Thursday, March 23, 2017

Cybermania '94!

In the mid-90s, TBS decided to host the "ultimate gamer awards show." The fact they never did another one tells you just how well this one went.


By: Jimbo X
@Jimbo___X

Over the years, numerous attempts at a video game awards show a'la the Oscars and the Grammys have come and gone. Naturally, none of them have had any staying power because, at heart, video game consumers and producers don't really give a shit about elitist affirmation. And really - who cares what Gamespot or Spike TV or EGM thought was the best strategy game of the calendar year, anyway?

Although the one-and-done Cybermania video game awards show from November 1994 wasn't the first attempt at developing a video game Emmys, so to speak, to the best of my knowledge it was the first time a major TV network tried to create a truly multimedia, nationally broadcast "interactive entertainment" tentpole spectacle. Of course, it was a colossal flop that nobody into video games or weird-ass digital entertainment found appealing, and in hindsight, the thing was downright embarrassing for everybody involved with it - the "winners" and performers included.

Still, as one of the first concentrated media efforts to make video games at least partially resemble a respectable, mainstream phenomenon, I suppose it is worth revisiting. I do remember watching it live back in the day - it aired at 4 in the afternoon on a Saturday, which is about as far away from primetime as you can schedule in anything - and even as a third-grader I felt extremely underwhelmed by what I witnessed. I still have vague recollections of the show - which was hosted by the oh-so-random combination of Leslie Nielsen and Home Improvement's Johnathan Taylor Thomas - but by and large, it just felt like a really, really half-assed attempt to pander to the fledgling video gamer subculture. So yeah, reflect on the absolute worst thing you ever saw on G4 around 2004, amplify that by about 10,000, and that's the sort of cringe we're talking about here

But why let my foggy remembrances tell you the story when you can just boot up the original broadcast - complete with its quarter century old commercials - on the YouTube anytime you want and relive the groan-inducing failure of an awards show as if it was actually happening?

Oh, you know you want all of this. You really, really do, even if you keep telling me "no, for real, Jimbo, don't nobody anywhere want this."

Alright, so we begin our TBS broadcast (which, certainly, wasn't aired live) with a quick intro from JTT accompanied by a quick-cut montage of NBA Jam, NHL '94 and Aladdin on the Genesis. Then we throw it to a cold opening with a cutscene from Miramar Productions' The Gate to the Mind's Eye, which looks like a really shitty, Blade-Runner inspired re-do of Sewer Shark. A disembodied announcer lets the viewing audience at home know this thing is coming out of Universal Studios Hollywood LIVE (but not really), referring to the shindig as "a celebration of the best in computer, cartridge and interactive entertainment." He then gives JTT and Nielsen their proper introductions, describing them as our "very live and very interactive hosts."

To "boot up" the show, an actress portraying Hillary Clinton comes out. She tries to turn on a computer monitor in the middle of the stage, and when Leslie plugs in an extension cord, the computer explodes and Clinton walks off with black soot all over her face. The audience ... doesn't really know how to react to this. "I sure hope she has health insurance," Nielsen remarks. Get it, because at the time, she was floating up ideas for a universal health care plan!

Ahhh ... you can almost smell the aspiring school shooter.

We learn that all of tonight's winners were picked by the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences, which a quick Google search reveals is not only still around, but still running a video game awards show that is probably the closest thing the industry has to a legitimate Oscars-caliber event. Granted, they didn't start handing own their own proprietary awards until 1997, so whether you want to consider the results of this show canon or not is up to you.

But wait, you can also vote online for your favorite games using PRODIGY or calling a not at all toll-free number! Up next, we have our first of many, many cyber-stories bumpers, which are aesthetically similar to all of those old A.D.D.  Sega Genesis commercials with quick cuts and some over-aggressive dweeb yammering on and on about shit you're not really that interested in. Anyhoo, he does the world's worst William Shatner impersonation and talks about the transition from the heyday of the arcades in the '80s to modern gaming in the mid-90s, concluding with a vague description of all the awesomeness the Information Superhighway is going to bring us someday.

The first award of the night is for best action-adventure game, and our presenters are Matthew Perry and The Next Karate Kid era Hillary Swank. And strangely enough, the guy doing the actual nominee voiceover is the REAL William Shatner. 

