Past EED rants


Live leaderboard

Poker leaderboard

Voice of EED

Monday 8 September 2003

Our own show [teeth]

I wonder if this will work? My first blog.. here goes!
I was reading a thread on the other day about how shit Sky's new games show Gamesville is. It got me thinking about computer games shows in general, as far back as I could remember.
They were all shit weren't they?
I mean, perhaps a few were entertaining but I've always thought the whole concept was wrong - that being that the show was aimed at kids. A mean fine, kids play more games than most but do they want a show aimed at them? Kids like cars, kids like football - they seem to get on just fine watching shows about cars and football aimed at adults.
I really think whichever producer realises the following will have an incredibly successful and long-running show on their hands:
Gamers (be they kids or adults), no more than other people, cannot abide watching people who are shit.
People who are into history wouldn't tune into the Time Team if the presenters didn't know what they were doing.
People who are into cars wouldn't tune into TopGear if Jeremy Clarkson or the Stig were clueless.
Who would watch something like Late Night Poker if all the players were newbs?
When you think about it, there are an awful lot of 'nerdy' programmes on TV. Gardening shows, history shows, DIY shows, car shows, sports shows etc. The content of these shows is pitched at fans, but is accessible to the casual viewer.
In the same way, I'm not going to tune into a games show to watch a bunch of ten year olds mess about. Why the fuck would I listen to some dumb kid review a game? Am I supposed to care what he thinks?
We need a games show modelled after TopGear imho. A few presenters who really know their stuff, who are pitching at a level far above the casual audience. It'll also need some really top players (a la that Stig guy) to show people how its done. I want to see l33t sk1llz. And lastly, some entertaining guests, possibly interesting celebs (a la JayK and Jodie Kidd on TopGear).
So go on Shinji, I'd watch you review stuff on tele I would. And get Bettinson on to tell people they suck and talk about his latest gadget. We could pitch our own show to the beeb and be famously leet. EED becomes synonymous with gaming. Beer, bubbly, freebies and fit birds fall from the skies into our laps. Yes.


  1. Beej and Cav, can you please find the contact for he who is in charge of new commissions please? I should presume that Spiro would be our producer, yes?

  2. Games Master tried to do the leet kiddie with virtual fighter, they dragged the Japanese champion all the way over, grabbed 100 players from the UK and told him to slaughter them. Being the nice guy he is he let the first 10 (we are talking 5 year old button bashers) beat him. They had to stop filming and start again.
    As for putting Lurks on TV, It would only work after the watershed :-)

  3. You're exactly right, but sadly convincing people in TV-land of this fact is very tough. Top Gear is an incredibly nerdy show, but it's an entertaining show for people who have only a passing interest in cars regardless - and there's no reason that can't be done for games as well. Competent, articulate, talented people are ALWAYS more interesting on TV than people who don't know what the hell they're playing at.
    Most of the problem is that people working on games TV stuff seem to think that the holy grail is to get as much cringe-worthy fake 'hip street talk' as possible onto the show, and dumb down as much as possible for a target audience they clearly have no respect for, and little understanding of.
    Beej and Spiro probably have a better insight into this than any of us... But right now I'd say the attitudes in TV towards gaming are completely wrong, and sadly they're held at a high enough level that getting it RIGHT is going to be near impossible. :(

  4. That's the idea. Games are an interesting and involving past-time shared my millions across the UK, and the games industry is worth crazy amounts of money. There's no reason not to have a regular specialist show pitched like TopGear (sorry, I keep bringing that up - any other examples?).
    One thing I love about the specialist shows, is that you know that the presenters think their topic is more interesting and important than appearing on TV. You know that if there was no show, the presenters would be down the pub talking about exactly the same thing. Their interest and enthusiasm will be what hooks people, even casual watchers.
    All of the other games shows I've watched have been presented by people who were there just because they wanted to be in show-biz, they rarely gave a shit about the subject matter.
    Another thing to think about is technology. Most game shows just about managed to review a joystick, and say whether they thought it was good or not, and vacuously mark it out of 5 or something stupid like that.
    There are loads of people out there really into tech gadgects and PC hardware, it would be great for the show to include stuff like that (ties in nicely with Mat's job too..). Of course given the number of consoles out there you couldn't go too overboard on the PC hardware stuff..
    The show itself would have be filmed like Have I Got News for You, or a similar show. Ie: not live, but current - filmed each week to keep up with the industry. There's no point in watching a review of a game released a month ago.
    So anyway, we have the presenters (who are also the writers and would be writing about this stuff anyway), a phat lawyer, and some beeb producery types too. Do we need anyone else? Oh and remember, no kids on-screen if at all possible!

  5. The few gaming shows that I've worked on have generally been directed at kiddies, with consoles taking the lime light. Some of the biggest trouble we had was getting contestants who could actually play games. Beej will probably tell you that several times he's had to show them how to play. I also have had to teach contestants how to play games like Silent Scope ffs.
    If a game show is going to work for gamers then it needs to have gamers on it. Sod the kiddies, we need adult gamers, who know their games inside and out. Its also needs to be after 10pm so you can swear adn play games with blood.

