My Night at the 2018 New York Video Game Awards
While in New York City for work last week, I stumbled into one of the greatest video gaming community experiences I've had in quite some time.
After noticing Pete Hines, SVP of PR at Bethesda Softworks (and fellow DC Resident), had posted on Twitter about being in NYC for an event, I did some investigation and discovered that the 2018 New York Video Game Awards were being held a mile away from my hotel in lower Manhattan that very same night. I immediately convinced myself that regardless of ticket price, I was going. With about an hour to spare, I bought my ticket (which thankfully only ran me $20), rushed to my hotel to change, and hopped in a cab.
For those unfamiliar with the event, the NYVGAs are held every January in New York City, and it celebrates the games, studios, and individuals that made an impact on the industry in the previous year. The event is organized by the New York Video Game Critics Circle - a diverse group of writers and journalists who are incredibly passionate about spreading the gospel of video games, and improving the lives of those within their community. Their dedication to the industry, excitement about creative work, and love for community was on full display as the night kicked off.
Hosted by Devin Delliquanti, the awards ceremony was an absolute joy from the start. In between discussion and reflections on games like Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey were some classic video game jokes (mostly at the expense of EA and Battlefront II), and entertaining video clips. Amongst the winners were Wolfenstein II for Best Writing (with which I wholeheartedly agree), Cuphead for Best Indie Game, and Super Mario Odyssey for Best Kids Game. Todd Howard was also recognized with the Andrew Yoon Legend Award, for his achievements as Game Director and Executive Producer of Fallout and The Elder Scrolls series. It was thrilling to be in the same room as some of the most creative developers, writers, and studio leaders who have worked on games that I love so damn much. Hopefully the guys from Bethesda weren't too creeped out after the show by my overly-enthusiastic thanks for building such an amazing experience in Wolfenstein...
What stuck with me, even a week after the event, was the tangible sense of unity in the room that evening. From the very start, it was clear that the New York Video Game Critics circle was comprised of some of the most appreciative and community-driven people I've met in this industry, and that theme bled into every conversation I had throughout the night. Even with literal industry icons in the room, like Melina Jurgens (voice of Senua from Hellblade) and Geoff Keighley (who is way taller in person, by the way), people were just happy to be there, sharing the experience with each other.
Events like this, that bring people together to celebrate the good in gaming, is what this industry needs more of. Sitting in my cab, slightly buzzed leaving the afterparty, I was grinning from ear to ear. And I still am.