Alright, the nominees! Doom (uh, I've always thought of it more as a FPS, but since FPS games weren't as commonplace then, I suppose it kinda makes sense to put it in this awards category); Mega Race (which, as the name implies, is actually a racing game); Return to Zork (which is very much a traditional adventure game); Jump Raven (something I've never heard of but the gameplay leads me to believe it is likewise a classical PC adventure game); Critical Path (looks more like bad Sega CD interactive game than anything else); Super Street Fighter II (come on now, it has the word "fight" in its title!); Tomcat Alley (which actually is a shitty Sega CD Top Gun wannabe); and Super Metroid, which Shatner hilariously pronounces like "met-are-oid."

For an added touch of geekiness, the winners are revealed via an old school Newton PDA. The winner? DOOM, and some id Software guy gives an acceptance speech all of five seconds long. 

Time for a transition shot to a Las Vegas hotel's arcade (which include Nielsen namedropping "Goro the Monster" in one of the most surreal moments in TV history.) The host calls the kids at the arcade a bunch of "cyber punks" and cracks a joke about "NFL Jelly" and "NHL Marmalade" being released in the wake of NBA Jam. He then hurriedly reveals a "top secret" tip to play as Akuma in SSFII, but he says it so fast and broken up that it is nearly impossible to decipher what the fuck he is actually saying.

And that brings us to our five nominees for game of the year: Doom, Mortal Kombat, Myst, NBA Jam and Super Street Fighter II. Granted, you can quibble over the technicalities (MK was released in 1992 while all the other games came out in 1993) but you really can't argue against the selections - those are unquestionably the five most important and influential video games of the early 1990s and it's not even close to debatable.

Time for our first commercial break:Paul Reiser hawks IBM. HBO is showing Whitney LIVE in South Africa. Some hot blonde chick with short hair wants you to wear Soft&Dri underarm deodorant.  Little Caesars thinks its cool to use an orangutan ordering two female companions as a metaphor for their better deals than Pizza Hut. And fuck, you haven't LIVED until you've seen the 1995 Toyota Celica.

And we're back. Nielsen does a few quick reviews of game based solely on their box art, at one point picking up a Donkey Kong Country box (presumably) and stating it's a game about monkeys "that need to be spanked." Behind him a midget dances inside a giant balloon, until Nielsen gets sick of his shit and pops it. Yeah, there is a lot of humor like that in the show, so consider yourselves more than warned.

Then we get a quick retrospective on the history of video games and Pong, of all things, gets a standing ovation. Other unorthodox selections for this time filler includes such illustrious offerings as Karate Champ, Pinbot, The Legendary Axe (which I actually kinda' liked) and Pit Fighter. JTT talks about the audience vote again and then this bearded guy comes out and tells you can contact the show this afternoon. His voice also audibly cracks on camera and you will laugh out loud. 

Presenting the award for best CD Game is Saved By the Bell alum Lark Voorhees, who is introduced via a heavy metal riff very, very reminiscent of the iconic SBTB theme song. She stumbles through the intro, but since she looks hot as fuck, we can all let it slide.

Even neo-Nazis want to kiss her. And members of the Ku Klux Klan at least want to smell her hair a little.
The nominees? Myst, The 7th Guest, Mega Race, Return to Zork and Escape From Cyber City, whose mission, according to William Shatner, is "escape from the city and survive!" Shit, isn't that the premise behind half the fucking video games made in the 1990s? 

Anyhoo, the winner is The 7th Guest, which is actually a really forgettable survival horror offering. In fact, it's so forgettable that the real creators of the game didn't even bother showing up, so some limey in all white has to go up on stage and do all the yapping. He's pretty much all over and done with in 10 seconds.

This dude backstage is talking about SimCity with the mayor of Santa Barbara, Calif. and this one kid who is supposed to be the smartest child in America. And yeah, a real shocker here, but he's Asian. If the kid wins, he gets to run the city for a full day, and if the kid loses, the mayor gets to "acquire the services of the kid" for 24 hours. Well, that doesn't sound all #PizzaGatey or nothing.

Time for another commercial break! Stay tuned, and YOU could win a copy of that crappy Double Dragon fighting game based on the Saturday morning cartoon nobody ever watched! Here's a Fuji camera commercial with a white kid in a dashiki. And an ad for the CASIO G-SHOCK ILLUMINATOR wrist-watch. You can get a FIVE DOLLAR rebate if you purchase Speed on VHS. Hey, Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure is coming out for the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo. Back to back commercials for SteelTec toys and that one truck from Ready Set Go. Every Thursday night TBS shows NBA games. Hmm ... a Seattle Supersonics player superimposed over a crumbling building ... predictive programming about the Oklahoma City bombing, perhaps?

