Opinion: Game Awards 2016 or Game Previews 2017?

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I want to go ahead and begin with this wonderful piece of art that is the Game Awards 2016 intro before I say any words that could never come close to the feeling it evokes. This should speak to us all in some manner, and it deserves more than the light of day. Please enjoy this video as much as I did.

The 2016 Game Awards was a night filled with laughter, hype, excitement, and even a couple tears. Not only that, it was chock-full of everything video game related up to its teeth! From movie premieres to good old music entertainment and everything beyond. Here, we take a look at what all really went on that fateful night, and why maybe it wasn’t such a good thing.

First off, I would like to say I very much enjoyed the Game Awards and support them wholeheartedly as I feel it was inevitable and necessary for our growing gaming community. However, I do feel there were some things wrong with this independently run award ceremony. With a time span totaling around two and a half hours, there were WAY too many things crammed in. Below I have listed most of the things we witnessed during the ceremony and how much focus was given to each thing individually.

  • Starting off with 24 awards to be handed out, if each of these were to be given with an introduction, nominee announcement footage, announcement pause, and acceptance speech, each award would have held a solid 5 minutes of screen time, which would total two hours in itself. Now, obviously this was not done, sadly.I feel it would have been cool to see some Street Fighter: V footage play on the big screen, maybe some fans coming up to the stage to announce the Fan Choice Best eSports Game, or maybe Cloud 9 to accept their trophy in person to show the community they are involved and appreciative like the members of the community are of the organization.However, none of these made it to the stage due to a lack of time and each award was given only brief acknowledgments. This was disheartening to see since, after all, it is an awards ceremony. Keep in mind that this is the necessary time needed to input all the awards into the ceremony, but not what was given to them.
  • The Game Awards are not just about the best games of 2016 but also the fantastic games that will coming to us in 2017. While this is a good idea and the world reveals a great selling point, I believe they were relied upon too heavily as the main draw for many viewers. It is a smart marketing plan that utilizes two aspects of gaming and fuses them, yet it seems that one quite outweighed the other in pursuit and execution.Not only were there 24 Awards given out that night, but also 11 new games were announced along with a couple of DLC’s as well titles such as Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (shown twice, actually), Death Stranding, Dauntless, and the much sought after Mass Effect: Andromeda. These releases, averaging around 3-4 minutes a piece with just footage, added up to around 45 minutes worth of content. On the way to almost three hours worth of footage that needed to be fit into two and a half hours of air time, things looked to be cutting it close. But we are just getting started.
  • What I want to look at next are the commercials that ran several times throughout the program. At set intervals there came commercials injected into the flow of the ceremony both on and off the screen. Showing many of games like Warframe and Skyrim, they were like any other commercial you would see on your Television at home, yet they also brought in the Schick Hydro (yes, the facial razor), body suit and cheesy gaming commercial into the mix.With all of these commercials and additions into the original programming, I would say they added up to 15 minutes or more, almost completing our three hours of run time. But that is not all, I have saved the best for last.
  • As you all know (impending sarcasm), no social gathering could be complete without a live musical performance! But wait, the Game Awards has it better… complete with not one, not two, but three sets of musical entertainment! Which, by the way, only one had to do with actual gaming itself. Not that Rae Sremmurd or Run the Jewels were bad (although not my particular taste in music), it seemed very out of place and very unnecessary for the purpose of the ceremony. At Least the sounds of DOOM were related to some degree. I actually found myself enjoying it as if I were there, inner DOOM geek screaming loud with joy for my little Chris Hite.So in matters of time, I would give them an average of seven minutes a piece adding up to about 21 minutes spent on music. And that is being lenient.

Finishing off the counts, we come to a total of about three and a half hours of content MINIMUM that were to fit into a two and a half hour slot. This raised a large problem that had to be solved. And what was the first thing that went? The awards. The main reason this fiasco was put on in the first place.

Now, I understand why they did it. It was not necessary to put in all of the awards when they could easily be listed off and gotten out of the way to give more time to the game releases and music performances. But that is not interesting nor what many in the community want for their favorite game’s recognition. We want the build up, the slow climb, the agonizing wait of the pull of the trigger and then BAM! Either victory or defeat in the grip of a single fateful second.

However, it was sad that even for the awards that were awarded were simply handed off in a nonchalant manner with no sense of passion or anxiousness behind the kind words and the pass of the trophy. The only real moment of genuine feeling I felt was when Ryan Green accepted the Games for Impact award for his game That Dragon, Cancer and the tears he shed for his son Joel.

Coming to a conclusion, I restate my previous words. I do not think the Games Awards were bad or an incorrect move by the powers at be, but I do believe they should have been done much differently.

Rather than trying to make an awards show and ending up with a bashful hybrid between a release convention and an attempt to acknowledge a few friends, let’s find a way to make something that the community can look up to as a source of dignity and establishment as
one of the best in the world. Let’s take away the commercialization from it and what you think
people want it to be and make it something it is supposed to be.

How do we achieve this? That is not my job to decide, but I am sure many of you have
comments or ideas on the subject. Did you like the show? Hate it? Think it a waste of time or
the best thing since sliced bread? Leave your comments below.

Written by Brandon “Raezien” Simmons

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