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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Why We Shouldn't Have Gaming Awards

Ah yes. Gaming awards. This is generally a weird subject for gamers. First off I'd like to give my opinion on award shows: they're dumb. I know I'm coming out of the gate swinging my biased bat around like a kid trying to smash a pinata, but I stand firmly by this. Award shows are about as interesting as... something that's not very interesting. Okay, so maybe I'm not a word smith. I consider award shows to be dull and sort of cancerous. The whole process is rigged to be either the most pretentious or the obligatory "this movie was actually good" category that pops up every once and a while. With no input from those who ACTUALLY saw and liked the movie, award shows are more Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB scrolling until they find the movie that was pretty highly rated and had that one actor who was in that other movie that fans liked but they didn't give even a participation reward to because 'gorsh I sure love them'.
The same reason I don't like award shows is the same reason I don't vote for the president: my choices don't actually matter. In the rare occasion an actually deserving movie gets the nod like Tropic Thunder, sort of brings people back to the thought that, "No seriously this time award shows are finally getting their stuff together and taking their faces away from the tight grip of their butt holes. I think award shows would have a lot more clout if they allowed actual real people to chime in to vote. But I feel much like what is the Electoral College to voting for the president, they'll somehow shaft everyone in one fell swoop
The reason you can't quantify what is 'good' is because movie is an art form. That would be on the same level if I gave awards to a Salvador Dali painting. Art is subjective. One person would see a brilliant take on the social economical norms of their respective culture and time period, while another person would just see a gloopy pile of paint. Yes, I'm going to hammer in that games are an art form. Accept it. If I saw a painting that got the 'Painting of the Year' sticker plastered on it, I'd feel a bit weird. First off that's not the painting I would have picked and neither would most people. Second I don't need to be told when art is pretty to look at by a person I've never met. In gaming its different. Movies often have their awards plastered all over their box but its more of a "You should buy this because people said it was really well made" kind of thing. Comes off as less pretentious when you do your best to market what people have actually said. However, the gaming industry has taken this to it's logical breaking point, releasing all new 'versions' of their game with the tag line "Game of the Year". The game doesn't even have to be actually good or even that no one liked it. The gaming industry thinks of us all as cows looking at shiny objects, Game of the Year, or GOTY for short, being the crowing achievement of shiny stuff. This can also happen for good games. See Arkham City's GOTY box art in all its messy glory, simply plastered with praises for it being a good game. Yes it is a good game though I feel as though I will vomit from your choice of box art.
Gaming award shows are even worse. Generally speaking, I don't mind people reviewing games. I feel that would be very hypocritical as it is literally my job to do so. Giving a score to a game is a decent way to tell if a game is good or bad. Reviewers use general and quantifiable ways to say if its good or bad. Good games should be rewarded and bad games should be punished. I am not disagreeing with you there. However, in this industry it has become increasingly apparent that shady practices often come into play. The most recent has to be with the debacle of Shadow of Mordor. The developers were so scared their game wasn't going to be well received so they did some underhanded stuff to get better reviews like paying off people. They must look red with embarrassment now considering that their game was actually great. In fact it was the best Lord of the Rings game I've ever played... excluding the Lego games. Those are usually good.
There is no committee of people dedicated to making sure sub par games don't get to slap that coveted GOTY sticker on their box so any idiot could do it. If you know anything about the economy, know that over saturation of a thing with devalue said thing. I know its tough to sell games in this industry but you don't have to do it in a patronizing way. I think the problem also arises with gaming gems. Games that surprised just about everyone but quickly fell off the map. In fact this is what this whole post is kind of about. I've been playing Dragon's Dogma again, a game I consider to be my favorite of all time. The problem arises when a game we like or adore is not getting the praise it deserves. This ties back into the whole 'Games are art' motif. Often times good games get shoveled under a pile of mediocre or bad titles. The good games often have a difficult time shining through the muck and gaming award shows are if the industry hands a shiny stick to the game to get out of said muck. However, that stick is wrapped in barb wire and alcohol. Its a double slap in the face when a poisonous industry content on lining their pockets at the expense of others gives awards to games. Suddenly that industry we have a love-hate relationship with becomes like an abusive figure promoting something. No matter if it is good or not, you have to take whatever they say with a grain of salt, knowing full well this is a horrible person who probably likes horrible things.

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