  6. You don't just want something that works for gamers though - you want something that is packed with gamers who know their stuff inside out, but who can convey that to a wider audience in an enthusiastic, interesting way. That's a little bit trickier but christ, if people will tune in to watch Ground Force and Time Team...
    After 10pm is definitely necessary, although not stupidly late-night like Bits ended up being.
    While obviously PC games would feature more than in kids shows, your focus would still probably be strongly on the console side of things, if simply for commercial reasons. That said the PC is a great platform for doing multiplayer stuff - but that stuff would be a git to edit together properly. You'd need a really ninja video editor who actually knew gaming inside out, and a superb commentator, in order to create a properly watchable, tense FPS match that was cut for television and understandable for even casual viewers.
    But just because it'd be hard isn't a reason not to do it.

  7. You sound worryingly close to wanting to do eSports type crap? I can't really see there being bag loads of tense FPS match type stuff because not many games comes out each week with multiplayer support. Maybe you could do a slot on multiplayer gaming but I think by and large, the best thing to do would be to actually appear as a video games magazine.
    You've got videogame footage (why are all the shows afraid to show this) with voice over. That goes on for a minute. Then you cut out to bloke who reviewed the game and his offsider asks him questions about the game. So you have two people conversing about the game, predominently. The hard bit is finding people that work well in front of the camera and know their shit about games.
    I think that's the most difficult aspect of it full stop really. Also mechanisms to integrate the switch from footage to real people need to be in there too, probably intemediate scenes where there's a big tele in studio and reviewer holding joystick, hitting pause and going up to point at something on screen.

  8. I went to Germany last year to do an interview for Tif on a channel called Giga. They were having a games week and every night they had an hour of games. News, reviews, tips and competitions.
    My interview consisted of me sitting in front of a screen playing Tif against the presenter while he asked me questions. This way the public get to see the game being played properly and they get a proper run down of the features. Sure its biased but you could always split the review into 2 parts. One for the interview and one as a review. Only troble is finding people as carasmatic as me to be interviewed ;)


  9. The annoying thing is, the little heard of shows actually did quite a good job of it. Movies Games and Videos used to be exactly what I was after for a TV games show, but that's gone. Cybernet is very good, but used to be shown at a very silly time, and I've a feeling has gone too.
    Games shows watching people play games is utterly pointless, it's not entertaining, and you might as well use that TV time to play games yourself.
    Games TV shows just need to look at the info provided on teh interweb and in games mags, and provide similar content but with vids instead of screenshots. That means news, previews, reviews, opinion, features on dev's/making of type stuff. Present this using regular TV guys, not kids with bandanas and you're sorted. And show the fucker at 8pm instead of 1am. Why's that so hard?

  10. I'm not keen on eSports rubbish at all - but I do think it gives an edge to a show if there's some competitive element. I'm not proposing running a CS tournament or anything, but I think trying to integrate some element of people with madskillz actually playing games into the show would be a draw.
    A good example that illustrates the breadth of what I'm on about would be those guys who perfected insane Warthog jumps in Halo - get them in to show that off and give a prize to whoever gets the best distance out of one or whatever. It's a three or four minute segment (other stuff that fits in there could be longer) but it gives the show an element of competition (and people LOVE watching competition) and it brings new people on who can do stuff that the viewers can't, which again is a basis of much interesting TV.
    Beyond that, yeah, I completely agree with the format you're suggesting. It's simple but it WORKS - it conveys exactly what you're trying to convey, it's entertaining, it's informative, it makes the games into the star rather than focusing on a prancing idiot who's some retard producers idea of the kind of character that gives a show 'street cred'.

  11. If it's there, it needs to form a tiny part of it. Like a competitions bit in a regular show now, for examply the 'star in a resonably priced car' feature on top gear.
    You could do a feature similar to 'the Stig' where you challenge a resident skilled up gamer to see how long he can last in a new game at the hardest difficulty or summit. This peon vs peon button mashing with shit comentating is just not entertaining though.

  12. I developed several projects for the company I was working for when I left TV for imminent but unseen redundancy. One contestant-based (like GM), one magazine-format (like Top Gear IYL), and one eSports/Competition-based. I liked them all, they all had legs, they would all pull in viewers beyond the hardcore.
    The hurdles have always been (1) finding commissioners who understand what the fuck modern gaming is about (2) not being treated as a childrens' show (3) getting a broadcaster/slot which isn't 1am on ITV, or 6pm on Sky channel #666.
    I got really drained working for people who didn't share my ideas or enthusiasm, and that's why I quit the shite Sky One show to make Braddy's tea... for a month.

  13. What you say would have held water IF the gameplay show had turned out to be good. Except it wasn't, it was pants with peons playing shit old games too. NEXT! :)

  14. Perhaps it's possible that gaming just doesn't make for good TV?

  15. ^--- never watched GamesMaster

  16. Ha! GM.. Patrick Moore in slap on Borg effect shiteness and Dominik Diamond running around in a Noel Coward velvet full length jacket... I watched GM, and I hated it :)

  17. Yes but you hate everything. :)