Why games will replace TV

The idiot box has had its time. These games do its job better

TV has had a good run, but things have changed. What was once a miracle of the modern age (well, the fifties) has become a turgid slush-pile of recycled idiocy, stuffed to the gills with pap and choking to death on its own acidic advertising reflux. There are still good shows. Very good shows in fact. But they're outnumbered to a Custerian level by stupefying nonsense intended mainly to fill the gaps between "important messages from our sponsors".

So while we often bang on about games not being interchangeable with other media, we reckon there's a good case for games replacing TV. Looking at the reasons people watch certain shows, it's become increasingly obvious that games can provide equivalent if not better experiences, and without the creeping sense of dissipating IQ points to boot. So unplug the aeriel cable, stick in another HDMI and give that screen a healthier second life.

The TV experience

Let's face it, there are two real reasons people watch talent shows. The first is that they have an insatiable lust for bland, soulless, instantly forgettable harmonised noises and want to know which heavily marketed new 'artist' is going to be the corporate-prescribed get-out from having to develope their own musical opinions for the next six months.

Above: ZZZZZZzzzzz... Wha?

The other, much more rewarding one, is to laugh at the talentless and mentally unstable, just like on a good old Victorianday tripdown at the local asylum. The Victorians also gave us light bulbs, heavy opium abuse and widespread STDs, so you know they had the right idea about their leisure time.

The better, video game alternative

Problem is, it's impossible to revel in the lighthearted fun of the afflicted's mortifying public failure without suffering the inevitable rise of the aformentioned vapid, overpaid warble-monger a few months later. Karma can be a bastard at times.

Above: Neverending comedy gold!

The solution? Buy SingStar for the PS3. Trawling through the uploaded videos in the SingStore's gallery of despair is like an endlessly regenerating advent calendar where the chocolate is replaced withdarkly comedicaudio-visual horror. And unlike TV talent shows, when you do stumble upon one of the boring, fairly talented ones, you can just close the vid and never have to hear from them again.

The TV experience

What was originally sold ten years ago as a groundbreaking social experiment is now, and has been for a long time, the most thoroughly depressing indictment of the plausibility of inverse human evolution ever witnessed by man or beast.

Above: Back yard. Shotgun.

What was billed as a warts-and-all observation of human interaction under extreme conditions is now a showcase for pioneeringly cretinous wastes of DNA to thrash their self-esteem to a pulp against the lens of a camera in the vain hope of improving their self-image through the fame of gross public degradation. It makes an amazing case for the idea of nuclear holocaust actually being a positive forward step for mankind.

The better, video game alternative

It’s possible to draw some strong parallels between Big Brother and the Sims series. Both deal with artificial people attempting to further themselves through interactions with others within a limited environment. Both allow interference from an outside influence. And both provide the facility for the fame-hungry participants to chase their dream unashamedly.

Above: We would ring up to vote 1000 times a day for this stuff

Both game and TV show are based around the same basic hook and content, but with The Sims, the player can manipulate the entire situation to fit any experiment or scenario they want to play out. And crucially, in The Sims, the player can comedically murder any participant they want.Forced euthenasiamay also be the humane thing to do to most Big Brother contestants, but sadly in the real world it remains illegal. At least until they run out of ideas in another couple of series.

World of WarCraft would also be a good replacement. Not only does it provide some brilliant human observation potential through its thriving simulated society, it also centres around the concept of disparate, randomly-thrown-together people pretending to be something they’re not while forging alliances of convenience to further their own cause.


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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