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The 2014 Vidya Gaem Awards Interview

vidya gaem awards 2014

The lovely people over on 4chan’s video game board, /v/, have been putting together a video game awards show, as they have done every year for a while now. I decided (fully cognizant of the risks) to talk to them about the annual event, and managed to contact two of the executives on the show, PhoneEatingBear and Beatstar. The following interview resulted.

The exchange has been proofread and re-ordered for ease of reading.


Niche Gamer: For those of our readers who don’t know, would you explain what the /v/GAs are?

PhoneEatingBear: The /v/GAs are a video game award show created by /v/ because all other award shows are shit and award shitty games. The /v/GAs exist in order to award the games that are actually fun and deserve acknowledgement, as well as to rip apart games that are overhyped.

Beatstar: Well, the show is blessed in that it’s user-nominated and voted. Contrast that with Spike’s VGA/VGX and then the spiritual successor, The Game Awards. You know, where the award winners are selected by a secret committee of “journalists and experts” first, and voters only in certain categories.

NG: Right. It’s for the people, by the people. Do you think the average person knows what a “good” game is? There’s an argument to be made that games writers, developers, critics, etc. know better what a “good” game is.

PEB: There is no such thing as a good game, all games are shit. There are just games that aren’t as bad as others.

BS: Well, the people that work on the video games are certainly knowledgeable about the work it takes to make a game: certainly effort is effort, but the problem is that there is a complete lack of ethics in the gaming industry among journalists.

PEB: But that sure is a different topic.

NG: What are you two responsible for with the awards show?

PEB: We are essentially responsible for the entire show, besides running the website. I handle a majority of the video aspect, and making sure things are on time. Beatstar is really fantastic in keeping me in check and good at PR with the people working on it, something I just can’t handle.

NG: I know you’re returning from last year, PhoneEatingBear. You produce, direct and edit the /v/GAs. Tell us a little about what goes into that. And Beatstar, what does your role involve?

PEB: I want to shout out to the whole team because I think this is the first year we have had a good amount of people return for another year. I dabble in everything but I mostly focus in the video department, it wasn’t until later in the development that I started to do everything else.

BS: I started working on 2012’s show as a voice actor, but I was really interested in the intricacies of how the show worked so I asked if there were any other areas I could help in. Sure enough, I found myself helping write part of the award speeches for the show and producing, to a small extent.

PEB: I guess I started in 2012, technically, because I did do two special awards for fun and I wanted to do that again in 2013, then it sucked me in.

NG: Let’s talk numbers. How many people work on the /v/GAs each year? How many man hours would you say go into one award show? I know you accept skit submissions each year; how many do you have to sift through? (These don’t have to be perfectly accurate numbers, just your estimates/impressions.)

BS: Well, it depends on the year. 2012 was a plethora of talent, and there were roughly 40 people working on it that year. Most of that had to do with the decision by the producer to have as many people involved in the show as possible.

PEB: I don’t know how many people worked on 2011 and 2012 except for a few people. It’s really tough to estimate but I want to say about 20-30 people because people come in and contribute one small thing here and there. Now for man hours, I would say too many go into the awards. We never get enough skits, especially last year I had to get some people I knew and get them to make a skit because we barely had any. I hope people submit skits this year because there is a prize of money.

BS: For the 2012 show, there was a voice actor for every award, and an incredible amount of skits. But the inclusion of a few too many skits was a bit hectic.

NG: I did think 2012 went on for a bit too long.

PEB: Well, to be fair, when they went through the skits to choose it was a really weird day, I don’t remember who else was there but I remember being there and it being like 4 a.m. so I was laughing at anything I would see. When I saw them during the awards I was horrified at what I thought was good.

BS: 2013’s show was a lot more closely knit, with about a little less than 20 people ending up being credited. While there were just as many VA applicants, we stuck to a small number and curated skits a lot more closely.

