Well, That Was A Thing: On the 2016 Game Awards
December 02, 2016

Awards shows are always bloated, self-involved trash, but few shows inspire my body to recoil backward with white-hot intensity the way The Game Awards often do. There were a few pleasant moments: Geoff Keighley's speech to Hideo Kojima made me deeply uncomfortable, but it clearly came from a space of genuine affection. The speech from the dude that made That, Dragon Cancer was touching and represented the changing tableau of video games. But those moments were life rafts in a sea infested with unadulterated advertisements and corporate-sponsored sewage masquerading as jokes. Iíd say whoever signed off on the Sentient Razor From Hell should be shot into space and forced to listen to Duke Nukemís very timely jokes from the Bulletstorm remaster for the rest of eternity, but that would mean that person still gets to go to space and thatís not really a punishment. Also, the only black people I remember seeing during the show were Killer Mike and Rae Sremmurd, so that was cool.

Regardless, the main (only?) reason this show still happens are the game premieres, and some of the games looked really cool, so letís get to those:

Death Stranding

Kojimaís brand of cinematic insanity has always intrigued me from a distance, but being forcefully untethered from Solid Snake seems to have pushed him to another level. Why is there a fetus in a mason jar? Why is Guillermo Del Toro carrying that jarred fetus? Why is there oil everywhere? How do those soldiers manifest out of that oil? Whatís up with Mads Mikkelsen's face? Did that doll just wink at me? I look forward to trying to make sense of it when the game comes out in 2027. However it turns out, it will be fascinating.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Iíve never played, or even been particularly interested in playing, a Legend of Zelda game. The art style of the series is usually dull in my eyes (high fantasy often bores me to tears), and the staid nature of the gameplay never gave me a reason to jump in. But this game seems different. The new art style is beguiling as hell. The open world is more intriguing to me than any other Zelda game has been before. I want to see what that bird-man (not THAT birdman, unfortunately) is all about. For the first time in my life, Iím interested in seeing what a Legend of Zelda game has to offer. Hereís hoping Nintendo can fulfill the promise of what theyíve shown so far.

Mass Effect Andromeda

The first footage of Mass Effect Andromeda was pretty underwhelming to me, so it was good to see what the main gameplay looks like. It still resembles the previous Mass Effect games, but there was plenty of material there to show that this is more than just another iteration. The combat looked energetic and varied, but the introduction of resource management and scouring planets for supplies is what caught my eye the most. Add this to the gameís plot, where you and your crew are searching for a hospitable planet, and the game gives off some serious No Manís Sky vibes. Bioware has a much better than Hello Games when it comes to making games I want to play, so Iíll hold out hope that they can create a universe that is actually worth exploring. EA still hasnít shown enough conversations for my liking, but trailers for games this big tend to paint in broad strokes. Action scenes are more marketable than multi-colored aliens talking to each other. Luckily, Mass Effect Andromeda appears to have much more going on than simple gunplay in space.

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honestgamer honestgamer - December 02, 2016 (05:07 PM)
The Legend of Zelda for the NES was my first exposure to the open-world game, before the open-world game was really a thing people loved like they do now. The series moved steadily away from that with nearly every successive installment, so I'm excited to see it finally returning home to what made it great in the first place.

Death Stranding does look utterly bizarre, and I'm excited to see if the gameplay can support its outlandish visuals. I suspect that it will be a rather standard game at its core with a lot of Kojima-speak that tries to convince people we're playing something as fresh as its aesthetic, but I also suspect that people will be entertained. And that's really what games are about, so I'm currently on board.

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