Dara O’Briain hosts a new video-game show based on the hit Edinburgh Fringe show Go 8 Bit and the Unheard Nerd guys got to sit in the audience on Monday to watch it get filmed.
As a kid I remember avidly watching GamesMaster but since then I’ve never really found a games show to replace it. Now, that could be entirely down to the fact that my love for gaming is heavily embedded in retro roots, or that in reality there aren’t that many TV shows given most people take to YouTube for gaming series or that my PS3 is simply more actively used for Netflix than anything else. Here though is a show that uses a basic format of two teams (captained by comedians Steve McNeil and Sam Pamphilon), competing in 5 games ranging from the most retro of retro (Chuckie Egg for example) to more modern offerings like Star Wars Battlefront. Within these 5 games are 2 that are the choice of each guest on the teams. Whilst the format is simple enough it’s not always quite as simple as playing the game as it was intended to be played. For example, Tetris was one of the games we saw but it involved one member of the team being blindfolded and given the controller while the teammate shouted instructions at them.
The scoring system is based on the audience voting on their phones for who they think will win each challenge and the highest percentage becomes the amount of points they are playing for (so if one team gets 62% of the votes that round becomes worth 62 points). That’s not all the crowd are encouraged to do though. Throughout the challenges you’re encouraged to shout, cheer and heckle the teams and one of us may have enjoyed doing that a bit too much.
So on Monday night Will and I settled down not really knowing what to expect and, without wanting to give too much away, we were treated to a really good show. The guests included a Scottish comedian and a former England and Premier League footballer and it was he who probably bore the brunt of my quips, particularly when playing his game of choice! Now these guests aren’t hardcore gamers by any means but watching them resort to trash talk and jumping out of their seat mid game was an enjoyable spectacle. In between the challenges there’s background given on the games by in-house gaming expert and comedian Ellie Gibson, the guests are asked about their gaming memories and Dara even gets to try out some of the latest gaming tech.
Obviously, we have no idea how the 3 hours we witnessed will be edited down into an hour long show but in my opinion there is enough there to satisfy hardcore gamers and those with a passing interest alike in what felt like a real celebration of gaming culture.
The first season will consist of 6 x 1 hour episodes and is due to air on Dave in the autumn.