by the fact that there isn't an industry wide academy, like there is in Film, which the mainstream media as a whole can get behind. Or at least, not in America. Over here in the UK, BAFTA (the British equivalent of the Academy in the States, who do an annual Film and TV awards show, again much like the Oscars, and ARE taking as seriously as the Academy, doing much good for film) realised a few years ago that gaming was an industry that they felt should be represented, and set up a subsidiary of themselves specifically for the promotion of, and judging of games. The result? The BAFTAs do each year award a series of awards, in much the same way as they do for film, and the mainstream press *do* cover these in much the same way as they cover the Oscards/BAFTAs ifor films. They don't feel like they need to play up the stereotypes, or spend more time advertising for companies their newest products, but they cover the awards, they note what excellence has meant to people. And as a result gaming gains more mainstream acceptance. What the VGAs do is both exactly the opposite of this, they discourage a body, whether it be the Academy, or not, to set up such a critical cross-industry panel, and they do set gaming acceptance as a result. Are what the Gaming BAFTAs do/arte perfect? No. but nor are the Oscars (especially with the move to 10 film shortlist for Best Picture, which has simply resulted in more mainstream, lowest common denominator films, like Avatar, being recognised in the nominees). But its a step in the right direction.

6) Looking at the content of the show - the absence of the awards themselves, save 1/2; the roping of celebs that clearly look disinterested; the pandering to the worstof stereotypes; the fact thaT 80% of the coverage is ADVERTS for gaming companies newest and biggest products, acting as hype generators - is this really what we want the public to think of when they think of games, and how the gaming industry *treats* the products they put out and their customers? Because thats what the VGAs do, and thats what the average Joe *will* think, when seeing such a charade. We instead *should* be criticising the awards for the sham they are, and showing that gaming should be taken more seriously, more artistically. We had a stpe forward with the Supreme Court's agreement with their take on whether Games are works of art, and as such artistic freedom given to (usually considered) more serious artforms should also be given to games. Let's embrace this, not shackle ourselves with the attitude of "gaming isn't seen by the mainstream to be artistically interesting enough to promote as a serious artform, and having it portrayed on tv as infantile and crass is therefore better then no coverage, which we would get if these stopped happening".

Thats it, rant over, sorry for the length.

For.I.Am.Mad:
Exactly. Patience is the key. The VGA's is just one step in gamings natural progression.

While the VGA's got a huge amount of coverage, the Game Developer's Choice Awards did a better job of being entertaining while actually giving some halfway decent credit to game developers. The VGA's are not the only option, nor are they a necessary evil we have to face on the road to seeing our medium get more recognition. They're simply an offshoot which is steeped in pop culture's dregs in the hopes of getting more viewers and ad revenue.

We already have our alternatives, but Spike TV's VGA's get the recognition they deserve. The issue here (at least as far as the games journalists you allude to are concerned) isn't about how to offer up something new - it's about how we need to rid ourselves of the VGA's and get the same kind of money and attention behind our other, less horrible awards shows.

I really have to disagree with this article. Gaming journlists are grasping at "low-hanging fruit"? I'm sorry, Mr. Scimeca, but seeing developers, award-winning games and talented voice actors get shunted aside in the name of godawful stabs at gaming "humour" and depressing quantities of commercialisation centred around things which do not need the publicity is something that needs to be dragged through the dirt. While I can certianly agree that a number of purportedly serious games journalists need to come up with something more constructive than mud-slinging, these issues are not "low-hanging fruit".

I don't think the medium or its coverage will progress if we start being VGA apologists. The VGA's don't have any real reason to exist, not when there are other, better awards shows out there which can give us much more reasonable and entertaining coverage while treating the medium with the respect it has earned and the adoration that us gamers have for it.

Whether or not games journalists need to be less crass in their judgement of the VGA's (or anything, really) is definetly an issue that needs to be discussed, because their opinions nad the manner in which they deliver them have an impact on the community at large. But implying that it's their responsibility to improve the VGA's?

Nope. That's absurd. You seem to be underestimating the number of games journalists who don't like the Spike TV VGA's, and you also seem to be operating under the assumption that Spike TV has to make a choice between "money" and "proper coverage".

