There’s a school of thought that points to High Times magazine as a major contributor to the continued prohibition of marijuana. As the arbiters of a certain kind of marijuana culture — the giggling, dreadlock wearing, post-hippie navel-gazing segment — they represent the face of anti-prohibitionists for better or worse. High Times presents an immature view of the average, college-aged, hippie smoker wearing hemp pants and druggy grin in front of a few ounces of OG Kush.
Invariably, when anti-prohibition protests show up on television, they’re filled with college kids and hippies, and the majority of the world hates those groups, breeding a lack of sympathy. This goes for pretty much any protest in North America, but in the case of pot it’s mixed with pervasive ideas of “reefer madness”. The implication is that if these protests were populated by people in power suits who might be fresh from the office, their causes would be taken seriously.
Such as it is with G4TV. The Canadian Video Game Awards had all the makings of a professional celebration of Canadian talent, but a television deal with G4 prevented it from maturity. Instead, they treated the industry audience (at a mean age of 40, I would say) to an endless string of bad sketch comedy and jokes about Metal Gear Solid.
G4 is the High Times of the video gaming world, and its perpetuation of the image of the average gamer — a stoned 14 year-old who relishes his next chance to butcher a digital hooker while listening to Killswitch Engage — strikes major blows to the legitimacy of the medium on a daily basis.
Having fun with a medium with “game” right in the title is not a bad thing. I’m not anti-fun, but it does highlight part of the reason why major publications snubbed the awards, and why video games are falling into the same trap comics are just now starting to escape from — the perception of being primarily for children.
The awards themselves were well planned, well executed, and generally receptive to innovation. The metric ton of awards given to Capybara Games and their wonderful Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP is a vote of confidence from an industry willing to embrace games as art, but nobody is sending the memo to the most visible outlet dedicated covering the medium. That isn’t saying much with a commentariat that is so fractious, but television still holds sway, and G4 has decided to keep the industry in the dark ages, maintaining a worthwhile show roster of one with Reviews on the Run.
Perhaps the most egregious offence at the CVAs wasn’t the fault of the immaturity imparted by G4’s involvement. The so-called Player’s Choice Award was presented to the game with the highest sales, an award specifically presented by an executive from show sponsor Future Shop. At least the Grammys and Oscars gussy up sales awards with a little bit of pageantry.