Tonight’s Game Awards was probably one of the more entertaining showcases in the event’s 10-year history and it has nothing to do with any of the games that swept the awards and everything to do with a guy and his flute.
Al Pacino started the show, not with a bang but with a poorly legible whimper as the celebrated actor struggled to read the no-doubt tiny words of the teleprompter. Then Christopher Judge, in accepting the award for Best Performance for his incredible, soulful, and heartening performance as Kratos, rambled for a good handful of minutes longer than he should have. Though his speech was a bit awkward and long-winded, I firmly believe Mr. Keighley let Judge go on for as long as he did in order to keep the rest of the show blessedly brief and to potentially cut off Josef Fares if he decided to get all curse-y again.
Al Pacino wasn’t the only aged acting legend to take the stage. Michael Madsen, who I’m sure a lot of the younger Gen Z-ers in the audience probably won’t even recognize, came out to promote 505 Games newest title Crime Boss. The crime action game features not only Madsen but — get this — Kim Basinger, Danny Trejo, Michael Rooker, Daimon Poiter (no relation), Danny Glover, and, curiously, Vanilla Ice.
But despite all the awards and announcements (what is it with Kojima and babies?) tonight’s winner by a country mile was a curly haired session musician by the name of Pedro Eustache and the infectious, ebullient energy with which he played his flutes.
During the last performance of the night, The Game Awards orchestra played a medley of all the main theme’s of the games nominated for Game of the Year. During Elden Ring’s section, the camera cut to Eustache who was rocking the hell out pumping his fist in the air as he played a funny looking curved flute. (An alto flute for all my fellow band nerds out there which was, ironically, not the weirdest instrument of the event since Bear McCreary got on stage with a hurdy-gurdy earlier in the night.) This guy was awesome! He had just the most delightful and inspired performance by a flautist since Jethro Tull or Will Ferrel’s bit in Anchorman. Eustache became an instant hit on social media with Twitter flooding with comments praising Eustache’s breakout performance.
The Verge has reached out to Eustache to hear more of his story and to hear more about why he was just so into his performance and I hope to hear back from him soon. This guy has become an instant legend and made the two and a half hour long trek through gaming’s longest commercial well worth it.