I really quite enjoyed Ghostbusters: Afterlife, my spoiler-free review is right here. The short version is that I thought it was a really decent sequel to a much-loved IP. A little too heavy on the fan service and references at times, with the last third really just becoming a remake of the last third of the original. Yes, I am talking about Ghostbusters: Afterlife in this, very obviously, an article about the new series of GamesMaster… but why? Trust me, there’s a point.
Look, I loved the original GamesMaster. I even spend a year and a half researching, rewatching and writing up a very, very lengthy, multi-part retrospective of the original series in its entirety. So I guess it was inevitable that I would also cover the recent reboot of the classic gaming TV show. I watched the first show when it was released on YouTube and decided then that I would watch all three episodes before I offered my opinion. Well, all three episodes have now been broadcast (you can find them on YouTube) and so now I can put into words just how I feel about the return of GamesMaster.
Honestly, I’m very underwhelmed. I didn’t dislike it, I didn’t really love it either and I really didn’t see the point. When the show originally aired back in 1992, it was fresh and unique. GamesMaster was the first-ever fully dedicated video game TV show. Games and gaming had been featured on shows before but GamesMaster was 100% game-centric. Now? Everybody and their mother thinks they are a ‘pro gamer’ and YouTube exists. We are lost in an ocean of ever-increasing video game content these days. Twitch, Facebook Gaming and more. You can’t move for ‘content creators’ these days and as gaming has gotten more mainstream over the years, so has watching gaming.
GamesMaster is largely redundant these days, its uniqueness no longer exists and all it has going for it is a wave of nostalgia of a time long past. Here’s an interview with showrunner Céin McGillicuddy that brings up a couple of things I really need to explore. First:
“We’re not looking to recreate what came before.”
Yeah, that’s exactly what you have done. This new GamesMaster is a direct recreation of the original series. There is nothing new original here at all. It is a carbon copy of the original show in every single way Second:
“This is the gritty, edgy, subversive GamesMaster that we know and love.”
Yes and no. It is the GamesMaster that the fans know and love… but it is pretty damn far from being gritty, edgy or subversive. Maybe back in 1992, this would’ve been seen as gritty, edgy or subversive but these days, saying a couple of very mild swear words is pretty much standard.
See, this is where my Ghostbusters: Afterlife analogy comes into play. As I said, I thought the film was really good. I loved the first and second acts as they felt new, while still being firmly planted in a much-loved IP. It was the final act where the film disappointed me, as it just recreated the final act of the original film. This is exactly what this new GamesMaster does, it is the final act of Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Cheeky Scottish presenter? An English TV icon as the GamesMaster? Early CGI stylised intro? And so on. Heavy on the nostalgia and very light on actual worthy or interesting content.
This new GamesMaster does absolutely nothing new. Yeah, I get that they wanted to please fans of the original. Fine, but don’t go labelling your show as being ‘gritty, edgy and subversive’ when it is not. Call it a lazy copy instead. Honestly, I found this reboot extremely lazy and I seriously failed to see the point of it being made. It’s not 1992 anymore, we have hundreds, thousands of options to us for gaming content. And that is what this show new feels like… just another gaming show, one that is a pale imitation of a true classic too.
As I said before, I rewatched the entire show to do a retrospective. All seven series covered, all one hundred and twenty-six episodes. To do my retrospective, I had to watch all of those episodes multiple times too, usually three or four times. I had to watch a hell of a lot of GamesMaster over the year and a half it took me to finish my retrospective. When you do that, you can really see the show’s decline. Series five was where the rot began, series six was where the decay really kicked in and series seven was the show’s death-rattle. This new version feels very much like series six of the old GamesMaster, it just feels like it is decaying in front of your very eyes. It feels stale even though it has only just begun.
It’s old hat, it’s passé and dated… and it’s only three episodes old. It feels long-winded too. You’re looking at forty-five minute episodes when it really doesn’t need to be. Challenges on the show last a few minutes, some only seconds. The rest of the show is seriously padded out with filler. There’s a section explaining basic gaming knowledge to a (supposed) non-gamer. Let me ask you this… why? If you are not a gamer, why would you be watching a show that is dedicated to gaming? There’s several minutes that could be cut from the runtime right there. If you are new to gaming and want to learn more, why would you watch a several minutes long section on GamesMaster when there are hundreds of better YouTube videos out there that explain elements of gaming far more concisely?