This year; we’re blessed to have people from 2011, 2012, and 2013 coming back to work on the show, but it’s equally just as important to give talent that hasn’t been in the show a chance to shine. There’s a whole new writing team, and a great selection of voice actors eager to work on the show. It is ambitious, but we plan to repeat 2013’s conciseness with a bit more content, just appropriately placed this time around.

NG: 2014 was a tumultuous year. The 2013 /v/GAs foreshadowed Gamergate, what with Gone Home‘s skewering throughout. And /v/ has certainly had its share of problems with the gaming press, as you point out, PhoneEatingBear. Is Gamergate going to be addressed at all, or is it going to be the proverbial elephant?

PEB: We had long, long, long, long conversations between everybody on the award show, since it (Gamergate) started during the summer, about whether we wanted to cover it or not, and eventually we all agreed that it doesn’t have to do with giving awards to games.

NG: Is there anyone still with the team from the original 2011 /v/GAs?

PEB: Ryan Dell (the 2011 editor) lives on in my heart. [pause] Well, actually, the logo this year was made by him ’cause he is a friend of mine and a fantastic graphic designer now.

BS: Yeah, there are quite a few folks working on the show. I started working on the show in 2012, but Cluey & Segab (video team) are still here from 2011. Ryan Dell worked on 2014’s logo. Clamburger, the webmaster of the /v/GA site, is also with us.

PEB: Oh, and I also asked Stuff3 (the 2012 editor) to come back and make a new preshow mix which he is currently in the process of.

NG: You mentioned skits. Are you still accepting submissions? And the reward is $25, is that correct?

PEB: Yeah, its coming out of my pocket which in retrospect I regret but I’m sticking to my word.

BS: We’ll be accepting submissions all the way until a week before the show premieres. That deadline will probably be the 24th of this month (January).

PEB: We are accepting submissions until a week before the awards are shown, so the 24th will be the final deadline. We plan on streaming on the 31st.

NG: People trolled hard last year with Monster Girl Quest Chapter 3. What was that about?

PEB: DID THEY TROLL? OR WAS MONSTER GIRL QUEST TRULY DESERVING? WE WILL NEVER KNOW.

BS: Well, /v/ got what they voted for. It could have been a last ditch effort to confirm whether or not the show was “rigged”. Either way: they voted what they believed should win, and we honored and revealed the results like we do every year.

PEB: I do kind of appreciate Monster Girl Quest Chapter 3 winning awards because it really [underscores] why the show exists: it’s for games like that, so they’re able to have a chance.

NG: A lot of people must have voted for it to get an award. I doubt most of those votes were genuine, but it does give the spotlight to a game that would never even get a mention at other award shows.

Some people claim that Reddit instead of /v/ is really responsible for the /v/GAs. Care to clear this up for me?

PEB: I don’t get how people still say that because like, we filter the votes, and you can see the complete difference of the votes between Reddit and /v/.

BS: There was a claim of Nighthood (the guy who created the first show and then rode into the sunset) being a Redditor, but there has always been a system in place that has prevented Reddit from voting on the awards.

NG: How do you do that, filter votes? Or can’t you say?

PEB: I keep forgetting if it’s secret or not so I just never really explain and tell people to ask Beatstar.

BS: The voting system is set up to ensure that, if you are from /v/, your vote is counted. Any other site is discarded in the voting process. I’m proud to say that, this year, there have been no signs of Reddit attempting to vote on the awards.

PEB: It’s fucked up, and my only theory is that they don’t care anymore.

BS: Inevitably, every year, a few sites catch wind of the voting and try to add their choices: the voting system segregates these votes and lists them by site.

NG: What did you think of Geoff Keighley’s Game Awards last year? I can see it maybe becoming something worthwhile. If it does, are the /v/GAs going to stop? They arose, after all, as a result of /v/ hating Spike’s video game award shows.

BS: Let me be blunt. (Gamers, forgive me for this sentence:) Keighley’s show did a few things right. It was one of the sleekest looking award shows I have viewed in a while. They showcased content on a level comparable to E3, and they brought a bunch of internet celebrities to the table to make a show gamers could, for once, love. But they still made the same mistake of putting profit and promotion over premise. “Games will rise”, but gamers were still ignored and the cutaway gimmicks the show had were nothing but cheap gags to space out the show.

