Spike TV's 2003 Video Game Awards
As if there weren't enough award shows already. The Video Game Awards, or VGA's in MTV speak, adds one for all us gamers out there. But is that really who it's for? Watching this travesty it was clear who it's really for: WWE fans.
Spike TV claims to be the "First Network for Men". But really a more accurate description is the "First Network for White Trash." (Okay, that's a little harsh.) To be more specific, it caters to WWE fans much like that awful, now canceled, The Mullets. Myself not liking, or understanding, pro-wrestling, that's strike one. But hey, it's videogames so I'll give the VGA's a chance.
If the 2 hour 2003 Video Game Awards show wasn't enough, they had a half hour pre-show to get you ready. It was "hosted" by the hosts of Most Extreme Elimination Challenge (it was just like MXC, namely they took clips of the Japanese game show hosts and as usual, dubbed in their own brand of raunchy humor). I knew trouble was brewing when the first segment was watching a DOA girls fashion show. I bet 13-year-olds went 'to bed' early tonight. This lead to us watching via a 'secret' camera Jenna Jameson get dressed in her dressing room. Oh man, what a classy show. Also mixed in were the "Wild Boyz" (Steve-O and Chris) dressed up as Donkey Kong and Mario as they threw barrels at each other while one stood on a ladder. How hilarious! A puppet from Crank Yankers had a bit. Then WWE wrestlers had this pathetic bit showing off nominated games when clearly they have never played a game in their life. ("Should the controller be vibrating like this?") The whole pre-show was so phoney. But on the plus side they did this classic video game slide show showing clips of games from over the years. From Space Invaders, to Frogger, Marble Madness, Zelda, Paperboy, NBA JAM, Mortal Kombat, and even, The Simpsons Arcade! Ah, the good ole days.
So then the 'real' show began, taped in Vega at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
The 2004 Spike TV Video Game Awards started off with a montage of games from the past year as the crowd cheered for some more than others. Enjoy! Because that's the most games you'll see all night. Prepare to have your intelligence insulted!
Right after this, the VGA's named Madden 2004 as the game of the year! Forget for a second Madden won, how can they START the show with the biggest award? I guess to be different, but I should of turned off my T.V. right then and there.
David Spade was the host of the ceremony. Though we really only see him at the beginning when he does a short stand-up routine, and then only twice more after that. His routine wasn't as bad as I thought. ("When they first called up and asked me to host the VGA's, I said go fuck yourself.") The real emcee though was DJ Funkmaster Flex. He introduced each presenter of the night. Though I'm not sure why. The show had no organization.
The presenters were as pointless as the entire VGA's. Normally presenters first say a 'joke' and then read off the nominations. Not here. At the VGA's they stood around all pretty and then said, here's the winner. Which then the Raiderette Cheerleaders pointed at. The presenters included Jamie Pressly, Lil' Kim trying to convince us she could kick our ass at NBA Live, Jenna Jameson admiring her boobs, Nicole Eggert (I wondered what happened to her) doing her best "Pink" impersonation, Pam Anderson, and Tia Carrere. Well, there were a few other, less 'beautiful' presenters. Like Jon Henson (formally of Talk Soup), but he was there to hype his upcoming Spike TV show, the Jon Henson Project. Lastly, Orlando Jones had a sit down with a 'drunk', racist, Crank Yanker's puppet.
As with all award shows, the VGA's had musical acts. To make them 'fit', they played game footage behind the artists. You had Bubba Sparxxx (no comment), P.O.D., Andrew W.K. in a wheelchair since he broke his foot, and Kelis who seemed very out of place. Tony Hawk presented the Boom Boom Huck Jam which had BMX riders (including Matt Hoffman) performing with skateboarders (including Bob Burnquist) while a band jammed (including Travis from Blink 182). Think synchronized skateboarding. It was actually pretty cool. But clearly the 'main event' was DMX. He sang by far the longest doing a medley of songs. I'm not sure why. Maybe to justify what they had to pay him. But who doesn't like DMX? Seriously. He started off just going through the motions, but by the end he seemed more into it.
There were a few other segments I should point out. I'm going to ignore the "Wild Boyz" sitting with no pants on a block of ice. I actually turned the channel during a long WWE wrestling match. But they also did these "The Secret Life of Games" segments after commercials where they took a scene from a game, and added their own dialog (MXC style). Most of it was pretty lame. ("I thought you said I was a love machine?" "No, I said I loved machines. Big difference.") There was a nice one where they had an animated Sam Fisher, complete with all his cool gear, go through a security check at the show. But then most were like the one showing off how you could move Lara Croft around in Tomb Raider to satisfy your sexual desires. Again, back to the lowbrow sleaze that typified the show.
The one highlight was when they inducted the 'Dot' from Pong into their VGA Hall of Fame. Complete with a look back at his life with comments from Shaq, Cedric The Entertainer, Penn & Teller, George Lopez, and Gilbert Gottfried (as "Dot"). Did you know the creators of Pac-Man originally wanted to hire Dot and call it Dot-Man? But Dot went nuts dropping dots all over their office. So they had to call their janitor, Pac-Man, to clean it up. As they watched him clean, history was made. If that's not enough, did you know Dot is the same dot Al Gore hired to be the dot in ".com" when he invented the Internet? So at least we learned one thing tonight.
You just have to look at the winners (NASCAR Thunder for best driving game, WWE Smackdown for best fighter) to see once again who this show was aimed at. Not 'real' gamers, but rather: casual, dimwitted, inbred, WWE watching, white trash, drunken hicks of the jury. (Again, harsh. I know.) This show was a bad joke. I'd much rather have "gamers" synonymous with "geeks" than this.
I'm sure you're thinking, "What? Are you gay? How can you not like to watch hot chicks!" Well, I also like this thing called 'substance', and this show had none. That is my main problem with the VGA's. Though since this is Spike TV, it came at no surprise. Tony Hawk's Boom Boom Huck Jam, DMX, and the "Dot" almost made it worthwhile though. Plus I did laugh a lot. Not because the show had a lot of good jokes, but because the show was so bad, it was hard not to laugh at it. Again, I'm not even counting the actual winners who were often lost amidst the garbage that was going on.
I guess they tried. Though when they keep saying "first annual", I get scared. The only time I'll tune in again is during one of their James Bond 007 marathons.
- Best Game: Madden 2004
- Best Animation: DOA Volleyball (I wonder why... They showed quite a lot of footage of this game.)
- Best Performance by a Human: Ray Liotta in GTA: Vice City
- Best Game Based off a Movie: Enter the Matrix (Maybe based on sales.)
- Most Addictive: Soul Calibur II
- Best Action: True Crime: Streets of L.A.
- Best Driving: NASCAR Thunder 2004 (Actually was called the Pontiac/GTO Driving Award.)
- Best Fantasy: Star Wars for Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
- Best Sports: Tony Hawk UnderGround (Madden is the best game but this the best sports?)
- Best Online: Final Fantasy XI
- Best FPS: Call of Duty (Wow! They get one right.)
- Best PC: Halo
- Best Handheld: Splinter Cell (Oddly, I think the N-Gage version.)
- Best Fighter: WWE Smackdown: Here Comes the Pain (Again, SC2's the most addictive and this is the best fighter?)
- VGA Hall of Fame Inductee: The Dot from Pong
- Most Anticipated Game for 2004: Halo 2 (This was the only category they showed nominations for throughout the show. Almost as if this was THE biggest award.)
- Best Music: Def Jam Vendetta