TV shows come in all shapes and sizes nowadays. Whether you’re looking for some high thrills and chillingly tense dramatic moments, a week-by-week competition in which the colourful contestants get voted off one at a time, or just some easy Sunday night comfort viewing; chances are there’s something for you. In fact, in recent years with the advent of subscription based streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Instant Video, it’s never been easier to find something good to watch on the telly.
it’s never been easier to find something good to watch
With all this being said however, if you’re a gamer and you happen to be on the lookout for a TV show based off of your favourite pastime, then you may struggle. Yes, there are shows that have been inspired by video-games, and shows that make numerous references to video games. There are even some TV show characters – such as the quirky quartet from The Big Bang Theory –who spend a fair amount of their time button mashing. But as far as full-blown mainstream video-game shows are concerned, the track record isn’t great. GamesMaster for instance, which predominantly featured game reviews, ran on Channel 4 from 1992-1998 and was pulled due to changes in management. Later there was a show called Thumb Bandits also on Channel 4 which satirically responded to gaming news. However this attempt was met with mediocre reviews and ran only from 2001-2002. And finally, the children’s programme Bamzooki, which ran on CBBC from 2004-2010 and pitted various virtual creatures against one another in a series of increasingly difficult challenges, is the only other show that springs to mind. Though to actually label Bamzooki as a video game show does seem a stretch.
Certainly then, the idea of a successful show hosted by one of the country’s most popular stand-up comedians, that focusses primarily on video-games would appear far removed from reality. That is, until now. Starting in autumn of 2016, six episodes of Dara O Briain’s Go 8 Bit will air on Dave as part of the channel’s own line of original programming. The show, which is set to be hosted by comedian Dara O Briain and video game journalist Ellie Gibson, will pit two celebrities– captained by comedians Steve McNeil and Sam Pamphilon respectively – against one another in a five round competition consisting of “increasingly competitive, hilarious gaming contests”. The games featured in these challenges will range from retro classics such as Donkey Kong and Tetris, to expansive modern gaming experiences such as Grand Theft Auto and Mario Kart. According to Dave, there will even be some “larger-than-life game-inspired physical challenges” that will take contestants out of the virtual world and pit them against each other in the real world.
hopefully come autumn, gamers will have that one worthwhile videogame tv show
Go 8 Bit will not actually be the first original programme hosted by O Briain on Dave. Dara Ó Briain: School of Hard Sums – a mathematical comedy game show – ran from 2012-2014 and was met with generally positive reviews. I personally caught the odd showing of School of Hard Sums and definitely found it to be worth my time. It was funny, it utilised maths in mind-blowing ways that I never thought possible, and surprisingly it entertained me. This was particularly shocking to me given my leftover disdain towards the subject following my disastrous AS results. Therefore, I have nothing but high hopes for Go 8 Bit. The creative team behind the show seem promising, and celebrity guests will appeal to a mainstream audience hopefully securing its longevity. Only time will tell, but hopefully come autumn, gamers will have that one worthwhile video-game TV show to get stuck into.