Five Times I Was Delighted And Then Immediately Horrified By The Game Awards

Highlights

  • The Game Awards feels less like an awards show and more like a showcase, with a focus on trailers and developers talking about upcoming projects.
  • The event is well-produced but has questionable priorities, with random celebrities given too much time to talk while award winners are cut off.
  • Hideo Kojima and Jordan Peele hyping each other up on stage was initially exciting, but the excessive praise became tiresome.


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The weird thing about The Game Awards is that as every year goes by, it feels less and less like an awards show and more like a showcase. This year especially, it seems we spent more time watching trailers and seeing developers talk about what’s coming next, and almost no time hearing the people who won awards talking about the process. It’s more of a media spectacle than an acknowledgement of any single studio’s hard work, which sucks, and it’s studiously avoiding talking about the disastrous state of the industry right now, which sucks even harder.

But it’s got entertainment value nonetheless – after all, it’s not often a gaming event makes me gasp and yell. This was, by far, the best-produced TGA has ever been, and it also possibly had the worst priorities. I’m disappointed at the choices the organisers have made, but that doesn’t mean some of its gags didn’t make me laugh… at first. Without further ado, here are the five times I did the Leo meme and pointed in shock at my TV, both in a good way and in a bad way.


5. Pew! Pew! Pew!

It’s hard not to be delighted when you see Matthew McConaughey, especially when it’s an entirely unexpected appearance. McConaughey was not on my bingo card of famous actors to grace the TGA stage, so when he emerged after Geoff Keighley called him a “true renaissance man”, I sat straight up with a shocking swiftness.

However, it immediately became clear that they had given this man far too much time to talk, as he began to awkwardly make jokes about his iconic “Alright, alright, alright” catchphrase being replaced temporarily with what was apparently deemed a more video game appropriate catchphrase, “Pew, pew, pew”. It wasn’t great. The game he’s in looks fine, but the whole thing was awkward. Why are they giving these random celebrities so much time to talk? Regardless of how charismatic and beautiful he is, I don’t actually want to hear from McConaughey.

4. Christopher Judge Dogging Call Of Duty’s Campaign

Last year’s TGA saw Judge giving an eight-minute speech and getting played off the stage by the music. This year saw him cracking jokes about it, talking about Al Pacino and how he forgot to thank his wife. He also snuck in a dig at Call of Duty, saying that the original speech from last year was meant to be longer than this year’s Call of Duty campaign ended up being. Big laughs all around. The biggest gag was when the showrunners started playing him off after 20 seconds, which was funny, but took on an extraordinarily painful light just minutes later. Judge passed the award for Best Performance to Neil Newbon for his role as Astarion in Baldur’s Gate 3. Newbon was then unceremoniously played off stage just a minute into his emotional, tear-filled speech.

3. I Got 5 On It

Naturally, everybody is buzzing about the game Hideo Kojima announced at the show, OD. I saw Hunter Schafer in the trailer and yelped immediately, sending my partner an increasingly incoherent series of texts mostly consisting of variations of “IT’S HUNTER” and “IT’S SO OVER”. Then that creepy remix of I Got 5 On It from Jordan Peele’s movie Us played, and he walked out of a door, and I got far more excited than I’m willing to admit. But then I watched these two auteurs, Kojima and Peele, hype each other up on stage for way longer than was appropriate, and I started rolling my eyes. I do not really believe that Kojima is making a new medium somewhere between game and film, nor am I interested in watching Jordan Peele talk about how Kojima is an “icon” and “the GOAT”. The moment Keighley said the phrase “two GOATs working together”, I started regretting ever watching this awards show.

2. I’ll Show You The Herald Of Darkness

Alan Wake 2’s musical level kicked ass, and the song that came out of that game, Herald of Darkness, is unfortunately very catchy. Just like the janitor Ahti, who was humming the song as Alan emerged from the level, I found myself humming it as I made my morning coffee the next day. Now it’s going to be stuck in my head for the next few days again, because the game’s cast gave a very compelling performance of the song, alongside the band Poets of the Fall, who write and perform the songs attributed to Alan Wake 2’s fictional band Old Gods of Asgard. Seeing Sam Lake grinning madly while performing the game’s over-the-top interpretive dance, with pyrotechnics in the background no less, has given me enough serotonin to get through another week. Then I remembered that this performance was longer than any single speech given by an award recipient at the awards show. This bit was great, but they also had a part where Keighley talked to a Muppet. That’s time that could’ve gone to speeches, is all I’m saying.

1. Timothee Chalamet Jumpscare

If you weren’t obsessively checking Goeff Keighley’s Twitter all day for hints as to what would be happening at The Game Awards, you probably missed that he’d said that Timothee Chalamet, Hollywood film darling and former Xbox 360 controller modder, would be on the show. I have better things to do than obsessively check Keighley’s Twitter, which means that when a skinny white boy walked onto the stage I had a moment of genuine panic. Oh my god, I thought, it’s the Bill Clinton kid again. They got the Bill Clinton kid to give the GOTY. Then logic kicked in, and I jumped again – oh my god, it’s Wonka star Timothee Chalamet!

Remembering that he used to make YouTube videos as a teenager where he showed off his modded controllers made this, honestly, a very funny bit, even if Keighley did spoil the surprise beforehand for the attentive. Then, of course, Larian won the GOTY for Baldur’s Gate 3, were given basically no time to speak, and had to wrap up their speech as they were dedicating the award to a colleague who passed away last month. It’s extraordinarily bleak. At least I got to see Timothee Chalamet saying the words “Baldur’s Gate 3”.

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