A few weeks ago, I wrote about CBS Sports covering various stops on the World Series of Video Games Tour. This past Sunday, CBS aired its coverage of the Louisville stop on the Tour. In honor of such an occasion (and to get out of seeing Hairspray), I decided, Diet Pepsi in hand and Inspiron burning my legs, to keep a journal of the telecast.
Coverage begins with the “CBS Sports Spectacular” montage. Tiger. Federer. COCKHAMMER. All the stars are on CBS! Dick Enberg just lit himself on fire in the bowels of Assembly Hall. But I am glad CBS is sticking to its policy of not showing ninety percent of its “sporting” events in HD.
Here’s your host Greg Amsigner who throws it to co-host Susie Castillo. What LaLa wasn’t available?
Amsinger explains that the telecast will feature three competitions: Guitar Hero II, Fight Night: Round 3 and World of Warcraft (seriously). First up, Guitar Hero II.
So you’d figure that Guitar Hero II would be an easy fit for competition, it has a scoring system and maintains various statistics based on accuracy. Pretty straight-forward, right? Well apparently someone didn’t like that idea because Guitar Hero II is a judged event. Yes, rather than have the competitors do the same song and rate on, you know, the point system devised by the creators or at least something objective like a combination of points and accuracy, there are three judges. There is a separate judge for song difficulty, accuracy and guitar style (like its some fucking air guitar contest). A big thing on the Guitar Hero circuit is playing behind the head, its their Triple Lutz.
After a brief recap of the earlier rounds, the finals are set. It all comes down to American Nikolai Shish and David Briers, a South African. Up first, Shish.
I’d love to describe the competition, but CBS is showing about 80% crowd and 20% game. Tough to get a handle on anything. Well, except for the guy on his cell phone giving devil horns. Congratulations, you’re an asshole.
As for the barefoot Shish, he ends up with a score of 28 (out of 30). Yawn.
Next up, Briers, who’d be way more cool if he’d just talk like anyone one of villains from Lethal Weapon 2. Frankly, I’d even take Murtaugh’s Popeye Questionnaire at this point.
In an amazing turn of events, Briers also ends up with a score of 28, setting-up a tiebreaker…that’s also judged.
However, CBS is saving that for the closer, which gives me little hope for what’s to come.
Next up is Fight Night: Round 3. According to the pre-final recap, the finalist are on the same “team”. To explain, gamers, for the purpose of training, travel and sponsorships (I imagine), band together in “teams”. These often, however, come off only slightly less gay than Team Rocket.
Anyway, it’s white guy, Colin “King Hippo” Fogle (relation to Jared unknown) versus Kendall Smith, a skinny black guy playing out of the University of Cincinnati. I wonder how Jimmy the Greek would have broken down this one? It’s everyone’s loss as these guys square-off in what has to be the most boring boxing match in video game history. Incredibly disappointing, this should have been the most exciting event.
Smith takes the unanimous decision, leading to the compulsory awkward interview with Amsinger.
Third on the slate, World of Warcraft. After a tutorial on what roles mages, warriors and healers play in the game, they introduce the finalist teams of Pandemic and Insurrection. No females on either side. Mind-boggling.
Actually, they also ran a feature on some mafia themed team (which CBS probably prayed to make the final) with a coach called “The Godfather”. Unfortunately, after his team crapped out early on, he didn’t get ambushed at a tollbooth or have a heart attack, while running through a computer field. Without its cartoon villain, CBS relies on ultra-lame trash talk to build up this finals match-up.
As for the rules, teams of three battle in a melee and…screw it, it was a absolute blowout in favor of Pandemic, no need to explain more. Actually, to be honest, despite the abortion of commentary (I wish I had the tape of the video game consultant trying to explain to Amsigner and Castillo what goes on during a Warcraft melee) the action is by far the most exciting of the telecast. Lots of flashing numbers.
Saving the closest competition for last, we go back to the Guitar Hero II tiebreaker. This time the finalists will play the same song, at the same time. The song: Jordan, which for those who don’t know, is regarded as the most difficult song in the game.
Jordan begins and the finalists begin Guitar Hero-ing all over the place. While the crowd of 100 goes bananas, all I can hear is missed note after missed note. It’s so awful, that at one point, Briers the South African, decides to take a break and ignores twenty straight notes.
The song ends and the Shish smashes his guitar, demonstrating that he has a strength score of somewhere above 10.
As for the stats, Briers hits at 84%, Shish fires off at 81%. I’m sorry, Jordan or not, if you are at the World Series of Video Games shouldn’t you be at least be able to hit 90%? I figured that the reason for the theatrics was because otherwise, it’d be 100% after 100%, but even on the songs that they chose, they’re only hitting in the low 90s.
Now for the all-important judging. The difficulty judge, of course, gives them the same rating, which is far and away the most logical aspect of this entire Guitar Hero competition. For accuracy, the judge gives them the same score of 9, which is weird because at around 80% you’d figure an 8 would be more appropriate. As for the style judge, he gives Shish a 10 and revokes Briers’s diplomatic immunity, giving him only a 9. USA takes home the gold!
As the show concludes they give a preview of the next edition in Dallas, including guest judge Vince Neil! Well now I just have to watch.
That’s all for now.