Writers write stuff. TV presenters present stuff. That’s the way it is and that’s the way it should be. But as the internet grows, writers, particularly in the games industry, are called upon to exchange their keyboard for a microphone and their crafted turns of phrase for a forced smile and freeform, top-of-the-head chatter.
Whether it’s down to cost cutting, a scrabbling for advertising revenue or delusions of multi-tasking professionalism, there are now few significant games sites that haven’t tried their writers out as video presenters. (And yep GR’s deliberately dragging its feet on this.)
It’s one thing to listen to a stammering podcast with acres of dead air (somehow that can still come across with a little lo-fi cool.) It’s quite another to watch, crystal clear, someone’s shattering inadequacies in streaming video as they fluff their cue, dry up and offer rambling insights no more perceptive than the average forum rant.
But, the cult of games journalists turned VJs is now too big to ignore. No matter how preferable that might sometimes seem.
As a current snapshot of this questionable phenomenon we offer our selections of the bad, the occasionally ok and the downright awful. Check ‘em out and decide for yourself. Can game journos actually be TV presenters?
Show: Eurogamer TV Show
Host: British blokey bloke
Rather than just offer up just straight game footage, Eurogamer chucks in some guys doing paint balling too. It’s not that bad from a professionalism perspective. Host Johnny Minkley clearly relishes his time in front of the camera and the edit is snappy enough. That doesn’t save it from the cheese factor though.
"See you in the killhouse”, Minkley says, before ending with a fist-shaking, “grrrrrr!"
Minkley and a couple of prize winning readers chat as they dress in flak jackets preparing for the paintballing.
"Do you think this would actually improve your video gaming experience if you wore these outfits in the living room at home, playing a bit of Rainbow 6 online?” Minkley says.
"It would certainly improve my sex life”, says a goon.
"No comment", says Johnny, pulling that light entertainment staple, the faux grin. A classic look that says 'whoops, what has he just said!”
Later, according to Minkley, “it was time to do it… for real”. Years of TV watching clearly paying off, as he delivers this line with a ‘real presenter’ intonation. Undulating between drawling lethargy and squealing excitement. Ending sentences in a higher pitch is textbook. Part Jeremy Clarkson, part Jeremy Paxman, with half a day's media training chucked in for good measure.
Also watch for this beautiful piece of self-satisfied, Alan Partridge style word play.
"While it's SMALL change of the game… it's ALL change for the warfighters."