PEB: Never watched them, and I didn’t care at all about them. Again, it’s all down to a limited amount of people who choose what they thought was good. [pause] I’m going to be playing a bad game with my friend because I hate myself and I have bad taste in vidya, for a bit, so if you have any last questions PM me.

[PhoneEatingBear loads up Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.]

BS: It might seem pretentious, but somehow I feel that the /v/GAs had influenced Spike’s decision to make the VGX: I mean, that was a show that clearly had a slashed budget and barebones presentation. But Spike learned from that mistake to make a commercialized /v/GA. They dumped Keighley. Now the Doritopope is back and is serious about making a show that will end all shows.

It’s up to us, anyone and everyone who wants to work on this (the /v/GAs), to make a show that’s more direct, unfiltered, and raw with no budget. I look forward to seeing what we create.

NG: Thanks to the both of you for your time. I really appreciate it.


The 2014 Vidya Gaem Awards are planned to stream on January 31st on Twitch, and you can catch up with them after the fact there or on Youtube.

If you’d like to submit a skit, you can watch the instructions here. Those whose submissions are accepted into the show will receive $25 in Steam credit.

If you’ve never watched a Vidya Gaem Awards show, you can view the 2013 event, below.


Dimi Gronnings

About

With over ten years' experience as an editor, Dimi is Niche Gamer's Managing Editor. He has indefinitely put a legal career on hold in favor of a life of video games: priorities.



40 comments
  1. anon
    anon
    January 8, 2015 at 12:12 am

    Why do you think Monster Girl Quest was voted ironically? It’s a good game.

  2. Stuff3
    Stuff3
    January 8, 2015 at 1:11 am

    I came here just to post that! Who in the world is running this show?!?!?!

  3. Nin
    Nin
    January 8, 2015 at 1:53 am

    Clearly normalfags. /v/ is full of them, simply due to being one of the most popular boards. nnnThat aside, it isn’t for everyone, and the battles are more like a puzzle game than a traditional RPG (even if many fights in the 2nd part were simply combine Slyph and Gnome and most of the 3rd part is lol Salamander Daystar)..

  4. Mr0303
    Mr0303
    January 8, 2015 at 4:16 am

    “There is no such thing as a good game, all games are shit. There are just games that arenu2019t as bad as others.”nnWhat a joyless miserable person that must be. nnOf course they will not cover GamerGate. Last time I checked those discussions were silenced on 4chan.

  5. dsadsada
    dsadsada
    January 8, 2015 at 5:29 am

    Calling everything shit is normal in 4chan and saying that some things are less shit is the easiest way to lessen the likelihood of trolls arguing over whether something is good from my experience. My favorite troll post was the one essentially saying fun games are not in fact fun.nnAnd to be fair, Gamergate isn’t exactly a happy topic. I would prefer to keep it out as well for things like this. It’s not like any of us are going to forget overnight and they did discuss it over instead of just tossing it to the side.

  6. Lucas Osse
    Lucas Osse
    January 8, 2015 at 5:45 am

    I thought everyone moved to 8chan, I guess moot DDoS that website to drive back traffic.

  7. Mr0303
    Mr0303
    January 8, 2015 at 6:10 am

    So they are self censoring their speech to prevent trolling? Strange. It kind of does injustice to the games in question.nnMy point was that moot publically stated that GamerGate discussions are no longer welcome on 4chan so I doubt they have any say in the matter.

  8. Dimi Gronnings
    Dimi Gronnings
    January 8, 2015 at 8:08 am

    How many anons on /v/ do you think actually played it? My point was, it’s difficult to believe the game’s demographic was big enough that it would authentically win awards.

  9. Maximilian
    Maximilian
    January 8, 2015 at 8:17 am

    No, it’s an understanding that a game can be objectively shit whether you personally like it or not and only games that are actually good to the point you can argue strongly that they are are worth calling “good”. And moot has nothing to do with the /v/GAs and coudln’t stop anything if he wanted to.

