The sideways-hat-wearing slackjaw approach of the Spike Video Game Awards has never turned my crank, but news that the 2008 edition will feature the world premiere of Brütal Legend gameplay has me thinking that maybe I should pay a little more attention this year.

Actor Jack Black, described as “a huge gamer” by Spike’s Casey Patterson, has been tapped as the host for the night’s festivities. Black is actually a past winner of a Spike VGA Award, taking the 2005 nod for Best Performance by a Human – Male for his work in Peter Jackson’s King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie, and also provides the voice of Eddie Riggs, the central character in Double Fine Production’s work-in-progress Brütal Legend.

Jack is a funny guy, but for fans of Tim Schafer the real attraction here is the chance to see Brütal Legend in action. Schafer’s work on games like Grim Fandango and Psychonauts has turned him into a cult superstar, with a small but fervently dedicated following. Unfortunately, his creative genius hasn’t translated into mainstream success, and Brütal Legend is having a rough go at least partly as a result. Originally slated to be published by Sierra, the game was a victim of the Vivendi/Activision merger, which resulted in many in-development projects suddenly finding themselves without a home. Most of those games have since been picked up by other publishers, but Brütal Legend remains an orphan, and in October, sources at Double Fine made the surprising claim that Activision has been actively blocking the studio’s attempts at finding a new deal.

But none of that has dampened gamers’ enthusiasm for the game, and the chance to see it in action on Spike is a big incentive to give the show a watch. Other games will make their debut on the show as well, including God of War III, Uncharted 2, Terminator Salvation, Watchmen: The End is Nigh and others, but let’s be honest here: We know who our Daddy is.

The 2009 Spike Video Game Awards take place at 9 pm EST on December 14, exclusively on Spike TV.

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