And we're back. Nielsen responds to a car alarm and he runs into Doc Brown next to a DeLorean and then he pulls out a gun, enters one of those Wild West stunt shows, does an entire Buster Keaton routine and then JTT rewards him by giving him a tip to go into "battle mode" on the SNES version of Mortal Kombat. Yeah, I have no idea what the hell that means, either.

We squander some time talking about The Mask video game that was supposed to come out on the SNES and Genesis but never actually got released, and then there's a brief interview with director Chuck Russell. We go behind the scenes of The Mask CGI (which, admittedly, was a pretty big deal back then) and we get yet another cut scene from The Gate to the Mind's Eye, for absolutely no reason whatsoever other than the fact they probably paid a shit ton of money to have their crappy ass game pimped on the program. 

Presenting the award for best portable game is the second Darlene from Roseanne and some bitch that looks like Randy Savage's old squeeze Miss Elizabeth. The nominees? Aladdin (presumably, the Game Gear version although it really, really looks like they are using footage from the Genesis game), Wario Land, Home Alone (the Game Gear version, which, per Shatner, revolves around the exploits of "the world's most dangerous pre-teen"), what Shatner describes as Game Boy Donkey Kong and Link's Awakening. And while it's pretty much a given that the Zelda game is the best of the whole bunch, they end up giving the award to Aladdin, because ... well, I'm not really sure, to be entirely honest.

We throw it to an arcade in New Jersey, where a bunch of kids are shouting ... something. Then the host gives us some tips on Double Dragon V, so if you want to know how to finish Billy Lee, you BETTER use that goddamn standing hard punch, for real.  

Alright, presenting the award for best comedy (no, not best comedy game, just plain old "best comedy) is Charles Fleischer, some French fruit who is prolly best known for voicing Roger Rabbit. After doing a joke in binary, he does a routine about Prince Charles visiting Watts and getting harassed by black dudes, because that is ... uh, funny, I guess. 

The nominees! I'm Your Man (which, to me looks pretty dang close to being a porno), That's News To Me (starring Dennis Miller), The Wacky World of Miniature Golf (starring Eugene Levy as an anthropomorphic golf ball), Bugs Bunny' Rabbit Rampage, and Dating & Mating, which apparently is quite keen on jokes about autoeroticisim.

The winner? That mini-golf game. Picking up the award are two unnamed women who you would never fuck in a million years for any reason.

Eh. Still more tappable than Amy Schumer or Lena Dunham, though.
Hey, did you know you can vote for your favorite game for just 99 cents a call? Well, you can, and we're going to keep telling you that every five minutes. 

COMMERCIAL BREAK! Hey, there's a Double Dragon movie coming out and it's prolly going to suck big time (note: it did suck big time.) A Cartoon Network promo for their Super Chunk lineup, back when they still showed cartoons. Here's a commercial for the 3D0 (when Gex is your most impressive looking title, you KNOW the hardware is fucked). Then a commercial for Gerber Graduates baby food, and then, a brief promo for Earth 2 on NBC. Man, I haven't thought of that show in LITERALLY 20 years. And for very good reason.

We return to the show and Nielsen talks about computer graphics while dwarves juggle and spin plates behind him. Then, a guy lauded as "the leading artist of the Information Superhighway" comes out and reads a telegram supposedly penned by Al Gore and as you'd expect, it's so fucking boring everybody in the audience fell asleep.

On to the awards for best arts and graphics in an interactive product, presented by two people nobody gives a shit about. The nominees are Myst, Tuneland (featuring the voices of Howie Mandell, if you care, and you shouldn't), Oceanlife II AND III, Space: A Visual History and Mac World Interactive Vols. II and III. The winner is Myst, and really, ain't nobody going to complain about that considering its competition.

Presenting the Governor's Award for Best Achievement in Virtual Reality is that one chick from My So Called Life who isn't Claire Danes. It goes to IWerks Entertainment for making this fruity arcade game where six people sit in a plastic bathtub and fly around underwater dinosaurs.

An update: Doom is leading the Prodigy poll, while MK is leading it on the phone polls. 

COMMERCIALS: The Knicks play the Magic this Thursday night on TBS. Hey, there's a different Paul Reiser IBM commercial. ANOTHER Pitfall commercial. ANOTHER Fuji film commercial. That Ready Set Go toy truck commercial AGAIN. That Casio watch commercial AGAIN. And the Speed five dollar VHS rebate commercial AGAIN.

