Sunday, December 14, 2008

The 2008 Spike VGAs or "Endurance"

So, here it is, the long-promised, first ever live-blogging experience on Charge Shot!!! Well, none of us are quite sure exactly how to live-blog per se, but I watched the Spike Video Game awards tonight and kept a running account of my thoughts and opinions; it was not a fun experience. Think about everything you possibly can regarding negative public opinion of video games and gamers: the medium is immature and obsessed with sex and violence, people who play video games are all overweight slobs with zero social skills (attributes celebrated in the show's opening number), and generally that video games and those who maintain an interest in them are big dumb idiots.

Well that's pretty much exactly what the VGAs are communicating. At every possible turn you have a gorgeous/slutty woman cooing about how "awesome" some upcoming game, obviously lying about how interested she is in the new Gears of War maps. Then you get some B-list celebrity hooting and hollering about how much they love games, you can almost smell their fat paychecks through the TV. The whole thing was just sad, sad, sad: bad idea, bad intentions, bad execution (there were several major gaffes, misspoken lines, misplaced cue cards, outright technical malfunctions etc.). While purporting itself to be an awards ceremony showcasing and rewarding the best and brightest talent in a burgeoning medium and industry, the whole thing was truly, madly, deeply an ad for the holiday season and next year's big titles. The night's claim to fame were 10 game trailers, most of which showed no gameplay footage at all. Spike is doing no one any favors with their annual monstrosity and any non-gamer watching (I doubt there were any) was certainly treated to the worst stereotypes imaginable, almost a video game minstrel show.

So read on, true believers, and for the full experience watch the show in reruns (it'll be on at all hours of the day on Spike for the rest of the month) and follow along with my notes! It'll make much more sense that way!
8:59- BJ Penn is UFC lightweight champion of the world.

9:00- Jack Black is having a menage a trois with a 360 and a PS3, I'm finding this funnier than I should.

9:01- The DS is the result of the union of Jack Black and a Wii, potent portable indeed.

9:02- I love musical numbers, that's just something you should know about me. Already the contrast between "guys" and hot chicks has been made. Hey, Darrell from the Office is Video Game God. Who's the Devil? The guy from the Sarah Silverman Program is here too. I sense a trend, I declare this the night of "that guy."

9:05- KG!

9:06- My roommate notices that there are very few crowd shots, always a good sign. So far I notice that the only person I recognize is Tony Hawk.

9:07- Marisa Miller is "frickin' hot" in her own words (and mine I guess). I prefer the Cole Train. But I don't know what he just yelled at me. "Woo!" She is "psyched" about "Gears."

9:08- Combustible Map Pack trailer. One of the maps is called "Flood," they're not even hiding the fact that they're stealing from Halo at this point. Alright, new maps for GOW2! Awesome! This is already a waste of my time. I have finals this week, dammit.

9:10- Weezer is playing? This might not be so bad.

9:11- This weird magic lady voice is not capturing my attention, but I am concerned for those silver-covered women. Aren't they going to die? They should reboot this and cover them in oil instead.

9:12- Is is bad that I'm glad the actual ads are coming on? "Whopper virgins"? Not the only virgins on the TV tonight, am I right guys? Burger King exposes the Third World to the evils of capitalism.

9:13- "Oooooo, Navy SEALS!" Military recruitment count: 1.

9:15- Mike O'Malley? Where's your Bruins jersey? If you aren't telling children to scale the Super-Mega Agrocrag, I have no interest in you. I have Time Warner Cable already, go away.

9:16- Here comes LL Cool J, he's a "UFC superfan", apparently. Apparently he supports invading Iran (he keeps yelling "It's time for war!" in the refrain for his song, are there refrains in rap songs?). The president of the UFC seems unsure of when to start speaking lest LL Cool J get mad at him. These UFC guys look like they're all about to make out with each other. "Don't Call It a Comeback"? I think what you're doing right now is the opposite of that, J. I love medlies and all but...jeez.

9:19- Who are all these women in the audience? Are they here of their own free will?

9:20- Best Shooter, Plaxico Burress joke. Far Cry 2, Resistance 2, Left 4 Dead, Gears of War 2. Probably Gears, not sure though. Oh wow, GOW2? Who saw that coming? Video game designers are silly looking people, especially when they get "cooled up" by the costume department. These silver angel ladies freak me the hell out, especially when they drop out the sky for no reason.

9:21- God of War 3 trailer: looks like a God of War game, it is also very short and vague. They say I should preoder my copy from Gamestop. God of War, Gears of War, indicative of America's current situation in the Middle East? Will historians look back on this and use these games as historical documents? I hope not.

