We live in an Internet-driven world. A world in which there’s really only one good reason for television to bother discussing videogames, and that’s to paint every possiblebroadcast moment with footage of Olivia Munn’s face.
Yet shows about consoles and computing continue to be churned out the digestive tract of production companies, and they're now being made for the extremes of the gamer spectrum. From the hardcore guild leader to the casual guy who just wants press releases read out loud to him because he can’t be bothered typing letters into a search engine.
So let’s take a look at the gaming programs that modern television has tried to inflict upon us over the past ten years.
Reviews on the Run
For years the videogame media circuit has been ruled by the iron fist of impossibly fit talking heads and pictures of Jessica Chobot fellating bits of hardware. In 2002, however, this all changed – briefly, anyway – when Canada-based show Reviews on the Run stepped up to the plate and asked the pivotal question, “Who represents the short, mongoloid Italian gamer market?” and said "No more!" to scouting out models from East Vancouver back-lots, but "Yes!" to locking them back in a dungeon for filler footage of the girls stroking a Nintendo DS.
Reviews on the Run began as a simple review segment featuring industry middle-weights Victor Lucas and Tommy Tallarico, later becoming its own fully-fledged television show. This was a "games" show in its purest form: no frills, just two guys talking to a camera in the middle of a park. To the makers of RotR, the days of catering to flashy trends were long over. This was a forum where men could be men and talk almost exclusively about Burnout during a lull.
While he’s a brilliant composer and the man we have to thank for the Videogames Live! concerts, Tommy Tallarico is the reason the mainstream will never accept actual gamers. Watching RotR is like everything that could be horrible about getting stuck in a room with adult American nerds. It’s like stumbling into a sealed room operated by The Lone Gunmen just as "Ringo" Langly begins yelling something about the original BSG being more "pure" and then starts calling you “queer” when you disagree.
There’s only one problem with England’s own Gamezville and that is that it seems to be written and conceived by people who have never actually met other humans before. This is the equivalent of having a computer randomly generate nouns to create a premise for a television show about modern British teens. The result features cast-offs found in an MTV parking-lot, all taking part in an hour-long gaming turd that seemed to be catered pretty much exclusively to the gaming market of South London tax dodgers and petty criminals.
Gamezville is the gem that Johnny Finch, producer of GamesMaster singled out when he said “I have more respect for suicide bombers than I do for the people who are involved with Gamezville.” There are few TV shows that have seemed so out of touch with modern computing and England and reality than this. This wasn’t a games show, this was a combination of a guy in a “Bad to the Bone” tank top and the sinking feeling that you’re about to get mugged by 13-year-olds from the wrong side of the tracks. More than that, it was an example of television studios having little interest in creating content for actual gamers.
Instead, Gamezville represents the niche group of about 12 existing teenagers who are clamouring for a games-related television so depressing and patronising it must be made by people who must actually hate videogames and gamers.