  10. daggot
    daggot
    January 8, 2015 at 8:47 am

    I legit voted for monster girl quest 3 years in a row because i liked the games. This is the state of the video game industry

  11. Mr0303
    Mr0303
    January 8, 2015 at 8:52 am

    That is not what the quote says: “There is no such thing as a good game, all games are shit.”.nnIt gives out a general impression that the person doesn’t like games as a whole. nnFrom what you said I’d argue that no game is objectively shit unless it is broken. The objectivity around judging games is only on the technical level. Anything beyond that is subjective.nnI suppose he can’t stop the actual show, but he can ban everyone related to it afterwards.

  12. PhoneEatingBear
    PhoneEatingBear
    January 8, 2015 at 11:34 am

    its true I absolutely hate video games, thats why I play them so much and run an award show about them. Real talk though, dsadsada absolutely got it correct about everything.The issue with GamerGate isn’t censorship or anything, its just because it doesn’t have to really do with giving awards to games.

  13. Mr0303
    Mr0303
    January 8, 2015 at 11:42 am

    But of course! It is you! The guy I personally know for years! Indeed you play games 24/7 and I can witness it with my hidden cam in your home. I mean Joel McHale must have totally loved videogames since he hosted VGX alongside Geoff Keighley.nnReal talk though, I agree on the GamerGate part. An awards show is not the best place to mention it, but my point was that 4chan is not the best place to discuss the topic.

  14. Maximilian
    Maximilian
    January 8, 2015 at 11:43 am

    I had a response typed up but he’s here in the flesh to explain it himself. nnnnHello PhoneEatingBear, good luck and please make sure only the dankest of memes make the cut, kthx.

  15. Maximilian
    Maximilian
    January 8, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    Hope you’re monitoring this: Do you plan on filtering out 8chan votes too or will they get pooled? Pretty sure that’s where I voted.

  16. Dimi Gronnings
    Dimi Gronnings
    January 8, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    I’ve seen his game collection. It’s not unreasonable to believe he likes video games. :P

  17. Gristle
    Gristle
    January 8, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    [PhoneEatingBear loads up Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.]nnThank you for that.

  18. dsadsada
    dsadsada
    January 8, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    Pretty sure moot has no say on a show that will be streamed to Twitch or posted on youtube.

  19. Some furf
    Some furf
    January 8, 2015 at 7:02 pm

    I’m kinda looking forward to this one. THe /v/GAs are bad, but it’s a charming kind of bad and the awards are at least a little better than every other award show’s circlejerking over mainstream garbage..

  20. Anon
    Anon
    January 9, 2015 at 12:24 am

    It sounds like you don’t know how popular Monster Girls are in niche communities, like 4chan. Heck, I know people who wouldn’t touch the genre but recognize the name and a few characters. There’s quite a lot of cosplay out there from it, General thread on 4chan’s /vg/ board specifically for the game, and the translation patch recieved over 500,000 downloads.nnMonster Girl Quest is probably as popular as a hentai game can get.

  21. Ian Lamb
    Ian Lamb
    January 9, 2015 at 12:30 am

    Oh its tempted me to try it. I already went through the Muv Luv romp so why not go full out henti game instead?

  22. Ian Lamb
    Ian Lamb
    January 9, 2015 at 1:10 am

    Just then make Dragon’s Age get its due (IE nothing) and you will have done your job.

  23. dsadsada
    dsadsada
    January 9, 2015 at 1:15 am

    You can avoid a lot of the porn by simply not losing if you feel you’d rather follow the story at some point.

  24. 33
    33
    January 9, 2015 at 9:00 am

    Plenty of people have stayed on halfchan. I’d rather they remain there.

  25. Phil F.
    Phil F.
    January 9, 2015 at 10:34 am

    They’re still making these? I thought they stopped when reddit stuffed the ballot and made Portal 2/Bastion win almost all the awards.

