168: Game and Watch

Game and Watch

"Televised gaming in the West, in its current form, is broken. Dressed up in the ill-fitting clothes of existing formats and shuffled nervously around schedule arrangements, shows about videogames are the unwanted orphan children of broadcast entertainment, easier to pity than support.

"Of course, it doesn't have to be like this."

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I always think we need some gaming TV shows as the only one here in the UK is on some very minor satellite channel so doesn't get watched.

We used to have Gamesmaster on one of the four major channels but it shut up about 10 years ago and nothing has ever come around to replace it. It was great, they had competitions between gamers (with commentary), reviews, previews, a cheats and hints section and news, a total magazine show. The only problem with it from my perspective was it was only 30 minutes long, which wasn't enough to get everything in. With so many digital TV channels available to all, I think Channel 4 could consider ressurecting the series on E4 maybe, and acknowledge that the audience have grown older, but still play games.

MrBliss: A return to GamesMaster might be difficult- few games these days, certainly major enough ones to fill a TV show with- have elements to them small enough to fit into a three-minute challenge, and GamesMaster wouldn't be GamesMaster without Dominik Diamond, who increasingly lets his ego get in the way of being a good presenter, as we saw when he did When Games Attack on Bravo- not so much a show about games with Dominik Diamond as a show about Dominik Diamond with games.

It doesn't help, mind, that the aforementioned xLeague TV just gave up almost a year ago- no fight, no increase in their output (which was about three shows at the time), no XPlay-like re-working of their programmes, just "fuck it, can't be arsed", filled the channel with godawful cheap sports from the US and more recently stopped making programmes altogether.

It's one thing for games TV to fail, it's another when the people making it don't bother putting any effort in.

Please, no! I need to watch people with no lives beyond gaming as much as I need to watch athletes with no lives beyond sport kick a ball around or jump through hoops for gold medals, or as much as I need to watch shows about folks with no lives at all in a 'reality' show. In other words, I need such nonsense like I need a big smoking hole in my head.

Let's stop the pretence that watching sports or games is a valuable part of our lives. Such activities are merely the 20th and 21st century equivalent of sitting in an opium den. The last thing we need is more of such rot.

beemoh:
MrBliss: A return to GamesMaster might be difficult- few games these days, certainly major enough ones to fill a TV show with- have elements to them small enough to fit into a three-minute challenge, and GamesMaster wouldn't be GamesMaster without Dominik Diamond, who increasingly lets his ego get in the way of being a good presenter, as we saw when he did When Games Attack on Bravo- not so much a show about games with Dominik Diamond as a show about Dominik Diamond with games.

It doesn't help, mind, that the aforementioned xLeague TV just gave up almost a year ago- no fight, no increase in their output (which was about three shows at the time), no XPlay-like re-working of their programmes, just "fuck it, can't be arsed", filled the channel with godawful cheap sports from the US and more recently stopped making programmes altogether.

It's one thing for games TV to fail, it's another when the people making it don't bother putting any effort in.

I think the show could be ressurected without Dominik Diamond and Sir Patrick Moore. New faces are what is needed, and i'm sure it's well within the ability of TV execs to find a personality that will fit the theme, and I think such a show could aquire a substantial audience if someone were to give it a go, particularly if it was shown on one of the Freeview channels.

I must disagree with the original poster. There exists a fundamental problem with televising computer gaming - the games which are televised at the moment are extremely dull to watch, and the games which I feel that it would be interesting to televise already have real-life analogues which are far more exciting - sports games, particularly motor racing.

Part of the problem, as I see it, is that lack of absorption into the fabric of the game itself. There are no analogues in computer gaming to being at a sports stadium, with the rain pelting down, the wind battering your face and watching your favourite team play, or to the visceral thrills of being at the likes of the Circuit de la Sarthe or the Daytona International Speedway, hearing the vicious twelve-cylinder roars of a prototype sports car thundering off the stands, smelling the odours of rubber and burning fuel, watching the brakes glow as they pass through the corners in the night.

MrBliss:
New faces are what is needed

That line of thinking was what got us Dexter Fletcher. ;P

Although that I agree that part of getting a games programme to succeed is having it broadcast at a sensible time, and on a channel people can actually get.

Yes, whoever scheduled videoGaiden, I'm looking at you.

Yeah Dexter Fletcher was terrible... Although nowadays I might prefer him to the new uber-Christian Dominik Diamond. Did you watch that TV show where he was going to get properly crucified (they were actually going to nail him to the cross for a while) to feel at one with Jesus and then he pussied out just before it went ahead? I laughed so hard some wee came out.

A game like Counterstrike does not lend itself well to being televised, but other games like Unreal and Team Fortress tend to be much more frenetic games that can be very exciting to watch, especially between two skilled teams. Perhaps this is because in itself, dying has little consequence, and so the players can take more bold risks, but at the same time, dying at a crucial moment can alter the entire game's flow.

This article made me think of the popularity of Lets Plays. I usually prefer to watch others play games, especially when they MST it. Really, I can generally understand why gaming isn't broadcasted- Without imput from the player, watching a game is generally like watching a show that is being interrupted by random battles, or menu screens, or the likes.

Sorry for it being not about the article per se but who is that beautiful model in the background art for the article?

Other than that, I think the article is spot on but misses out on one crucial thing, there are very few games which lend themselves to being recorded well because the tools and even the textures & animations at certain angles do not even exist. Do you know how when you watch a football (soccer) game, they can zoom out to see the entire arena and really give you a sense of not just the whole picture and its scale, but the excitement of the other viewers? Even sports video games don't capture the same greatness of televised events because of poor camera placement and seemingly comical cardboard cut out crowds cheering from the stands. Ever try to spectate your favourite game zoomed all the way out only to find the characters running around below and the anything beyond that ground view doesn't even exist from your view point? Games are only good for an audience if the developer takes the time to make them that way.

I've only played the Starcraft single player campaign because I find RTS games to be too stressful to play in multiplayer and I don't really like the gameplay of them.
Yet I love watching commentated starcraft online. So far my favorite has been the Razer TSL. Exciting games with great commentary, it's really entertaining.

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I think in general us gamers are people who want to do things at our convenience. That's why a game is so great, we put it in when we want and play it when we want.
I don't know about everyone but my friends and I tend to stream shows we like, buy the seasons, etc. So they can be enjoyed whenever we have the time for them. I simply don't have the time to revolve my life around any TV shows schedule.
If a show about games as mentioned in this article was created, I think it would do better as an online show.

 

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