Call me crazy, but I seriously doubt that anyone who doesn't already care about the medium gives a damn about the VGA's, and I don't think Spike TV would be missing out if they just focused on more gamer-centric entertainment/humor, and cut their advertising down to make more airtime for the things that followers of the medium actually give a damn about.

We can talk about the necessary evils of commercialism all we want, but when our most popular media event is an awards show that invites the winners there then doesn't allow a several of the winners a chance to get up on stage and recieve their award in order to make room for trailers advertising things that aren't even out yet and shots of Charlie fucking-horrible-psycopath-bastard-in-dire-need-of-serious-psychiatric-help Sheen and countless other seat-fillers who are important to gaming and Spike TV's revenue like my arse is the viceroy of 19th-century India....

...then I think we might be within our rights to say that the VGA's need to get off the air and make way for better shows.

I'm aware I may have just ruined a significant portion of my own argument with that last bit. Oh well, I'm not a games journalist so I guess it isn't too hypocritical.

To put it bluntly, there is absolutely no need for the Spike TV VGA's to exist and yet they continue to squat in gaming media's calendar like the inevitable yearly christmas visit from an embarassing drunken uncle. They sell an absurd quantity of time to whichever companies that delude themselves into thinking that a trailer for the VGA's will significantly boost potential sales, all because that's the only way to keep the show profitable when they blow obscene quantities of cash on things that no-one cares about. They refuse to give proper recognition to the people that the awards show is supposed to celebrate by it's very nature in order to make room for this needless crap, and then they fill far too much of the remaining time they have on terrible, terrible attempts at humor.

And even if this was our only option then how could responsibility fall to our journalists for this? every gaming media outlet with a modicum of credibility condemns the Spike TV VGA's in fairly reasonable terms. If games journalists were the force for change that you seem to think they are, then the VGA's would be markedly different by now. Wouldn't they?

And the VGA's, theoretically reach a wider audience than most of gaming media's wide, wide spectrum - not to mention the kind of money and big names attatched to it. Why not switch things around place blame on the VGA's for not being a positive influence on our medium?

Anyway, here's a more reasonable article that basically tears apart the VGA's without descending into what I just did, your article leads me to believe you may need to focus on the more reasonable commentators for a bit: http://www.giantbomb.com/news/the-2011-spike-video-game-awards-on-teabagging-cupcakes-and-charlie-sheen/3853/

ScottyMuser:
*snip of a comment everyone should read*

I like the things you say. I like them a lot.

Dennis Scimeca:

The job of a good journalist, at least as I understand it, is to find the angles to make anyone interesting.

I'm sorry, what did you mean by that? I thought the job of a good journalist was to report and distribute news in an unbiased nature. What you described is how tabloids and shock magazines work, but real journalism? really? I've seen facebook statuses with more credibility than this crap.

That would have been enough for me to stop on any other article, but this is about the VGAs.

My biggest problem with the VGAs is not the lowbrow stunts they pull. Yes it is A problem, but not THE BIG problem.The problem with the VGAs was that a majority of the award winners were announced during the return from a commercial break, or during the pre-show. An awards show should be a look back at the year and find the best. Why is most of the time spent looking at trailers for games that don't exist yet? To make it even worse they invite nominees and don't even show them on camera. Lets not forget the idea of having celebrities on because they play video games. Lots of people play video games, big deal (sarcasm I feel I have to make that clear because you do not know how words work based on your definition of "Journalism"). Charlie Sheen even said he did it because he got paid, even if it was in jest. I'd rather have no nationally televised award show than a bad nationally televised award show. When you settle for crap, they will just give you more and more crap. Sadly Spike is the master of giving people crap. If we want a real and respectable awards show it cannot come from Spike. Spike's big connection to video games is that they are partners with Gametrailers, as if that makes everything okay. It is the same as a person saying, "Oh, I can make fun of black people because my best friend is black." That is not a legitimate reason. And their trophy is a blue monkey? really? What does that have to do with video games? I'll tell you: about as much as the VGAs.