We're back. Some redheaded bitch at an arcade at the Universal Studios' park in Orlando interviews a kid in a "Jesus Freak" shirt about his love for Mortal Kombat and gives us a top secret hint for the upcoming SNES game Ren & Stimpy: Timewarp - use the rubber suction cups to climb over the monkey cages.

Next, Nielsen talks about hackers which leads to a surprisingly cheery PRO-hacking apologia piece featuring interviews with guys with names like "deth vegetable" interspersed with clips of the B-movie Teenagers From Outer Space and a guy eating a pizza with a Mattel Power Glove. Which, naturally, segues into a performance by Herbie Hancock titled "Cyber-Generation," featuring a bunch of Soul Train dancers booty dancing while every camera filtering effect in the world is used. Then some white bitch comes out and does the shittiest rapping you've ever heard and this one black dude starts twisting his neck around like Gumby.

You might be wondering to yourself "what does this have to do with video games?" And if so, the answer is clear - "you're a racist."
Then a breathless Hancock (did you know he did the soundtrack for Death Wish?) walks us through a segue into the next video clip - dedicated entirely to the Aerosmith vehicle Revolution X and some other stupid computer game nobody played. Cue a cheesy video segment within a video segment featuring Tom Hamilton of Aerosmith - who at one point dons a Ronald Reagan mask - congratulating Cybermania for simply existing.

Co-presenting the award for best musical alongside Hancock is none other than Thomas "She Blinded Me With Science" Dolby, who delights the crowd by dressing like the dork from a 2000 teen movie and making a joke about the nonexistent game Mood, which is like Doom except you run away from the monsters.  

The nominees? Peter Gabriels's Xplora I, Video Jam (which, trust me, is the shittiest looking thing you've ever seen), Interactive by the Corpse Formally Known as Prince, Freak Show by the Residents and Uptown Blues, which isn't really a game, but something you listen to when you want to pretend to be a culturally enlightened white person. And the winner is the Xplora I, with two white guys with shitty haircuts who aren't Peter Gabriel accepting the award on Peter Gabriel's behalf.

Backstage, we get an update on the SimCity contest. The mayor says he cut taxes 20 percent and got re-elected, so fuck that little snot-nosed brainiac fuck over there. The announcer guy talks about the academy behind Cybermania, but he gets distracted by some chick who wants to "play in a chatroom" instead.

COMMERCIALS! McDonalds has a "two buck conversion" deal so you can get two Egg McMuffins for just two dollars. TNT airs In Search of Dr. Seuss TOMORROW. There's that Double Dragon movie ad again. And the Soft&Dri underarm deodorant ad again. And here's a Scoopaway commercial with two dogs mad at a cat for getting to shit indoors. Then we get a commercial for Troy Aikman NFL Football, where the premise is that Troy Aikman has LITERALLY had his brain stolen (by Jerry Jones, acting just like Dr. Frankenstein) so he just acts retarded in the huddle, saying "hummunahummanahummuna" over and over again. Knowing what we know about concussions now, this thing is just all kinds of ominous.

Nielsen is back. Two reps from PriceWaterhouse are on stage. They validate Nielsen's tickets and promptly leave.

Yep. Because Twitter has done everything except turn kids into autistic, racist NEETS. 

Up next, the bitch from Mr. Payback (back in the day, touted as the world's first ever "interactive movie," and yeah, it sucked bunches) and some white nigga' from Deep Space Nine hit the podium. The nominees for best strategy and/or simulation game be: SimCity: Enhanced CD-ROM, Dune II (the Genesis version, at least, is fucking great), Flight Simulator 5 (which, yeah, I guess you could blame 9/11 on), Castle II: Siege & Conquest and Forever Growing Garden. The winner? SimCity - a shocker, I know. The bitch almost calls it an "enchanted CD-ROM" and I chuckle a hearty chuckle. Then the recipients hit the stage and give the shortest acceptance speech ever in the history of anything.

JTT is back on stage. He welcomes Shelly DuVall (the bug-eyed ho from The Shining) to the program. For some reason, she's wearing a fruit salad on her head. Cue a video looking at the impact of computers on education. There's a great line early on where a dude says teachers no longer have to throw chalkboard erasers at students' heads to get them to pay attention now that they have the Web in the classroom. "Learning has become something hip," one of the talking heads says. Then he talks about CD-ROMS replacing overhead projectors, and that's literally the first time I thought about overhead projectors in at least two decades and I kinda' had a moment there. And yes, the fucking irony of the dude talking about CD-ROMS being the future of education when, at this point, they are every bit as outmoded as educational tools as the overhead projectors.

