This month Mr Biffo wants to tell you about his new TV show
When you look at the size of the games industry, it’s astonishing that television rarely touches it. Currently, in the UK, we’ve got one throwaway 15-minute show on the BBC iplayer, Channel 4 dabbled in it recently with the god-awful Rob Beckett-fronted Playing For Time, and Dave – at the time of writing this – has just cancelled Dara O Briain’s Go 8-Bit and its spin-off
Go 8-Bit DLC. Even Ginx TV – the only dedicated esports gaming channel – seems to be under threat, having terminated its contract with Virgin Media over assorted disputes.
I dunno about you, but I miss the days when we had Gamesmaster, Games World, Bits and
Bad Influence! on our screens. All of those shows tackled gaming in a way that was fun and authentic, and passionate, and colourful… without alienating anyone. Gamesmaster was, lest we forget, a massive hit for Channel 4 back in the Nineties.
A proper gaming show is something that many of us yearn for, but something which TV doesn’t seem to want to touch. Given the scale of gaming – easily comparable these days with the music and movie industries – it baffles me why they’d not at least try. I mean, if you want to make such a show accessible, there are decades of old games out there which would tickle the nostalgia bone of many a casual viewer and lapsed gamer. Why has Channel 4 done a ‘100 greatest’ show on everything but videogames?
I work in TV for a living, and contrary to what some people seem to think – that TV is scared of gaming, because it competes with broadcasters for potential screen time – I think it’s more that there aren’t many gamers working in television. It isn’t that they’re scared; they just don’t understand it, while also acknowledging that they’re losing viewers to Minecraft and Fortnite videos on Youtube. Their response seems to be to bury their heads in the sand and carry on regardless.
I hope you’ll forgive the infomercial-type nature of what I intend to tell you next, but I’m almost damp with excitement, and I think Retro Gamer readers will get a kick out of it. I’ve grown tired of broadcasters ignoring our hobby, so earlier this year I ran a crowdfunding campaign to bring back proper gaming TV.
Inspired by the likes of Gamesmaster and Bad Influence!, I – and a group of passionate friends – have made a show that’s the sort of games show I wish we’d get on Channel 4 or BBC1. In short, a show that’s good enough to be on TV, and looks at all the old games and systems we grew up playing, in a bid to prove that being a gamer doesn’t stop at the age of 18, when you finally grow out of Fortnite. It’s informative, anarchic, and inclusive; everyone is welcome.
Series 1 of Digitiser The Show is now up on Youtube as you read this, and I’m incredibly proud of it. Please give it a watch, if only to prove that retro gaming TV can be massive.
I miss the days when we had Gamesmaster, Games World, Bits and Bad Influence! on our screens