With Charlie Brooker confirming this morning, via Twitter, that Gameswipe will be the latest hybrid of his Wipe alternation, we at Tech Digest though it would be fitting to have a look at the best games TV shows of years gone by.
So, in no particular order, here are our five favourites of a genre that undoubtedly enjoyed its golden period in the 1990s but has never really threatened the prime-time mainstream:
Well, I did say in no particular order but clearly Gamesmaster is the undisputed king of the bunch. It had Patrick Moore, actually Sir Patrick Moore CBE to give the great man his proper title, appearing as The Gamesmaster – a sort of futuristic cyborg who would reign over the proceedings with great aplomb.
He would give instructions to contestants for various games challenges as well as giving out cheats for the latest games. The fact that he never really sounded as if he was too sure what he was talking about mattered not one iota. He had a floating head surrounded by, at the time, cool looking armour – we believed every word he said.
Originally hosted by Dominik Diamond and later Dexter Fletcher, Gamesmaster was the show to watch if you wanted to know your Golden Axe from your ToeJam & Earl.
Even Simon Amstell made an appearance:
Not quite as good as Gamesmaster but Violet Berlin was one of the presenters so it was well worth rushing home from school for. Show me a man who didn’t fancy Violet Berlin when he was younger and I’ll show you a liar. Her lisp was infectious and you could never be sure what hair style she’d be sporting.
The two things that come to mind when I think of Bad Influence! are the cheats expert called NamRod, who looked like a far-right activist and lived in a shed, and the datablast – a collection of game info and cheats that was flashed rapidly onto the screen during the credits. You had to record the datablast and watch it back in slow motion. In 1993 that was considered hi-tech.
Sky’s, inferior in every way, version of Gamesmaster. But then I would say that – I didn’t really ever get to watch it and was always jealous of my mates who had the new satellite channels at home and would talk about Games World in the playground.
Presented by Bob Mills, the main highlight of the show was where a nerdy looking character called Leslie, played by David Walliams, yep the David Walliams, would appear in comedy sketches with the Games Mistress, played by Jet from Gladiators, yep the Jet from Gladiators.
A favourite this one and well worth staying up until 11pm on a Friday night for. It was hosted by a number of very nice looking ladies: Aleks Krotoski, Emily Newton Dunn, Claudia Trimde and my personal favourite, Emily Booth.
Apart from the obvious appeal to teenage boys, the show featured games news, reviews and tips and was also a bit of a forerunner to The Gadget Show as it featured the latest gizmos and gadgets. Pioneering stuff.
The most recent show on our list, Gamer.tv deserves a mention for its longevity if not anything else. It ran for six years and amassed an incredible 283 episodes.
It changed the way video games were shown on TV although I think that the reason for the new approach was more due to budget restraints rather than innovation. The show mainly consisted on long demo footage of games with presenter Sam Delaney narrating the action.
Sure, there was a lot more game footage but where were the future comic stars dressed like geeks? Where were the crude graphics that made a famous astronomer look like some sort of futuristic Humpty Dumpty? And, most importantly, where was Violet Berlin?
Did we leave your favourite off the list? Let us know the usual way.