9:23- There are more ads than anything else in this "awards show."

9:24- The Navy is just like video games! Military recruitment count: 2.

9:26- Oh no! An ad for the Notorious B.I.G. movie!

9:28- Stop it, JB. You're making it hard to love you. Here's Peter Moore, president of EA Sports! He's promoting Fight Night 4! My other roommate is going to poop himself. You promised me Muhammad Ali, and you gave me Mike Tyson! Damn you, Peter Moore! Mike Tyson just threatened to kill me, and all the viewers at home, if we don't play as him in Fight Night.

9:30- NPH! I just watched Starship Troopers an hour ago! He's presenting f0r Best Independent Game, which I'm actually interested to see the nominees for. Haha! He's just like his character in Harold and Kumar! Poor writing, boo! Fueled by Dew? Ewwww, stop it. Audiosurf, Braid, Pixeljunk Eden, World of Goo; these games all look amazing and I want to play them. Wow, big gaffe, NPH doesn't know who won, but magic voice lady informs us that World of Goo won! This seems like the only legit part of this "awards show." Video game designers are still awkward, chicks are still hot.

9:35- Military recruitment count: 3. I can't believe enough people are watching this to warrant such a huge ad buy on the DoD's part.

9:37- Resident Evil: Degeneration, what? I'd rather just play Resident Evil 4.

9:39- Eliza Dushku? YES! Should I be excited for Dollhouse? Kiefer Sutherland is in Call of Duty: World at War? Holy crap, I just bought this game. He's this year's "Big Name in the Game." Nice vest. Kiefer didn't win anything, Activision just paid for ad time and disguised it as an award. Hey Kiefer, why don't you get drunk and tackle a Christmas Tree? So far this 2 hour ad has made me decide to buy 1 game, at this rate I'll be down $200.00 by the end of the night.

F0r further Kiefer Sutherland goodness I highly recommend you check this out.

9:42- Oh, it's the Human Torch. Oh, it's the All-American Rejects. Play, "Swing Swing", I like that song.

9:42:30- Epic fail, A-AR.

9:46- "1000 Ways to Die" sounds like the coolest show ever, and by coolest show I mean lamest show, but that's Spike for you: simultaneously able to make something lame and cool at the same time, a gift I wish I had.

9:48- Military recruitment count: 4. The Army's getting in on the action. We're waiting on Air Force and Marines.

9:51- Here comes Kim Kardashian! I've seen her naked (and then some)! She's promoting Dante's Inferno, which apparently is a secret game and one of my favorite books. She's also stumbling over her monosyllabic lines, heads must roll for this. Zero gameplay footage. We've got some Spawn-esque glimpses into Hell and some guy with an axe killing some damned souls or something. It looks lame. Give me back the Armenian eye candy!

9:52- Ladies and gentlemen, Tony Hawk. He's introducing Will Wright. Damn you, Spore! He's a "gamer god". I hate this thing. Does anyone vote on anything? WW is rambling some sort of interesting stuff about the history of video games, it's a shame he's on the 2008 Spike VGAs.

9:56- Rockstar is making a GTA about bikers, intriguing. GTA4: the Lost and Damned. This looks damn cool, sign me up. I feel better about the night already.

9:59- Military recruitment count: 5. I was thinking about enlisting, but you just lost me, DoD.

10:02- Naked Burger King King... ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

10:03- Stop it, JB. You're right, "this is terrible". Don't bring Jerry Stiller into this. Listen to him, this show sucks.

10:05- Oh no, people from the new Street Fighter movie. Wow, I forgot how beautiful Kristin Kreuk is, and how washed-up Chris Klein is (heeeeeyo!). Best RPG time: Fable 2, Fallout 3, Warhammer Online, the World Ends With You. Is Fallout even an RPG anymore? Whatever, it won. These video game people are the most awkward people ever, there's a reason I blog as opposed to appearing on television.

10:07- Someone must have drawn a 9 cuz here comes Busta Rhymes. He plugs his album, and notes that this next trailer is all "in-engine" footage, he seems so excited. Uncharted 2: I don't remember the first one, should I? Oh right, those ads I hated from 2-3 years ago! "Drake's Fortune", lame. So it's "in-engine", great. I'd like to see some gameplay. Contrary to popular belief, some people like playing games for you know... gameplay. If I want to see a movie, I'll go to a theater.

10:09- Too... many... attractive... women.

10:12- Military recruitment count: 6.

10:15- I don't know who these women are, but they have short skirts and are willing to talk about Terminator: Salvation. That's cool. What do we all think about the new trailer (for the movie not the game)?