What we want and what we should be getting is a televised version of the Game Developers Choice Awards. Voted for by their peers; people in the industry. It is a stretch, but G4 might be willing to partner with broadcasting the GDCAs. They do still broadcast stuff that has to do with video games, right? We would watch that.

This article is wrong. Just flat out wrong. The VGA's are a step backwards in every respect. Teabagging? WTF?

Were the Oscars this retarded when they first aired? What about the Grammys? Golden Globes? No. None of them were this awful. The Spike VGA's needs a complete overhaul before anyone will take it seriously. This is a multi-billion dollar industry, not some hobby some people have, and deserves more respect than the VGA's give it.

Also VGA's or nothing.... nothing wins, hands down, no contest, at all. Would you rather have a pile of ass or nothing? I'll take nothing any day.

Also, giving a free pass to shows such as the VGA's would be a terrible thing to do if you ever wanted this show to be decent at all. I do, I think this show could work, but not if they keep catering to the lowest common denominator and teabagging people. Also, Felicia Day shouldn't even be close to a show like this. I would figure she has too much self-respect, although I guess it did help faise funds for a charity.

Everyone in these comments said everything that needed to be said. I'd rather watch ten times the nothing then the VGA's

Sabrestar:
You touch briefly on a point I'd like to see debated: Given the criticisms of the VGAs (which, as you say, may or may not be justified), how many of us would rather see these VGAs than none at all?

I'm in the UK we get nowt and bugger all when it comes to video games on TV (award shows, review shows) Some people moan about it, but at the end of the day, most award shows are a joke (regardless of what the award is for) it's normally just a bunch of showbiz tossers congratulating themselves on making more money than, you the little people, would ever see in a life time of saving.

If I want games advice I come here to the Escapist, if I want to see showbiz tossers I watch the news!

I like the article, but the VGAs aren't for gamers, they're just not. Realistically, a videogame awards show would be too expensive to have a big shiny one any one with real integrity. I mean, do you really think Madden beat Wind Waker and KOTOR because it was better? If you do, I'd love to live in that naive little bubble you do.

Integrity, is not announcing 1/3 of the awards pre-show, 1/3 of them in a twenty-second graphic before a commericial break that doesn't even have a voiceover, and 1/3 during the actual air-time.

I think its also pretty obvious its not for real gamers because of the channel its own. Manswers, really, that channel? I'm not saying I hate the channel, but its not a channel for gamers. G4 is one, but not Spike TV. Its like host the Tony Awards on Food Network.

I would rather have nothing, I really would, at least my intelligence wouldn't be insulted. The only reason any core or hardcore gamer would ever watch the show is if they've never seen it before, or if they want to see the announcement trailers. Thats it.

Where's the stuff that actually appeals to gamers?

I don't see anything entertaining. How about you get two Street Fighter champs to play each other live on stage? Or how about you have an impromptu Counterstrike match? No, instead you have humour targeted at people who aren't old enough to buy a T-rated game yet.

Its not made for gamers, it never has been. It just hasn't. Get over this thought about "fixing the VGAs" and start asking somebody qualified to do it.

If I wasn't a gamer ad I saw something like this then I would expect gamers to villify it. If they didn't I'd assume this was the kind of thing they like.

Aren't there awards that go out to game designers that aren't televised? I'm pretty sure they are a lot better than the crap on spike. Seriously, why defend that trash.

And some guys believe that having sexual "relations" with that fat, ugly creature who haunts the local bar is preferable to having no "relations" at all.

They're wrong. They're very, very wrong. So is Mr. Scimeca.

The thing that I don't get is, why don't people just ignore the VGA's? I haven't seen a single one.

I'm not well-versed in the VGAs. The only scenes I've seen from it are AngryJoe's clips from what he's shown in his criticism of the show on That Guy With The Glasses.

However, from what I've seen, the show is obviously more of a cash grab than it is an actual award show. It appeals to big budget names and titles, reels in celebrities that are famous without any real connection to video games, and sometimes has awards that are OBVIOUSLY plugs for advertisements.