And Duvall still ain't done flapping her gums. She talks about calculators being a big deal when she was growing up and then introduces these two kids who designed their own games and then E.A. and a couple of other companies got together and gave them both $25,000 scholarships. Then a video game about a Mexican dude who did a lot of cocaine and ecstasy and another game about a talking dog who really wants a bone on Sundays, especially, get individual awards for e-learning or some shit.


COMMERCIALS, YOU MOTHER FUCKERS. Here's that Thursday night NBA ad again. And another 3D0 commercial featuring a guy in a rubber room having maddened visions of that one Road Rash game that was actually kinda' awesome. The Paul Reiser IBM spot again. That Troy Aikman football game spot again (available NOW at Kay-Bee Toys, if you have a time machine.) And hell, why not one more spot for that god awful Double Dragon movie?

Now we get a video segment on how games are actually made, and you will fall asleep during this, for sure. Then, Marla Gibbs and The Barbarian Brothers from Twin Sitters take the stage to hand out the award for best sports game. And yeah, if you want the ultimate back-to-back dose of misguided '90s cinematic nonsense, I can't think of a better double feature than Mr. Payback and Double Trouble. Anyhoo, Gibbs asks the Barbarian Brothers to bring her a rope and a ball gag to subdue George Jefferson - you know, because she played the wisecracking maid on The Jeffersons back in the day? Then they pretend to get into a huddle, because that's what happens in sports sometimes. 

Alright, the nominees? NBA Jam (no console specified, so I take it this means all of them, the Atari Jaguar and 32X version included), FIFA International Soccer (looks like the Genesis version), NHL '94 (my all time favorite video game ever, and it should be yours, too), Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball (although I always preferred Winning Run instead), Caesars World of Boxing, Sports Illustrated's Multimedia Almanac, QB1 and Great Day at the Races

And the winner? Caesars World of Boxing, which officially is the worst winner in the history of any awards show. Shit, not only was that NOT the best sports game of 1993, it wasn't even the best boxing game that came out that year. Hell, it may not have even been one of the top five boxing games that year, for that matter, and that it was selected over the single greatest hockey video game of all time shows you just how little these Cybermania motherfuckers knew about anything.

Up next we've got the only part of the show that's really stayed with me over the years, and to be fair, it is a pretty funny little segment. To showcase WCW Superbrawl on the SNES, Lord Steven Regal and Brian Pillman come out for a demo. While they are playing, Nielsen does a monologue (set to the music from Patton, of all things) discussing the recent controversy over violence in video games. Naturally, Regal and Pillman start beating the shit out of each other and while Nielsen name drops Bad Mr. Frosty from Clay Fighter, a bunch of midget 'rasslers enter the fray so Leslie has to pull out a gun and shoot it in the air to get everybody to stop monkeying around.

Yep. This is the best Naked Gun movie EVER.
And now we're getting down to the acting awards, so you know this shit is going to get tough to sit through. Presenting the awards for best actor, female, are Terri Austin and Robert Culp. The nominees are: Grace Zabriskie in Voyeur, Eileen Weisinger in Critical Path, Tonia Keyser in Man Enough and Virginia Caper in Gabriel Knight. Not that anybody at any time at any point in history has ever or will ever give a fuck, but Zabriskie won. 

We get yet another cutscene from The Gate to the Mind's Eye and hey, what an opportune time for more commercials, ain't it?

There's the Fuji spot (again), that shitty fuckin' toy truck spot (again), a promo for The Lion King video game, that damn Casio wristwatch ad (again), that commercial for the Speed rebate (again), that Gerber's ad (again) and a promo for Thursday Night NBA basketball ... again.

We're back. Presenting the award for best male actor is Dave Thomas (no, not the guy from Wendy's, that guy from Grace Under Fire) and one of those hos from Blossom. The nominees? Robert Culp in Voyeur, Leonard Nimoy in Star Trek: 25th Anniversary (although I swore that game came out earlier than 1993), Tim Curry in Gabriel Knight, Christian Erickson in Mega Race and Mickey Rooney in Great Day at the Races. Hey, what do you know, the winner is the guy who was just on stage a few moments ago, Robert Culp. He thanks the Academy and then gives a meandering speech about video game acting probably becoming a big deal int he future and then walks off in a dazed an palpably confused state. 

