Was VGX a Total Failure?

Was VGX a Total Failure?

The VGX! The flagship show for gamers by gamers. Well. that was the idea anyway. What we actually got instead was a show that awkwardly limped from one already known game to the next, with the odd joke aimed at transgenders thrown in. It was bad, as in really bad, and if these guys were your friends, you would’ve pulled them back and just told them to end it. But no-one could tell the VGX to end, as unfortunate as that was.

What’s wrong with a harmless awards show that is full of world premiere trailers? Well, that depends on the content of said show, and this year the content was sub-par to say the least. But it was the setting and the presenting that were abominable. The new format employed this year killed any sense of atmosphere, ensuring that it felt more like an awkward conversation with someone you didn’t particularly like but were forced to engage with nevertheless. That particular area was where the majority of the negative feedback was focused on, and deservedly so.


The VGAs have always been pretty stupid but at least still bearable. The awards really don’t matter,and still don’t; people just want the trailers for the most part. But the padding in between the awards is what holds everything together. Padding such as the show’s presenter. This year, that responsibility fell upon Community star Joel McHale, who unfortunately was operating at the level of Jamie Kennedy’s performance at E3 2007. McHale’s jokes were simultaneously generic, repetitive, and at times offensive (or inventive depending on your stance), making the whole show hard to watch. Even worse, given the new format, it gave McHale more screen time to say plenty of stupid, pointless stuff.

If things couldn’t have been any worse, they somehow managed to do just that with the introduction of the screaming rape-joke-a-minute man-child known as Pewdiepie. In a continuing trend of employing awful examples of videogame fans, he was there to demo a game, Dying Light, in his signature style. It’s yet another example of how out-of-touch the VGX show is when it comes to the central concept of ‘for the gamers, by the gamers’, which carried over to the bizarre selection of guests present, including somebody called Waves (?), who provided a clear sense of forced weirdness.


Trailer-wise, however, things were pretty much as expected, with some games making a surprising impact. The big-hitters got people hyped but it was a small title by the name of No Man’s Sky that usurped them all. This one game saved the whole VGX from being 100% irrelevant and pointless. The exposure No Man’s Sky received would’ve informed a whole host of people of its existence, and that is awesome. So very, very awesome. No Man’s Sky had a very short time on display and for it to have made an impact as strong as it did–based on the social network response and comments, at least–gave at least one huge positive to the trainwreck that was VGX.


It’s disappointing that VGX was such a hideous show. The sad thing, at least for me, is that I honestly believe co-host Geoff Keighley has the best intentions at heart. I feel he wants to create a show that videogame fans can truly invest into. The problem is that videogames are mainstream now, and the range of people who play them is increasingly making it difficult to please everyone. This year’s show did not feel like it was for fans of videogames–and by ‘fans’, I mean people who enjoy each element of the industry and its creations, not just the popular stuff. There was no heart, no feeling of enjoyment throughout the show, just forced jokes and bad puns.

How can the the show recover in the future? Can it even do that? The audience is still there, so it should be possible. From a personal viewpoint, I’d like to see the whole show reformatted with more focus on talking to the industry figures and developers of the games being demonstrated. No internet celebrities trying to push their name, no washed-up TV stars presenting, just keep it real and humble, as cheesy as that may sound. At the end of the day, No Man’s Sky was given a huge stage to impress and entice people, and it did, and that’s why the VGX wasn’t a total failure despite the overwhelming odds of it being just that.

Sean Halliday

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