  26. Koroma
    Koroma
    January 9, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    That purple girl is pretty cute.

  27. Matiz
    Matiz
    January 9, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    Most people are still buttmad about the 2011 show, even though they toned down those obnoxious skits and tried to make the voting as “reddit-free” as possible for later shows. Also, the staff is composed mostly of amateur voice actors looking for an easy way to add something for their resume.nnDank Memes and Portfolio Padding: The Award Show

  28. patyos
    patyos
    January 9, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    Monster Girl Quest is just way too Amazing

  29. Fenrir007
    Fenrir007
    January 9, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    MGQ was absurdly popular in /v/, with threads being kept up and well populated one after the other. Eventually, with the /vg/ split (which happened basically to put an end to permanent threads like the MGQ one), MGQ ended up with a dedicated thread for it that was heaviky populated even though there was another thread dedicated solely to Visual Novels in /vg/ as well.nnIf this isn’t a testament to how popular MGQ was, I don’t know what is. nnI, for one, voted for it, and my vote was serious.

  30. Fenrir007
    Fenrir007
    January 9, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    Are you filtering 8chan now? Also, are you filtering unreferred links?

  31. Fenrir007
    Fenrir007
    January 9, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    The second one onward was a lot more reflective of /v/’s tastes as a whole. The 1st one suffered from the whole “use steam to login”, so that skewed the votes as well.

  32. Fenrir007
    Fenrir007
    January 9, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    Since it’s all ephemeral on 4chan, it may be hard. Besides, it’s a phenomenon you could see from browsing it daily instead of fishing specific threads.nnNow, I do remember one thing. In the Rogue Translations blog, rogue said in the comments section that the dev behind MGQ offered to send him an early version of the game script so he could start translating it earlier and possibly release it simultaneously. This seems to confirm my suspicions – enough people in the west bought the game after playing the pirated abd patched versions to reward the developer, so much that he noticed the trend and thought it would be good business to allow us to get our hands on an unnofficial patch sooner rather than later.nnThis also ties in with many people mentioning they were buying the game on the /v/ threads and elsewhere. People would often post instructions on how to do it on the japanese website that had it up for sale.nnThis is all assumption on my part, though. Also, the comment section of his blog is huge, so if you plan on dumpster diving, it could take a while (it was in a post after MGQ2 was released, but before MGQ3 was out).

  33. Fenrir007
    Fenrir007
    January 9, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    Thanks for the interview, Dimi! This is why I come to this place.

  34. PhoneEatingBear
    PhoneEatingBear
    January 10, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    no memes

  35. Thanatos2k
    Thanatos2k
    January 11, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    It’s seriously an extremely good game, one I can never discuss with anyone offline.

  36. LamerGamer
    LamerGamer
    January 13, 2015 at 6:13 am

    I’m one of the writers for the /v/GA’s this year, as well as 2013. I’m an avid supporter of GamerGate, but that’s exactly why I agreed that we shouldn’t address it. Professionalism is a very key issue. The /v/GA’s is not an entity to identify and ally itself with, it’s an award show. Bringing a controversy into the picture won’t do anything for the credit of the show, or the ones running it.nnnIn short: We don’t want a hundred people dogpiling us, drawing conclusions about whether we do or do not support the issue. Individuals hold their individual opinion, and we just want the show to be a fun event for everyone, regardless of their stance.

  37. Mr0303
    Mr0303
    January 13, 2015 at 6:33 am

    I completely agree. My point was the 4chan censorship.

  38. Phasmatis75
    Phasmatis75
    January 19, 2015 at 12:03 am

    I’ve yet to play it, but from what I’ve heard about the game you could take all the sex scenes out and it would still be a great game.

  39. bsgentleman
    bsgentleman
    June 11, 2015 at 3:02 am

    I hate to be the guy to necro-bump this discussion, but what ever happened to Stuff3!?! It seems that all trace of this magnificent genius of an artist
    has been completely wiped out! Does ANYBODY on here know WHY???