The Game Awards — Geoff Keighley’s pet project that’s a bit like the Oscars and a lot like a three-hour advert with the actual awards hastily shoved in the cracks — took place last night, and although a lot of things happened during those three hours (plus the 30-minute pre-show), not much of it was destined for the Nintendo Switch.
We recently looked back over Nintendo’s best and worst years at The Game Awards since its inception, and with Breath of the Wild and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate dominating proceedings in past years, we expected something from Nintendo — some nugget of a first-party announcement or other.
But no. Here’s a brief summary of what was announced for Switch (or assumed to come to Switch):
Of course, there were plenty more games that didn’t announce platforms just yet, and we’d love to see games like Thirsty Suitors and Have A Nice Death in our hands some day, but otherwise, the showing over those three hours wasn’t particularly thrilling for Switch-only owners.
Alongside the game announcements, there was also a trailer for the Sonic the Hedgehog movie sequel, and Metroid Dread won Best Action/Adventure. Shockingly, despite dominating the shortlist, Nintendo did not win Best Family — that honour went to It Takes Two, a game that unflinchingly deals with the impending divorce of two parents, and has a bit where they kill a stuffed animal while it begs for mercy.
All in all, my general take is that it really didn’t need to be that long. Three hours is a lot of time to spend doing anything, let alone at a time that was pretty darn late in the day for almost everyone — setting a live event at 5pm on almost the very last time zone on Earth is going to be inconvenient for pretty much anyone east of Los Angeles. It’s an odd choice for an event with such a global reach.
Plus, I know it’s not really news at this point, but if something bills itself as an awards show, it’s a bit strange to treat those same awards as a mild inconvenience in-between trailers and movie adverts.
And to relegate some of those awards to a less-than-a-minute long feature in the pre-show just shows the true sentiment behind The Game Awards: Despite being nominally an awards show for games, the people in charge evidently don’t consider things like Games For Impact, Audio Design, and eSports worth their time, since they weren’t even in the main show.
Another topic that caused a lot of anger on social media was Geoff Keighley’s approach to the reckoning going on in the industry right now. At the top of the show, Keighley spoke out against harassment, albeit non-specifically (transcription by IGN):
“The games we play and the games that we love teach us that we can impact the world around us, and tonight I call on everyone to do their part to build a better, safer video game industry. Speak out online, vote with your time and with your dollars, empower these world builders who are creating the future of all entertainment.”
This mealy-mouthed statement was then followed-up by games and announcements from Quantic Dream, Bungie, Ubisoft, Riot, and Naughty Dog.
The show wasn’t without the odd highlight. We’re big fans of Supergiant Games and Darren Korb, for instance. And Doug Bowser looked positively pocket-sized standing on stage beside 6-foot 8-inch basketball player Paul George.
But it was hard to come away from the show without feeling short-changed and disappointed at best, or angry at worst.
But tell us: What were your thoughts on this year’s Game Awards? Did you feel satisfied at the end of the show? What would you change for next year?