I’m So Tired Of The Game Awards’ Presenters

One of the defining characteristics of The Game Awards 2023 was the rushed speeches. When Neil Druckmann collected his award for The Last of Us winning Best Adaptation, he opened with “Clock’s ticking,” which seemed to be a snarky remark at this fact. But no, he was being literal – during every speech, there was in fact a 60 second clock ticking that ended with the phrase ‘Please Wrap It Up’. How do we fix this?


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Christopher Judge was the first presenter on stage, and he made a joke about his overly long acceptance speech last year… which in turn went on too long. He was played off as soon as he started as a cute bit, but it’s a lot less funny when it’s done for real, over and over again, to cut off actual speeches.

Judge’s went on for eight minutes last year, and while I loved his passion and defended it, I understand why organisers think that’s a little long. But this year, everyone was given just a single minute, which isn’t nearly enough, especially when some spoke via translators or have English as a second language. One theory is that it was to cut off any mention of worker layoffs or Palestine, but the lack of speeches as awards are rushed through is par for the course, while the timer is more likely a direct reaction to Judge.

People have a lot of very good solutions that will simply never happen. Sure, they could get rid of all the adverts to ensure complete focus on the winners. They could overrun by an extra hour to let everyone get up and speak for as long as they want to. Geoff could read out a list of every individual laid-off person while pointing at pictures of gaming CEOs and shaking his head angrily. It’s not gonna happen. But what might happen is the presenters could shut their yaps.

While Judge’s opening joke about his speech last year trundled on, I’d give him a pass. Firstly, after last year, it’s your fault if you invite Christopher Judge and expect brevity. Secondly, he’s a TGA winner and worthy of the stage. It’s the other presenters I could do without. At the Oscars, which The Game Awards is clearly aping with its celebrity presenters, the presenters (often a duo) come out and say 30 seconds or so of scripted waffle either about each other or the category, and then the nominees and winner are read out. The Game Awards has far less control.

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While the presenters do have scripts, many of them decide to vamp for an exceedingly long time about nothing. Anthony Mackie tried and failed to warm up the crowd by pointing at them repeatedly. Simu Liu told us about his foot injury, despite zero people asking and, somehow, even fewer caring. Keighley had a whole conversation with Gonzo who seemed to be there entirely to prove that The Muppets still exist.

Mackie, Liu, and Gonzo all got more time on stage than Neil Newbon and Sam Lake did for their victory speeches, with both winners accepting their fate as the overture came in and cutting their speeches short. And they got significantly more time than, say, the devs of Sea of Stars, who despite winning one of the prestige categories in Best Indie, were not invited on stage as Keighley rushed over the award in a block of winners sped through to keep it moving.

Timothee Chalamet with a cane and top hat in Wonka

That’s before we get to Game of the Year, presented by, for some reason, Timothee Chalamet. I love Chalamet and have my Wonka ticket booked already. He seems like a nice guy. He has no business announcing Game of the Year. Traditionally, it’s done by the previous winner, but if the folks from FromSoft didn’t want to make the journey halfway around the world to pass the torch from Elden Ring, Druckmann was right there, and I’m sure he wasn’t the only former winner in attendance.

The Kojima debacle is embarrassing too, but slightly different. I still find it highly disrespectful to the winners that they’re played off 60 seconds in but Kojima gets to prattle on forever, but at least that fits the ceremony. I dislike the auteur idea in modern gaming where it takes a village of thousands, but there are worse things you could give ten minutes to in a show all about celebrating video games than just letting the host dork out with his favourite developer.

The Game Awards is never going to stop being The Game Adverts With Awards, as much as some of us might want it to. But after the disjointed feel of 2023’s show with so many rushed speeches and references to the clock, plus a general disinterest in interloping celebrities and their irritating gags, maybe we’ll see some tweaks in the future. Random unrelated presenters, please wrap it up.

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On this page you’ll find every piece of The Game Awards content we’ve produced. You can follow our continually evolving coverage here.

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