Videogames are a big deal these days. They're a major consumer interest area and one of the most profitable media on the planet. As such, you'd rightly expect the media coverage around them to extend well beyond specialist magazines and web sites written by suave debonair international playboy types. Alas though, the mainstream media consistently gets things wrong, and we're not just talking about Fox News.
TV has long strived to crack the gamer demographic and get us back to using the tube for its originally intended purpose, but more often than not, what we've been presented with has been about as entertaining, informative and generally appealing as a roast testicle sandwich. So is all hope for a decent gaming TV show lost? Let's look back through the history of games on TV and see if we can find any reasons to be cheerful.
Starcade: 1982 - 1984
Games on TV in 1982? But they barely even existed back then, surely?
True, this period was very early days for gaming, but being so new and radically different to anything that had come before made the pass-time a worldwide craze. If you were a gamer it was an entertainment revolution, and even if not then it was a fascinating cultural curiosity. Thus the media jumped on it in the '80s. Cinema screens everywhere flickered with the likes of Tron, The Last Starfighter and The Wizard. On TV though, we got Starcade. But was it as horrible as you'd expect?
No, it wasn't really. It was awkward, contrived and hosted by a guy seemingly beyond desperate to sound like he knew what he was talking about, but for the period it was actually pretty well done. Of course, the warm and hazy vantage point of '80s nostalgia probably makes us appreciate it for the overdose of neon and cheesy voiceover work as much as the arcade challenges and trivia quiz rounds, but what gamer in any era has ever been able to resist a show that gives you a chance to win an arcade cabinet? Even if it is Burger Time.
Head over to Starcade.tv to check out fifteen full episodes. We recommend number 62 in particular, if only for the intensely scary serial-killer-in-waiting that is contestant Leo.