The Game Awards: Hypocrisy and Contempt for Gaming

With the razzle-dazzle of The Oscars, Emmys, and Grammys becoming more of a poison with each and every subsequent year, it’s only natural we have yet another show to parody more of the entertainment industry with video gaming. With awards shows that regularly celebrate and reinforce the worst and darkest aspects and traditions of the whole entertainment industry, it’s only natural to see the art of movies, television, and music becoming more of a laughing stock when it should be a night of celebration and bravado. With trophies that have the same glamor as tin foil spray-painted glittery gold, awards have lost their art.

The annual Game Awards is another event of insecurity and contempt for the art form they claim to be celebrating, disguised in an aura of considerable self-importance and solemnity. For all his faults, annual host (and possible industry plant) Geoff Keighley at least seems genuinely interested in making an entertaining and informative show that appeals to not only the gaming community at large but also a massive general audience as well; so perhaps it’s an accident that The Game Awards takes itself so seriously with tedium and cynicism aplenty.

The first real and most important misstep of The Game Awards can be found in its name; the very fact that the award part of this award show is secondary and superfluous. Geoff, or whatever board is helping with the ceremony, seeks to make the awards pander more to investors and consumers than actually award the products and people that bring them to life. What results is a bloated, nearly 4-hour endurance test every year, filled to the brim with trailers and previews; a whopping 46 games announced at The Game Awards. The show continues its downward spiral of prioritizing unfinished games and CG-rendered trailers over the beloved games they’re meant to award like it’s the equally-investor-pandering E3. 

But The Game Awards runs on a tight schedule, despite its monstrous length and plethora of trailers. This is why at intermittent points, a select handful of categories and nominees will be presented at a rapid pace, one after another, like Geoff Keighley is unknowingly speaking at an auction where he likely hibernates all year between The Game Awards. While this would be fine for lesser categories like for specific genres or influencers, the fact that talented technicians, writers, and artists go on to be uncredited and rushed through to get to the next exciting new trailer takes out the appreciation we should have for these games and their creators. In such an overstuffed show, it’s upsetting to see these awards treated as a passing obligation in order to make room for overstuffed commercialization, unfitting celebrity guests, and silly music performances.

Granted, The Game Awards has made slight improvements over the years to not just be an award show appealing to the lowest common denominator. New categories in recent years include Games For Impact and Innovation in Accessibility; the former awarding games that cover an array of concerning topics and legitimate social issues, and the latter awarding games that have gone the extra mile in accessibility features that allow all walks of life with any disability to fully enjoy the game. However, the impact of these awards is all the more unfortunately soured by the ceremony representing game studios and developers wrought with controversy and allegations of misogyny, ableism, and racism. Last year’s dystopian moment of Geoff Keighley addressing last year’s (and ongoing) allegations against the toxic workplace of Activision-Blizzard (though keeping them anonymous and ambiguous in his speech) while excitedly showing the reveal trailer for Quantic Dreams’ Star Wars adaptation, a studio with some allegations of their own, minutes later without a shred of self-awareness should say it all. That’s ignoring the fact that, in this year’s show, Activision was celebrated even further, with titles such as Overwatch 2 nominated for Best Multiplayer Game, Call of Duty having an array of nominations, and a new Crash title ceremoniously presented.

In all other respects, it’s just all the same pretentious awards show nonsense, fake glimmer and all. Bloated beyond recognition, it’s about time for The Game Awards to stop being a giant commercial and investor circlejerk and start caring about the video games they deem to be of value. After almost four hours of excruciating tedium and taking for granted their audience’s time and patience, it seemed this irrelevant ceremony was finally coming to a close when Elden Ring took home Game of the Year. As they kindly and graciously accepted the award, something felt amiss. A dark mist entered the stage, and a young-looking stranger was on stage, and he didn’t look like he belonged there. He took the award, then proceeded to dedicate the award to his reformed orthodox Rabbi Bill Clinton, then everyone was escorted off the stage. Within minutes, Geoff Keighley tweeted that the young interrupter was arrested. 

Not much is known about this fella at the ceremony except for the information that a lot of people are taking at face value. But the most important part of all of this is that this kid has been the talking point regarding the entire ceremony this year; Elden Ring, a master class in story and exploration, will be known for its Game of the Year award for not only its quality but the fact their acceptance speech was usurped by a 15-year-old online troll and possible anti-semite. So, in a way, Geoff Keighley really did get his wish of being seen at the same level as the Oscars; both have captivating controversies more memorable than the winners and are both seen as the butt of their respective industries. Congrats on your legacy, Mr. Keighley.

1 thought on “The Game Awards: Hypocrisy and Contempt for Gaming”

  1. Look, NO awards culture is going to be perfect. As far as calling an awards show “poison”? Agree on the Grammys (over-categorization AND nakedly corrupt), Golden Globes (under-categorization and extremely corrupt) and the Game Awards (under categorization (1 performance category!?) and disinterest in the awards side, extremely corporate and, thus, kind of corrupt). Disagree on the other 3 majors (Oscar, Emmy, Tony).


    1. Oscar (Do they still have work to do? Sure. But “Best Picture Winner: Parasite” as something that happened less than 5 years ago? “Poison”? Far. From.)
    2. Tony
    3. Emmy
    4. The Game Awards
    5. Golden Globes
    6. Grammys

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