If actor Zachary Levi isn’t on set directing or starring in NBC’s action spy series, Chuck, he’s likely on Xbox Live taking on players in games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Gears of War 3. With the final season of Chuck playing out, Levi has turned his attention to his favorite pastime – gaming.

He’s hosting this year’s SpikeTV VGAs (Video Game Awards) show in Los Angeles live on December 10 at 8pm ET. The actor steps into a long line of celebrity hosts, which has included Samuel L. Jackson and Jack Black. But unlike those A-list stars, Levi is both passionate about gaming and accessible to talk about his “nerd” love for fragging and poning. Levi offers his best game of 2011 and explains why Nintendo is behind the times in this exclusive interview.


What role do you see the VGAs playing with gamers today?

As a gamer, I definitely think that the VGAs are a must. I think that they are something that should exist because it’s the most profitable entertainment medium that’s out there. I want it to be something that’s more catered toward and respectful of the world that gaming has become, and less about just stereotyping it being about dudes sitting around talking about T&A and poning.

Although poning is definitely a vernacular that I use. The world of gaming is a much broader now. It’s important that people take notice of that and are respectful of that world. As the show has been progressing more and more that way, I think there’s a bright future for the “VGAs”.

What’s the best game of 2011 in your opinion?

If I had to go on just time spent with the game I would go with Modern Warfare 3, but I’m a first-person shooter kind of guy, and I’ve been playing that more than I’ve been playing anything else. It’s also easier, though. If you’re jumping onto an online match, you can play five or ten minutes here or there. As opposed to having to constantly save your game, jump out and jump back in, if you’re playing Skyrim.

How does Modern Warfare 3 stack up to the franchise?

Of all the Call of Duty games…in some ways, I still feel Call of Duty 4, the original Modern Warfare, is the best of the Modern Warfare titles. I feel like it was simple, it was streamlined, the maps were fantastic, and the guns were great. I miss that I can’t change my rate of fire on my G36C; that really pisses me off. [Laugh] Whatever, you can’t have everything.

We’ve seen a lot of great games this year, are there any games you feel are missing from the VGAs?

I’m actually surprised Gears 3 wasn’t up for Game of the Year, but I also know with sequels a lot of times they don’t like to go that route, although Uncharted 3 is up. Batman is kind of a sequel. Portal’s a sequel.

What are your thoughts on Nintendo’s new Zelda game, Skyward Sword, which is up for some awards?

I really want to play Zelda, although I’m bummed that when I was at E3 they had an HD demo of Skyward Sword, but I can’t play that. They don’t have the HD Wii out. Honestly, in some ways, as much as I would probably even give them a real good chance at winning, I don’t know if I could do that without an HD version.

I think with everyone else being incredibly beautiful gameplay and graphic engine, for Nintendo not to be competing on that level kind of bums me out. I feel like it was a little shortsighted of them. Maybe when they first launched Wii that was okay, but they should have had it out by now I think.

Even when they did launch the Wii, the competitors already were making HD games.

Exactly. That’s why I say when the Wii first launched, I could give it to them then. I could say, “Fine. You don’t want to do the HD thing,” even though it was pretty much a given across the platforms, I could understand that they wanted to just remain what they wanted to do. Nintendo obviously has done very well. They’re essentially the only original gaming system that’s still with us.

Sega’s still making great software, but as far as hardware and software, Nintendo is the grandpa. They’re the ones that have been with us forever, and I have a lot of love for Nintendo and their titles. But it’s disappointing when you see a company not decide to go with where the future is going. They’re going to get there apparently, from what they’re saying, but you can’t play DVDs if you don’t have HD. That kind of stuff people expect now. You have to go with the signs of the time.

Yeah, and the Wii U is not going to let you play Blu-ray or anything, but it will let you stream movies in HD for the first time.

And that’s really all you need anyway. DVDs and Blu-ray are going to be obsolete in the next five or ten years anyway.

As a lot of people are also saying game disks will also go that way.

By the way, I’m stoked about that. Then I don’t have to keep anything. I can just download it all. It can all be on my hard drive.

You just have to start getting really large hard drives.

Yeah. They’re going to make them smaller and cheaper then ever before.