Ever wonder what it’s like for the press and our foray into Spike TV’s Video Game Awards? Ask no more because I’ll be giving you some firsthand accounts of my experience covering the event this past weekend. Mind you, I have little no experience in red carpet junkets and press room shindigs so bear with me.
14:00 PST – L.A. Live West Garage
Spike TV coordinators handed me a press badge to handle the red carpet event. I made my way upstairs, worried that I might be a bit late. On my way up, I realized this was Los Angeles. No one is ever on time.
14:15 PST – Red Carpet
The red carpet was still in the process of being set up. There were a few game displays featuring Uncharted 2, Gran Turismo 5, Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, etc.; sadly, I didn’t have a chance to give some of the titles a test run. I unloaded my cargo, sifting through my bag for camera equipment. Secure around my neck, I ended up passing the time chatting with other journalists next to me.
14:45 PST – thatgamecompany, Sefton Hill, Infinity Ward
The first guests to roll through the carpet were none other than Kellee Santiago and Jenova Chen from thatgamecompany. They were both gracious with their time, answering questions with thoughtful answers, especially regarding the state of indie games. Sefton Hill, from Rocksteady Studios, was another amazing red carpet guest. His enthusiasm was infectious, especially in regards to Batman: Arkham Asylum and the critical success it’s become. Jason West and Vince Zampella, the Infinity Ward guys, strolled along, seemingly relishing in their commercial success. Perhaps I should have strayed away from some uncomfortable questions, such as the PC boycott, but I posed them anyway and received mediocre responses. My red carpet score? 2-1.
17:00 PST – The Guild and Mark Hamill
With the red carpet winding down, I didn’t expect any high profile guests to show up. I’m glad I didn’t put away my camera because guests from The Guild and the Mark Hamill showed up! Felicia Day is awesome as an interviewee; I think Sandeep may have been a little camera shy that day because he took a backseat during the interview. And then Mark “OMG it’s Luke Skywalker and The Joker” Hamill showed up. Needless to say, there were plenty of collective nerdgasms as throngs of journalists crowded around. By the time the red carpet junket was over, my score stood at 5-1. Not bad for a first time run, no?
18:05 PM – Press Room
Weary from standing up for hours on end, I was happy to head over to the press room. My happiness faded when I saw the dinky space. Hard plastic chairs, rows of tightly squeezed tables and lack of food awaited me. The reason for my complaint? I heard the wonders of last year’s press room: leather cushioned seats, ample space and snacks! I shrugged and tried to make the best of the situation. I settled down and entered a live chatroom to discuss the reveals with fellow fans. Things only got worse. We were watching the live feed, but every time an exclusive trailer came up, a VGA placard was placed over it, effectively blocking our view! Essentially, fans knew more about what was going on than we, the effin’ press, did! We missed the Batman: Arkham Asylum sequel, Star Wars: Force Unleashed sequel, True Crime and Tron Evolution trailers. Nerdrage was in full force and we demanded they fix the damn feed before a revolution of geekdom doom took place.
20:00 PST – In the End
It took almost halfway through the awards show before Spike TV finally fixed the feed and we could watch trailers. The first one we caught was Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands. Happy that order was restored, we resumed chat activities and discussed with rabid fervor what the next reveal would be, who was wrongfully robbed and if the awards show was being fair. Lively discussion aside, I did note that this year’s VGA’s focused a bit more on the games than the celebrities. All in all, most of the winners deserved the nod. Sure, there were some things I griped about, but I couldn’t really complain about which game won.
20:30 PST – Nay to Par-Tay
Some members from Capcom were holding a party, celebrating their win. Naughty Dog was getting down and dirty in Downtown Los Angeles. It should have been a wild night of reveling. However, skipping lunch, standing for hours at the red carpet and then doing live coverage of the show with only caffeine to keep me going took a heavy toll. I had to raise the white flag and searched for much needed sustenance. And then I promptly passed out from food coma. Lame. I know. But next year, I’ll definitely be attending these parties. I don’t think I’ll be offering any post-party analysis, though. Drunken nights of mayhem never end well.
Jinkwell’s Last Thoughts
The red carpet and press room coverage were certainly new to me. It’s a thankless job, but someone’s gotta do it. It was fun simply because I had the opportunity to talk to some amazing developers in the industry and hang out with fellow gamers. Would I do it again? Only if I’m invited to some after parties.
*P.S.: If you want to catch the interviews conducted, they’ll be posted up on Gaming Angels.