10:16- Terminator game trailer, nice to see some acutal game footage. Looks very Gearsish, not that that's a bad thing. Interesting.

10:17- "Mafia II"? Could we get a more generic title? Why not "Space marines vs. Aliens" or "Greek mythology". Yes, I saw Goodfellas, yes I liked it, no I don't want to play a game that looks just like it.

10:18- 50 Cent? Remember his game? Because I think they're showing footage from it on the jumbotron behind Fiddy. Oh Christ, they're making a sequel? How much did the Army pay him to wear combat fatigues? I'm usually not this cynical about the armed forces but my faith in our military is being shattered by this crappy, crappy "awards show."

10:22- Manswers, single-handedly killing the male suffrage movement.

10:24- Woooo! Hot women! Thanks, Hova but I won't buy your cologne unless the chick in this ad comes with it.

10:26- There probably shouldn't be a Watchmen game, but there is, here's the trailer. Rorschach and Nite Owl as the Crimebusters in a prequel? Sounds kinda cool acutally. Still, don't do it.

10:27- Pat and Scott from Weezer! AHHHHHHHH! You are so awkward! Scott's a Marine! Hoo-rah! That's kinda cool, actually, but you guys are so awkward, stick to the rocking. Best Music Game: Guitar Hero World Tour, Wii Music, Rock Band 2, Singstar. So...Guitar Hero vs. Rock Band. Yeeeeahhhh, Rock Band!

10:30: Oh, hi Kevin James. I'm not going to see your movie. The attempts at humor on this show are infuriating. Some douchebag challenged him to a segue vs. skateboard trick-off. I have no idea what's going on.

10:33- Studio of the Year: Media Molecule, Rockstar North, Harmonix, Bethesda. Media Molecule wins! There's a girl accepting the award, a real girl! The fact that she makes video games makes her kind ofcute, I'm so confused. This show has been teaching me that women are all supermodels and whatnot and this adorable chubby English lady shows up and blows my mind.

10:36- Here's a recap of some other stuff, minor categories and whatnot. Too much to recap, but I think I'd rather see these than Kevin James.

10:37- First sighting of Japanese people, courtesy of MGS4 and Konami.

10:38- Shut up, mobile phone games. You signify nothing.

10:40- Military recruiment count 8. Come on USAF, where's the love?

10:44- JB finally came back. Where've you been, dude? He's promoting Brütal Legend and has a flamethrower. Here comes Tim "freaking" Schaeffer, what a guy. Rob Halford is here!!!? YES! I love Priest! Breakinthelaw, breakinthelaw! JB and Halford are now talking about ritually murdering Tim Schaeffer, cool.

10:47- Here's the trailer for Brütal Legend, I want to play this.

10:48- "The star of Transformers 2 and your dreams: Megan Fox." This girl was made for Spike, and I mean that in the most pejorative sense. Game of the Year: GTA IV, Little Big Planet, Fallout 3, Metal Gear Solid 4, Gears of War 2. I'm rooting for Metal Gear, even though I haven't played this one yet and never will unless it gets a port. GTA wins, big surprise. Another game developer girl! She looks kind of like Liv Tyler. There's hope for us here at Charge Shot!!! after all.

10:52- That's it! JB has been wearing a 360 headset this whole time and Darrel is back as Video Game God. You told me this was it! Stop talking! I will play Brütal Legend! Just stop this!

10:54- =w= WEEZER! As most of my colleagues here will tell you, I am the biggest Weezer fanboy ever, to a fault. They're playing "The Greatest Man That Ever Lived" one of the better songs on the half very good/half bad Red Album. I love seeing them and all, but I wish it didn't have to be on this debacle. Rivers has improved his stage presence slightly and by that I mean he's moving, however bizarrely. I love his mustache. I love everything about Weezer. You really shouldn't listen to me when it comes to Weezer, I'm a fanboy. (ed: Boivin's opinions on the quality of the Red Album in no way reflect those of the editorial staff.)

11:00- Still alive (see what I did there?).

So there it was, the 2008 Spike Video Game Awards in all their glory (or lack thereof). Now, what have we learned? Apparently video games still have a very long way to go in the public's view. We're still all a bunch of testosterone addicted man-children (no girls here) who will buy anything if you throw enough advertising at us. This night has left me quite frustrated about the direction our little hobby is going in: we're breaking through into the mainstream, the generation coming of age and taking the reins of American society at this point in time grew up playing video games and many still do. We're the ones in power now and this is the best we can do? Seriously, things need to change, and I can only hope we'll be getting there someday soon; baby steps, I guess. Boivin out.

11:01- It's rerunning? OH GOD! I CAN SEE FOREVER!