4chan is a gigantic website for nerds posting nerdly things, including video games. Thanks to 4chan’s anonymity there are some cool things featured on it like vaguely reasonable debates with no pretension or fear of censorship, scans of old magazines previously thought to be lost, or obscure music not available anywhere else on the internet. It’s true that Anonymous has lost its bite when it comes to culture jamming, yet there remains the occasional tidbit of useful data on these boards if you can sort through the heavy cruft.
But 4chan is offensive to everybody, including its deranged users. It’s a puke-worthy, smelly, evil place that you can’t go to without having your retinas gouged by some (totally ironically posted) Sonic the Hedgehog feeder vore futanari DeviantArt masterpiece while a dozen cretins call you a nigger and post anime screenshots with captions also calling you a nigger. If you want to find one of the threads with useful stuff in it? Be prepared for hours amongst the dregs of the internet, and I speak as a battle-hardened web warrior. You could probably tattoo Goatse under my eyelids and I wouldn’t flinch, but 4chan has for the most part repulsed me.
A friend tells me that even other people on 4chan think its video games subforum is unreadably terrible. And he’s speaking as someone who frequents their political board, which is comprised entirely of blatant trolls, hyper-racists, and various other unrepentant assholes. Though I find it indistinguishable in regards to its grossness and mean-spiritedness, experts say that /v/ is even less tolerable than the rest. So when its denizens created their own video game awards show to counter the lies spread by various corporate salesmen, I wasn’t exactly rooting for them. 4chan would certainly be more objective than those phony critics, but the same could be said for the blackest pits of GameFAQs or Yahoo comments. But they’re at least trying to be good as opposed to trying to sell me things, so I checked them out.
The “2012 Vidya Gaem Awards” (totally NSFW and quite disgusting at points) is self-deprecating, insulting, crude, and slower than an Ingmar Bergman movie. This video takes nothing seriously except the quality of video games, and I appreciate that. It brazenly displays sexism, gay-bashing, and other jolly stuff for comedy value, yet it wants nothing more than to play good video games and talk about them.
It starts with the “Hyperbole Award” for best trailers, and yes, they were all genuinely good trailers. The guys responsible for this were probably jacking off to loli while they were assembling it, but they’re not wrong about video games so far. Somehow it is so.
The awards show a sense of humor completely lacking in the mainstream reviewers. The “Nature of a Man Award”, a reference to the excellent but slightly overrated Planescape: Torment. “Hamburger Helper Award”, a reference to the glorified yaoi fanfic writer Jennifer Hepler. The “Stop It Award” for much-deserved ridicule of franchises that have gone on way too long, contrasted with the “Not So Rehash Award” and “IP Twist Award” for those that haven’t. I can’t believe I’m saying something nice about 4chan, but this video doesn’t suck.
What’s next? Insane/embarrassing Japan stuff, including thick praise for the weaboo visual novel Katawa Shoujo, a game that had the perfect recipe for horribleness but turned out to be surprisingly adequate. It got nominated for a couple awards, but I could barely see it underneath all the insults directed towards Anita Sarkeesian, creator of the “Tropes vs. Women in Gaming” falderal. Apparently the stream’s chat was like three hours of rape threats towards her. That behavior is cruel, petty, destructive, and detrimental to their cause. I realize that Sarkeesian is a terrible person, but so are the morons on 4chan who made a game about punching her to a bloody mess.
Speaking of jerks who think that sexual abuse is the pinnacle of comedy, the 2012 Vidya Gaem Awards have some (quite justified) hatred towards YouTube superstar PewDiePie (he of the Slender video wherein he screams the word “rape” into his microphone), not to mention Mass Effect 3’s much-derided railroading and the ever-detestable My Little Pony fans. There’s also the “Fuck You Award”, “Most Hated Award”, “Meat & Fish Award”, “Kotick Award”, and “Malignance Award” and others dedicated to putting down irritating and/or overblown elements in the gaming world from 2012. There’s the “Press X to Win the Award”, a reference to lazy QTEs and dullard’s FPSes in place of challenging, rewarding gameplay; there’s some much-needed razzing of popular indie games (tempered with praise); there’s a bunch of unfunny comedy skits.
The show had lots of sketches; mostly unfunny bits (especially in the pre-game show) that consumed more time than the awards themselves, a show-stealer that is most unwanted. The Dark Knight Rises/Winnie the Pooh parody was more painful than when I had my wisdom teeth removed. After the halfway point of the video I was just skipping every skit to get to the parts I even slightly cared about. There were a couple of actual funny comedy segments, such as several that highlighted the most terrible aspects of DmC’s writing and the one showcasing a creepy fat nerd who bragged about having yellow fever. And I enjoyed every dig at Doritos/Mountain Dew I could find; the fact that those repulsive foodstuffs are associated with gamers is almost as much a stain on our reputations as how much we hate innovation, women, and black folks.
The Video Game Championship Wrestling pre-recorded short was an example of another underwhelming skit, and it definitely that falls short of VGCW’s greatness. Even Bazza said he was displeased with it and didn’t want to deal with the Vidya Gaem Awards ever again. I can’t imagine that working with people who live on 4chan could possibly be a pleasant experience.
And there were too many eyecatchers. You can turn your eyes to the top of the screen to see the title of what you’re watching, so is it really necessary to waste five seconds a several hundred times just to make sure no one was accidentally watching this thing while trying to view one of the millions of Koreans annihilating each other at Starcraft II?
But there’s one thing I really liked. The awards had detailed voting results with easily verifiable numbers to prove that the winners weren’t chosen by crooked judges in a secretive smoke-filled room. This is democracy whether you like the results or not. What’s more is that there were no URLs to games whatsoever, which further strengthens the creators’ claim that they spit on corporations and are completely honest, whatever their other (many) fault may be.
I found it hard to disagree with the majority of the winners. Everything they liked was worth liking and everything they mocked was deserving of mockery. They even picked fun at the stuff they liked; the pretty good Hotline Miami won several categories and was also nominated for Most Pretentious Indie Game.
The Vidya Gaem Awards are highly flawed and contain quite a few stupid moments but they also have most of what I’m looking for in an awards show: truth, demagoguery, and off-color mirth. I’d gladly watch it again rather than some meaningless fraudulent circle-jerk like the Oscars or Spike TV’s Video Game Awards. This doesn’t suddenly make 4chan a force for good, but I enjoyed a single thing that they created. It’s somehow worth your time.