Five videogame shows you’ve (probably) never heard of

Gamesmaster! For some, this was the be-all and end-all of TV gaming shows, but as Robert Baker discovers, its success spawned a host of not quite as illustrious wannabes…

gamesmaster

For gamers of the eighties living in the land of bowler hats seeing any representation of our beloved hobby outside of selected, dedicated magazines and the occasional shelf of games at Woolworths was wishful thinking at best.

And then one day some bright spark threw a handful of games at a fat astronomer and a certain Dominik Diamond, pointed a camera at the resultant explosion of genius and the rest, as they say, is a slice of pure, unadulterated perfection.

Nowadays the internet has taken away the sting of solitude, an abundance of gaming shows and hosts lay in wait for your attentions and ‘Like’s. But still there are shows that, for better or (arguably) worse will go unseen and unknown by all but the most ardent of gamers or curious of surfers…

5; Bad Influence!

Andy Crane, Violet Berlin, and lots of knitted pullovers did nothing to calm those looking for a fix after the sad demise of the ‘Diamond.

Not terrible, but aimed at a market the show’s producers didn’t seem to understand; and with the ‘parents are squares, man!’ delivery, nobody was too surprised when the whole thing went tits up and off the air…

4 – Games World

Sky One’s attempt at riding on the coat-tails of greatness delivered us a show with quite possibly the least likeable presenter in history, a range of character actors filling in as gamers in rubber foam suits for audience members and the like to challenge and best, and the trotting out of totty for that perfect ‘spotty teenager gamer geek’ to touch himself to, further compounding the belief that all gamers were nerds with blue-balls.

Still, it featured the world’s greatest gamer Guru Larry, so for that we should be grateful…

3 – Video Power

Magnificent mullets, power suits that had nothing to do with Seamus, Geiger-esque studio scenery and confused looking contestants…yeah; this show had it all

2 – When Games Attack

The spiritual successor to GamesMaster and presented by the Legend himself, the program ran around 20 episodes deep before plugs were pulled and television became a more hopeless landscape of solitude and soaps.

Broadcast on satellite television on an obscure channel it was nevertheless the number one show on the subject of gaming in the hearts, minds, and attentions of pre-internet gamers everywhere. And that’s not a scientific fact; that’s 100% pure conjecture. And damn straight, it was magnificent!

1 – Game Centre CX

A Japanese comedian, an old 8- or 16-bit console, a game, and an abundance of fan-written subtitles is about all you need to know about Game Centre CX.

Never before has the sight of a middle aged man paying with himself been such a compelling watch, as we see the Chief battle his way through an arbitrary and occasionally obscure choice of retro-game for around 58minutes at a time. Be quick, mind, as YouTube seem intent on removing all traces of subbed versions of the show, meaning you ain’t likely to catch the Chief rocking Rockman or bettering Bonk if you don’t get a move on – unless you buy the series’ box-sets and can speak Japanese, that is.

Robert Baker

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