I can understand what you mean. Shows will REQUIRE advertisements, or they're simply throwing away money. However, at the same time, these shows either need to go full out with their ridiculousness and just appeal to gaming humor and logic instead of the most douchey and stereotypical bits of gamers and online gaming in general.

For example, I'd be touched if the Cake showed up as a joke (as tired as it is). I'd be willing to stab someone if they decided to use teabagging as a joke (which apparently they did). If you're going to make fun of gaming, exemplify the stuff that makes it funny and unique, or play it straight, but if you're going to make it funny, try to mix up the humor. Gaming has humor and jokes from all spectrums, from family friendly to crass and obscene. However, the crass and obscene is all that's shown, and is also the reason why I can't stand most comedy shows nowadays (as all of the jokes mostly rely on crass and obscene humor). Inject more life to than the lowest common denominator, and maybe I'll consider watching it.

Angnor:
Having no show is better than the VGA's. It's not even a tough choice to make.

I agree.

I've never understood the "SOMETHING is, by default, better than NOTHING" line of reasoning. No, no, no. If that particular something sucks, and does more harm than good, then it's better to have nothing until something worthwhile comes along.

It's the old Other M argument. Defenders of that game will say that the characterization that Other M gave Samus is better than no characterization at all. Any Metroid fan of discerning taste who has played that game will tell you that that line of thinking is is rubbish.

I can understand the "chew off the meat and spit out the bones" approach that the writer is trying to endorse regarding the VGAs, but there is a potent collary to that idea: if something is more bones than meat then it's not worth your time unless you're starving.

And we're not starving. For video game related honors, there are better places to go: such as reading up on the IA awards, or the GDC awards, or even checking out the 12 Days of Christmas feature or Yahtzee's inevitable Top/Bottom 5 vid right here on the Escapist.

The VGAs are borderline pointless and do nothing good for the industry

If anything I think Mr. Scimeca is an elaborate troll.

Like those on news sites that troll for hits, this seems like an article to generate conversation. Or thread posts. Or whatever.

Because this doesn't seem to be something that's there to be argued about. Cancer of the gaming community that plays on every bad stereotype vs no cancer at all, I think I know what I'd go with.

Dastardly:

Dennis Scimeca:
Why I Am Patient With The VGAs

Ease up on the VGAs, people.

Read Full Article

Agreed.

People go to SpikeTV for a small number of things. Nuance, class, or respectable journalism are not among them. It was started to cater to a particular audience in a particular way, and they've made quite a bit of money doing so. They're not going to bite the hand that feeds them.

At the same time, we can expect that people who are looking at respectable outlets to provide information on forming a well-constructed opinion of the video game industry (and culture) are probably not looking for it on SpikeTV. When I want a good steak, I don't go to Burger King. At the same time, if Burger King started serving steak, I would be understandably skeptical of its quality.

But above all these concerns is the larger issue: There is no "gaming culture." That is to say, there is no single set of culture norms that define it. Gaming is a medium in the same way a hammer is a tool -- it can be used many different ways, none of which are (necessarily) more valid than the others.

Apply this logic to film, and let's assume there's a "movie culture." Do we really mean to group feature films, documentaries, kids' cartoons, and porn into one broad heading, and assume that all such headings are united simply by virtue of the medium they use? Even the Oscars divide things up quite a bit (and don't show all of the awards on TV). Interestingly, they also completely disregard certain uses of the film medium (still no "Best Screenplay in a Pornographic Film" caption, for instance).

And arguing against the Spike VGAs because it doesn't represent the "industry" or the "culture" in the right way would be like the folks behind the Academy Awards protesting the existence of an awards show specifically for porn. It may not represent out preferred view of the gaming industry, but it represents the views and values of a pretty large section.

"Gamer" is no longer a meaningful and unifying label any more than say, "vertebrates." You can't expect one show to be all things to all people.

But not everyone has this in mind,and people may see the VGAs and make up their minds on video games as a whole.They might not be actively searching for opinions on games,but they'll find them,alright.People are concerned about the VGAs because of the image that they represent,though I'm sure you've noticed.
If it sounds like I didn't read everything you said,I didn't,because I am balls-crushingly tired.

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