"I Say, Let 'Em (Videogames) Crash (Of 1983)!"

  • 9/09/2008 01:52:00 am
  • By Mark Gibbings-Jones

Hey, cats and kittens. It's time to add a whole new series of long-running updates to the blog, under the banner of "Counter Point". In this series, we offer a soapbox to People With Something To Say, so that they can reach the literally dozens of people that happen by the blog every month. And then, we have our say on the matter before declaring the winner of each literary bout. Quick spoiler: the referee is quite massively biased in our favour, what with him being, well, us. And so, without any further ado, today's topic:


In the away dressing room for today's tussle is Derek Williams from Resonance 104.4FM's weekly videogaming show One Life Left. Going out live at 7pm on Monday nights at 104.4FM for those listening in That London, the show can also be heard live at ResonanceFM's website throughout the entire planet earth, or through the One Life Left Podcast for the tardy owner of , well, any MP3 player. Take it away, Derek:

"Being the Free Market Economist that I am and much of my livelihood being supported by the selling of games, I rarely wonder about the lack of decent games related programming. However right now, after this somewhat awkward and stumbling start, I'm taking time out to do such a thing.

With the games industry these days being worth something in the region of eleventy squillion quidses it seems a little odd that we don't have any decent games related television. We never really have, even when gaming was small, but at least we had something more than the nothing that we have now. GamesMaster was probably the closest to being a good show about games. Probably. But that was, y'know, for the kids and gaming these days appeals to adults as well. Yes there are games like Loco Roco and Mario Galaxy that aren't targeted at the violence obsessed thirteen year olds, so how about we have a programme that is similarly not targeted at this demographic?

There seems a bit of a problem amongst TV types that they don't really understand games, for some reason. Maybe they're all too busy making stuff to actually play games and realise they are all kinds of aces and wonderfulness. I think Violet Berlin and Gareth 'Gaz Top' Jones tried to be a little bit clever with their 'Gamepad' show, but completely failed of course. Their reviews section was a whole special new kind of abysmal, with almost every review featuring Violet suggesting you either "try before you buy" or "if you like this sort of thing, you'll like it". Such reviews were really little more than adverts, and not particularly good ones at that, with them usually featuring some spurious attempts at playing the game and all.

Oh, hang on. I've forgotten to mention that amazing show 'Bits' haven't I? That must clearly be the definitive bit of gaming TV, with Aleks Krotoski going on to be a Woman in Gaming and all that kind of thing. She writes for the Guardian and stuff as well, doesn't she? Well if it wasn't for the fact that two of the women involved clearly knew nothing about the subject and it mainly being aimed at the titillation of 13 year old gamers then maybe it would have got somewhere near. Hang on, isn't that just saying it would have been good, if it hadn't been the show it was? Bits has its place to be fair, just not as a gaming show.

The simple solution to having a good gaming show is obvious. Get Charlie Brooker to do it. But then that solves most problems. The segments on Screenwipe where he has been discussing games have been quite, quite excellent and are clearly the sort of thing that we want. He is clearly someone who clearly understands the modern videogame, and is able to talk about them not just intelligently, but also interestingly. Sadly, with a limited number of Charlie Brookers around right now, perhaps that idea wouldn't work quite so well.

Hey, maybe we could ask Dominik Diamond to do another series packed rigidly of throbbing joystick innuendos?"

Phew. What sort of comeback can we muster for this thorny issue? A cleverly-worded riposte about how Gamer.tv's perpetual "four out of five" reviews for every game ever released ever are actually brilliant as they ensure no developers feelings are ever hurt by a low mark? A ten thousand word thesis on the Dexter Fletcher series of GamesMaster shoving all subsequent videogame progamming up the critical league table several dozen notches? A Stalinesque refusal to admit the BBC Choice series Fightbox ever existed? Deep breaths. Here goes.

"Yeah, well videoGaiden was really good. Even if you did need to get BBC Two Kiltland on your telly and even then understand Scotch to comprehend much if it. So, how'd you like them deep-fried apples, Mister I've Got An Outlet On An Actual Proper Radio Station? Eh?"

And so, to the judges.

The winner: BrokenTV.

As Shakespeare once wrote: "Brevity is the soul of wit". And, as we're taking 'brevity' to be pretty much interchangeable with "whoever is the first to use the term 'Scotch' in place of the term 'Scottish' and then go on to make a crap gag about them deep-frying all their food and generally be really bitter", we win. Mainly because we make up the rules. Hey, if it was good enough for the 1908 London Olympics, it'll do for us. BrokenTV one, The Rest Of The World nil.

One Life Left is broadcast at 7pm each Monday evening on Resonance 104.4FM in London, and on the web, as we'd said. So, in a very real way, they win. Bah.

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