Time for an update on the SimCity bet. Just so you know, the kid won. Which begs the question: just how do you "beat" SimCity, exactly?

Alright, kids, pull out your game pieces from Sam Goody/Musicland, it's time to see what you won in the super-duper Double Dragon prize giveaway! If you have some blond fruit with a gay man mustache, you won a coupon or something. If you have a blonde bitch with short hair, you won either a Double Dragon action figure OR a cartoon VHS. Have Scott Wolf's picture on your piece, and you get a copy of Double Dragon V and a strategy guide that should've told you to buy a better game. If you have a picture of that other guy in the movie, you won the INTERACTOR, MOTHERFUCKER, and your life will never, ever be the same again. And if you have a picture of a medallion, you won a TV and some other shit.

COMMERCIALS! Time for a different 2-Buck Conversation spot for McDonalds (I don't know about you, but getting two Big Macs for just $2 does sound pretty snazzy.) Now it's an ad for Super Return of the Jedi on the SNES, then Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures, which is like that Pitfall game they kept showing ads for earlier, except way better. We get another NBA on Thursday spot, that stupid toy truck commercial again, and that Troy Aikman football game spot ... again. And coming up next on TBS, its the live-action Masters of the Universe movie, which means whatever you spent your afternoon doing when this thing initially aired was a lot better than watching TBS for the next two and a half hours. Even if you were being raped, prolly.

And now, we arrive at the moment of truth - the announcement of the Game of the Year award recipient. JTT slowly names all of the games again, and our winner is ... Mortal Kombat! Here comes Ed Boon and John Tobias (I think) and they thank Probe Software and then they leave. 

And to wrap up the show? Nielsen says he can't wait to go home, play with his joystick and boot up his hard drive, and then we get a whole bunch of ads for NBA Live '95, NHL '95, Northwest Airlines and Microsoft and we are COMPLETE-O in Hollywood.

"We would like to thank the Academy for forgetting at least 300 better games came out in the 1993-94 fiscal year."
Well, I suppose you don't really need any explanations on why Cybermania was a one and done event, do you? Outside of the fact that video games were starting to make a lot of money at the time and nobody else had tried to capitalize on the rapidly-expanding market, I'm not really sure the producers of the award show knew why they were putting together the gala. The categories were confusing and haphazardly assembled, there was way too much time dedicated to crappily edited together video vignette segments and the emphasis on "comedy" - and yes, you have to put it in quotation marks - gave the entire program a needlessly self-degrading quality. If the whole idea of Cybermania was to turn video gaming into some sort of legitimate pop cultural commodity, they really couldn't have done a better job of instead making it look unsophisticated, juvenile and unrefined.

For the industry of video gaming, Cybermania is certainly something to be forgotten, a truly embarrassing attempt at permeating the mainstream consciousness that couldn't have come off as anymore low brow and amateurish if they tried. As an artifact of video game culture, however, the event, I suppose, is not without some historical significance. This is certainly the earliest I recall any major cable network treating video games like something that at least partially resembled something more than flash-in-the-pan ultra-niche entertainment, and - for better, but mostly for worse - it does do a fairly serviceable job summing up the video game zeitgeist of the times (yes, people really were splooging themselves thinking interactive movies were the next big thing in entertainment even though they rightly died out within a year of this very broadcast.) Naturally, the greatest retroactive appeal of Cybermania is in its snapshot of old-school gaming fandom. As corny and cheesy and hokey as the broadcast may have been, it is pretty fun to travel back down memory lane and reflect on just how gonzo people were for stuff like Mortal Kombat and Doom, and if you can't crack a smile watching Lord Steven Regal toss midgets around while Lt. Frank Drebin cuts a soliloquy on violence in Clay Fighter, I really don't know why you bother continuing to live.

So what more can be said about Cybermania '94? It gave us young Simba from The Lion King reciting the blood code for the SNES version of Mortal Kombat, Herbie Hancock slumming his way through the worst performance of his (or really, anybody else's) career and featured what were - without question - the single worst award recipients in the history of anything being given out ever. Quite succinctly, it capsulized everything lame, stupid and crass about video gaming in the post-SMB3, pre-PS1 1990s ... which, in a weird roundabout way, I suppose, completely loops around the rules of time and space itself and inadvertently becomes, well, kind of awesome

... but only the absolute dumbest kind of "awesome" you can think up, of course.

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