At the first ever Proto Awards last week, Zombies on the Holodeck, developed by Survios, took home three awards including Best Overall. The event was a resounding success, honoring innovative work happening in the young VR industry. Nvidia, one of the sponsor of the event, sent winners home with brand new GeForce GTX 980 graphics cards.

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In the Blossom Ballroom at the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel, the site of the first Academy Awards, Protos Founder Jonnie Ross took to the podium in front of a full house of VR developers and enthusiasts.

“Is it too early for a VR awards show?” Ross asked. “Yes,” he answered promptly, before his question had time for proper consideration, with laughs from the audience. His speech continued, noting that while the people who would come on stage to accept an award were certainly deserving, their achievements were only made possible by those who laid the groundwork upon which their VR games and software stand. A round of applause was given in recognition to those unsung heros.

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Survios’ Graham Matuszewski accepted awards on behalf of the company. He thanked the pioneers of VR that have been working for many decades on the medium.

Winners received awards across 11 categories:

Though it sounds cliche, as a member of the Board of Governors who chose the winners, it really was tough to pick. Award or not, all of the nominees impressed in some way, even the most bizarre nominee, VR Butts.

Winners took home the brand new GeForce GTX 980 from sponsor Nvidia and attendees each received a Google Cardboard kit from DodoCase.

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the proto awards (6)Thomas Middleditch from HBO’s Silicon Valley did a fine job hosting the event, his script mostly poking fun at the fledgling VR industry, with plenty of laughs from the audience.

One of the more hilarious moments of the night was when Middleditch pitched the audience an idea for a VR game: a simulator of Middleditch’s bathroom where users would sit on the toilet and have to console his small but bossy dog. What seemed like a joke at first became all too real; for reference material he actually pulled up a video, taken while on his toilet, of his dog coming into the bathroom and growling until being pet.

And while the bizarre dog pitch got plenty of laughs, the funniest moment of the night may have been when a drunk personified Virtual Boy crashed the show.

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“We killed VR in ’95!” got lots of laughs from the audience thanks to the double entendre of Virtual Boy’s mistaken notion of success with the audience’s knowledge of Virtual Boy’s near-universal failure as a virtual reality product and the damage it may have done to the industry at that time.

The event ran smoothly save for the actual Proto Award trophy itself which apparently broke prior to the show, leaving only one trophy as backup. Middleditch poked fun at this leading to a subtle running joke throughout the evening.

After the show, just about everyone I talked to said they enjoyed it, with many people saying it was better than they expected. Given the night’s success, there’s a good chance we’ll see another Proto Awards in 2015.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."