Tonight’s Game Awards was probably one of the more fun showcases in the event’s 10-year history and it has nothing to do with any of the games that won the awards and everything to do with a man and his whistle.
Al Pacino started the show, not with a bang but with a barely readable wail as the celebrated actor struggled to read the teleprompter’s undoubtedly tiny words. When Christopher Judge accepted the award for Best Performance for his incredible, soulful, and encouraging performance as Kratos, he rambled on a few minutes longer than he should have. Although his speech was a bit clumsy and wordy, I firmly believe that Mr. Keighley let Judge go on as long as he did to keep the rest of the show blissfully short and possibly shut Josef Fares down if he decided to get all the curse back.
Al Pacino wasn’t the only aging acting legend to take to the stage. Michael Madsen, who I’m sure many of the younger Gen Zers in the audience probably won’t even recognize, came out to promote 505 Games’ latest title Crime boss. The crime action game not only features Madsen, but – get this – Kim Basinger, Danny Trejo, Michael Rooker, Daimon Poiter (no relation), Danny Glover and, curiously enough, Vanilla Ice.
But despite all the awards and announcements (what is it with Kojima and babies?), tonight’s country mile winner was a curly-haired session musician named Pedro Eustache and the infectious, exuberant energy with which he played his flutes.
During the final performance of the night, The Game Awards Orchestra played a medley of all the main themes from the games nominated for Game of the Year. During Elder Ring‘s section, the camera cut to Eustache who was rock the hell out he pumped his fist in the air while playing a funny-looking curved flute. (An alto flute for all my fellow band nerds who, ironically, wasn’t the weirdest instrument of the event since Bear McCreary took the stage earlier in the evening with a hurdy-gurdy.) This guy was awesome! He simply had the most delightful and inspired performance by a flautist since the role of Jethro Tull or Will Ferrel Anchorman. Eustache became an instant hit on social media, with Twitter flooding with comments praising Eustache’s escape performance.
The edge has reached out to Eustache to hear more of his story and to learn more about why he was the way he was go inside his performance and I hope to hear from him soon. This man has become an instant legend and made the two and a half hour journey through gaming’s longest commercial well worth it.