The Insight: Our Newest Intern Reviews Geoff’s Game Awards – And Looks Forward To Ours!

Ticket sales for the New York Game Awards will help to fund ongoing nonprofit programs for 2023, and are on sale here. Tickets cost $40 for General Admission and $75 for Orchestra (closest to the stage). Phil Spencer will be in town as our Legend Winner! Get tickets before they sell out!

By Jatin Gundara

As we look forward to our New York Game Awards on January 17th, the world’s biggest awards show last night proved that gamers around the world were left with a glimpse into the future of the industry – and many compelling game trailers. In front of a live audience at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California, the 2022 Game Awards were put on by host Geoff Keighley as a celebration of all we as a community love about the art form that is video games. After a show chock-full of game announcements, live performances, awards, and even a few familiar faces (NYVGCC Board member and former President of Nintendo of America Reggie Fils-Aimé and future New York Game Awards Legend Award recipient Phil Spencer), it’s clear that the big show was a another success.

One of the highlights (and detriments) of the night were the numerous “world premieres” which showcased games revealed for the first time at the show. Being a first-time viewer of the Game Awards, I was surprised and at times even overwhelmed by the amount of reveals that were able to fit into the stream. While exciting, the spacing between the premieres made the show feel both exhausting and exhaustive towards the end.  Even so, out of all the premieres some of the most substantial (and surprising) included Hades II, Death Stranding II, and Armored Core VI. Despite the huge amount of notable reveals throughout the show, some of my personal favorites included EarthBlade from the creators of Celeste, Behemoth, a VR game with striking visual callbacks to 2005’s Shadow of the Colossus, and Horizon: Call of the Mountain, the newest entry in the Horizon series.

In addition to the “world premieres,” the awards also provided the viewers with numerous opportunities to receive new information on previously announced games. New trailers for the highly anticipated Final Fantasy XVI, Jedi Survivor, Tekken 8, and a release date for Street Fighter 6 all provided substantial excitement for future releases. New footage for the upcoming Super Mario movie was also shown during the latter part of the night – building up even more anticipation for the film’s 2023 debut.

While the awards categories may have felt too interspersed in between all of the “world premieres,” it’s not to say that they weren’t exciting. To no one’s surprise the two most highly awarded games during the show were Sony of Santa Monica’s God of War: Ragnarök (six awards), followed by FromSoftware’s groundbreaking RPG Elden Ring (four awards). While the violent but touching Ragnarök may have won more awards, the wonderful and odd Elden Ring walked away with Game of the Year. Also notable, Final Fantasy XIV won the awards for community support and best ongoing game, displaying how relevant the 12-year old MMO continues to be in the modern gaming landscape.

As signified by the cheers in the audience during its announcement, The Legend of Zelda Tears of the Kingdom won the most anticipated game award, begging the question as to whether its fan support could peg it as a nominee for multiple awards in 2023. And breaking the pattern of expectation, it was to my surprise when I found that Riot Games’ Valorant beat out League of Legends in the category for best esports game. This surprise was further accentuated by the fact that the League World Championships won the category for best esports event, while League of Legends: Arcane won best adaptation for the animated show on Netflix. 

In addition to the substantial amount of game reveals and awards, the selection of presenters ensured the show felt refreshing and new with each new award. From Oscar award-winning actor Al Pacino to the wildest of the Muppets, the presenters ensured that lulls between the meaty portions of the show felt entertaining. However, during the concluding speech of the show, an audience member rushed up to the stage and quickly declared that he dedicated the GOTY award to his “Orthodox Rabbi Bill Clinton.” While the individual was apprehended and no substantial damage was made, this event will surely be talked (and memed) by the community, and will encourage future awards shows to bolster security. In addition to the superb presentation, multiple musical performances also took place during the show. While the performances by recording artists Hozier and Halsey were somewhat unenjoyable for me (possibly due to my lack of recognition for the music they performed), the final medley by the aptly named Game Awards Orchestra truly made the show.

As another year comes to a close, the 2022 Game Awards have not only enlightened us as a community to the excellence which we are lucky enough to experience in a medium as rich as video games, but have also provided us with an unprecedented opportunity to celebrate said medium. Geoff Keighley and the entire team at the Game Awards are doing a service to the community, the industry, and the culture with this glitzy show, and I hope they continue for many years to come.

We hope that our 12th Annual New York Game Awards on January 17, 2023, while smaller, will continue to be the more soulful event as it showcases our nonprofit work with underserved and homeless students along with members of The Daily Show, cohost Reggie – and Phil Spencer, who’ll receive our coveted Andrew Yoon Legend Award. And many awards as well! Get tickets here!

Jatin Gundara, our newest NYVGCC writing intern, won our nationwide Fair Game Writing Challenge, which is a Critics Circle partnership with Games for Change.

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