We have spoken about the various ways The Game Awards are terrible and how The Game Awards completely forgot about the awards last year, but we have yet to touch on why any of this matters. After all, this is just a show about awarding games and their developers for their hard work while tossing in a few announcements to make the show more exciting, so why should it be any more than this? Well—it matters for an incredibly simple but important reason, games have evolved and need to continually evolve past this.
The Game Awards exist almost like a relic of the past, from a time when they were thought more of like toys rather than an interactive art form. To this day this has been something that games as a medium has continually wrestled with. Are they toys? An interactive art form? Or maybe something in-between? Like so many things in life, the answer lies in the sea of grey as something in-between. There are games that exist to purely entertain us, much like the ones we fondly remember from our youth such as Spyro and earlier Mario titles. To the other extreme, there are games that push us to feel and are purposely designed to be thought to provoke like Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice and That Dragon Cancer. It is through these extremes that the large breadth and variety of games can be seen and why The Game Awards in their current form fail to do this medium justice.
The Game Awards’ sole focus is on the entertainment, and the entertainment aspect only. The venue, the way it is presented; it is all just one giant show devoted to praising some of the least interesting aspects of games. Game announcement after game announcement followed by shameless promotions and branding that appeal to the lowest common denominator of those who enjoy games. It has nothing to do with awards, as we saw with last year’s show, many were categories that were originally announced on The Game Award’s website that were given little or no airtime—only to be announced during a commercial break. Instead, the awards only exist to facilitate the rest of the show, an excuse to pimp continual game announcements and information for several hours at another time of the year.
And of course, there is Geoff.
While I don’t take issue with him personally, what I do take issue with is his need to continually be the face of The Game Awards. To quote Louise from Bob’s Burgers:
“If she was a spice, she’d be flour. If she was a book, she’d be two books!”