Every year, Geoff Keighley is drawn to our world like a great extradimensional lamprey, lured in from the outer dark by the scent of fresh games. From the moment he shimmers into reality, deep within a black ziggurat under the city of Los Angeles, he cares for only two things: Summer, and Games (and invariably in the winter, Awards). Thus transfixed, he works without pause, hoarding more and more trailers as the Earth hurtles towards perihelion with the sun.
This year's Summer Game Fest had a strangely messianic tone. In reality, the Fest is a pretty simple marketing instrument, a two hour ad break, if you will. But from Geoff's heart-deep thanks to all the companies without whom it could not have happened, you'd be forgiven for thinking it was a charity gig. I have nothing against Geoff Keighley. He seems to be a very hard-working, affable fellow, who merely wants to nurture his strange and ever-swelling son, Gamesummer.
Geoff Keighley the brand, however, is weird.
I don't know whether it's just the incremental Geoffrication of the reveals season as the years go by, or whether it was the general eerieness that Covid has cast over all former live events, but last night had a particularly piquant sense of weirdness to it.
A titanic Jeff Goldblum, staring emotionlessly down onto Geoff, before completely mangling a bit about forgetting his name. Geoff, yelping, "This is Weezer!" in a tone that was 80% warcry and 20% apology, to a completely empty studio. Or the preamble to the above, where Geoff announced that viewers could co-stream the song without fear of copyright strike, as if he was revealing that humans could now fly.
Perhaps it was Weezer themselves that sent the show wobbling down the incline of the uncanny valley. Just, the fact that it was Weezer, trudging their way through a song in the middle of a PS2-looking rendered skate park. In the year 2021. During a pandemic. As thousands of angry men silently shouted the words "ELDEN RING" in a chat box beside them.
Alas, the real peak of it all - at least for me - came a few minutes before Weezer, after the announcement of a bunch of new cosmetics for astronaut betrayal game Among Us. Following the footage, Keighley lit up with a broad grin, and announced that as a reward for watching fifteen minutes or more of the Fest's stream on Twitch, players of Among Us would receive a Geoff Keighley mask as an in-game cosmetic. Apparently, the mask is gaming's equivalent of the McRib, having made its debut during the Game Awards last year.
I just don't know what conclusion to draw from that, to be honest. I don't know what's more odd. 1) that the photorealistic face of a games show host was greenlit as a logical choice for an in-game reward, 2) that it was given as a reward for watching the man it depicted, or 3) that the whole business was popular enough to merit an encore.
Whatever the case, a man gave away his own face as an incentive for people to watch him give away his face, only on a different streaming platform, and I'm suddenly really feeling my years. Honestly, if Geoff can pull that off with a smile and an intact mind, then all the more power to the man.