TV Videogame shows: Have they always sucked ass?

The accepted wisdom is that TV just doesn't 'get' games, but is that really true? Time for a look through the archives...

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 wasactually pretty well done. Of course, the warm and hazyvantage pointof '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 itis Burger Time.

Head over toStarcade.tvto 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.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Long-time GR+ writer Dave has been gaming with immense dedication ever since he failed dismally at some '80s arcade racer on a childhood day at the seaside (due to being too small to reach the controls without help). These days he's an enigmatic blend of beard-stroking narrative discussion and hard-hitting Psycho Crushers.
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