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Press Start

Video game news, reviews and commentary with Gazette reporter Jake Magee.

Press Start: The good and bad of The Game Awards 2017

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Jake Magee
Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Game Awards returned last week with a cringey, much-too-long but overall enjoyable show.

Throughout, we saw developers gain recognition for their hard work, watched brand new trailers for anticipated games, listened to live music and just celebrated our wonderful hobby—all with minimal embarrassment and plenty of laughs.

Here are some highlights from the show.

'F--- THE OSCARS!'

This moment will live in Game Awards infamy.

Host Geoff Keighley sometimes invites developers up to talk with him about their upcoming games. Little did he realize what was about to happen when he gave "A Way Out" director Josef Fares a microphone.

Fares, after swearing a couple times, asked Keighley if that was OK. "You can swear. We're on the Internet," Keighley replied, only for Fares to go on a hilarious rant screaming, "F—- the Oscars!"

Keighley, bless his heart, tried to reign in Fares, but he was off. The audience roared with laughter as Fares dropped F-bombs left and right while touting about how awesome his game is. Keighley finally had enough and started the trailer for "A Way Out" to shut Fares up.

What a magical moment it was.

MICROTRANSACTIONS PANNED

After the drama with loot boxes in "Star Wars Battlefront II" surfaced, one thing became abundantly clear: Gamers hate microtransactions. So God bless people who made fun of them during the show.

During his rant, Fares roasted publisher EA for including loot boxes in "Battlefront II." At another point in the show, video game voice actor Zachary Levi pretended he had to use his credit card to open an envelope to read a winner and called microtransactions "stupid."

It's nice to see gamers, developers and talent united in anti-consumer business practices.

NEW 'DEATH STRANDING' TRAILER

Legendary developer Hideo Kojima first announced "Death Stranding" at 2016's Electronic Entertainment Expo. A year and a half later, we still know almost nothing about it.

But that's OK, because Kojima is awesome.

The trailer that premiered at The Game Awards shows "The Walking Dead" star Norman Reedus and others in a desolate area trying to help someone caught under a car. Handprints from an invisible creature appear, and a few unlucky explorers are dragged away by the creepy monsters. Reedus's character ends up underwater, and at one point, the camera goes down his throat to reveal a baby, who smiles and gives a thumbs up. Reedus wakes up on the beach, sees a crater and mentions the Big Bang.

Confused? So am I, but we're talking about Kojima. It's going to be amazing.

'CUPHEAD' GETS ITS DUE

One of my favorite games this year is "Cuphead." The indie darling is a challenging sidescroller in which players fight a constant barrage of bosses. The kicker is that the entire game looks exactly like a 1920s cartoon, complete with hand-drawn frames and a stellar jazz soundtrack to tie it all together.

As expected, "Cuphead" won best art direction, but it's still great to see such a risky, ambitious and passionate indie project be recognized. "Cuphead" also won best indie game and best debut indie game but somehow, inexplicably, lost best music. Can't win 'em all, I guess.

'HORIZON ZERO DAWN' SHUT OUT

"The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild," "Super Mario Odyssey," "Horizon Zero Dawn" and "Destiny 2" each received six nominations. "Horizon Zero Dawn" won nothing.

I guess that's a testament to how great a year for video games 2017 really was. If "Horizon"—a rare new franchise that features phenomenal gameplay, a beautiful world, lovable characters and an intriguing story—can't win a single award, we truly are blessed as gamers.

I'm still salty about it, though.

At least "Destiny 2" didn't win anything, either. Yes, I know I loved the game when it came out, but ask any fan and he or she will tell you Bungie really dropped the ball in making "Destiny 2"—a game to which you're eager to return. There's a reason I haven't reviewed its first expansion.

THE LIVE ORCHESTRA

For the first time, The Game Awards featured a live orchestra. To announce the game of the year nominees, the band played music from all of them.

Best of all was when the group played the catchy "Super Mario Odyssey" song "Jump Up, Super Star!", which has been a beloved tune since it was first heard at E3 this summer. The singer from the song even came out and performed live with the band. It was wonderful.

The Game Awards seem to improve each year. It can still be messy and embarrassing at times, but that's all part of the fun. In the end, I'm glad gaming is popular and loved enough to warrant a show celebrating those who make the games we love to play.

See you next year.


Video game columnist Jake Magee has been with GazetteXtra since 2014. His opinion is not necessarily that of Gazette management. Let him know what you think by emailing jmagee@gazettextra.com, leaving a comment below, or following @jakemmagee on Twitter.


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