Most of the challengers are streamers and YouTubers. It all feels like a plug for their channels and not genuine gaming challenges. I miss the likes of the everyday guy (or gal) on the street being the contestants. Let’s have more of Adam from Cock Alley, Calow or Tracy from Shitterton, Dorset… carefully hidden swearing and naughty slang… edgy (according to Céin McGillicuddy). Now we have DJ (insert stupid name here), don’t forget to like and subscribe, give that bell a smash. The show is the gaming TV equivalent of this gif…
It really does feel like a thirty-year-old relic trying to be relevant by repeating what worked three decades ago, throwing in some YouTube talk and just hoping for the best. I can really only repeat what I stated earlier with: I didn’t dislike it, I didn’t really love it either and I really didn’t see the point. Maybe the show is just not for me? I did like Trevor McDonald as the new GamesMaster though, he really works. He said ‘bollocks’ in the last episode… edgy!
But nope, I really don’t see me tuning in for more if/when this returns for a ‘proper’ series next year. Some relics are just better left in the past and only really work as nostalgic memories.
2 thoughts on “The Return Of GamesMaster?”
I actually enjoyed this revival, and so have the lovely lads from the Under Consoletation Podcast, who have interview the likes of Rab Florence (who did get approval and encouragement from Dominik Diamond), Frankie Ward (whose green jumpsuit not only makes comfy maternity clothes, but also pays homage to Dexter Fletcher), Christian Dinh (the lad who beat the Donkey King Country challenge in Series 4 Episode 6 and came back here to beat Cuphead and become a two-time Golden Joystick winner), Jonesy Spacecat (who played one of the Gatekeepers) and Ketchup & Mustard (who battled each other on Mortal Kombat 11)
As for “Some relics are just better left in the past and only really work as nostalgic memories”, Crystal Maze, Supermarket Sweep, and Family Fortunes all pulled off their revivals pretty well, thanks to the likes of Richard Ayoade, Rylan Clark-Neal, and Gino D’Acampo, who all deconstructed the concepts while being in on the joke, and GamesMaster is no different since Rab was also doing the same thing.
And as far as the revival being too long at 45 minutes, to quote WWE Hall of Famer Diamond Dallas Page, that’s not a bad thing, it’s a GOOD thing, because the half-hour format of the original has aged rather poorly, so going to the full hour format actually worked in the long run.
IMHO The only way the GamesMaster revival would EVER feel like Series 6 is if they spent more time talking about movies and carnival rides instead of games.
Bottom line, I respect your opinion, but please don’t discourage people from actually wanting to want the GamesMaster revival. You stay in your own lane, and I’ll stay in mine.
P.S. You should’ve ended the article with “But if you still liked the GamesMaster revival, then more power to you.”
When I first read this comment, part of me was going to delete it due to how much of a prick you’re being. On reflection, I thought it would be best to give you a lesson in how I work and point out your hypocrisy instead.
Let us begin…
I really don’t give a fuck who has interviewed who. I also couldn’t give a toss if Dominic Diamond gave his blessing or not. DD could’ve sucked the new presenter off for all I (don’t) care. None of that has anything to do with my views and opinions, of which I am free to express on my own blog in any way I wish.
Just as you are free to not read or comment on anything I do write. But, as you have chosen to comment, so I shall retort.
What the bollocks do other TV shows, successful or not, have to do with my personal opinion? Supermarket Sweep has had a revival… so that means I have to enjoy this GamesMaster reboot… why? What’s the logic in your thinking there? You want me to change my opinions because The Crystal Maze is back on TV? Your reasoning is nonsensical.
I will point out that I said SOME relics should be left in the past… SOME. Do you need that I teach you a quick English lesson on what the word SOME means? Just because some older shows work via a reboot, doesn’t mean all shows will.
I don’t like the reboot, it is badly written and conceived drivel. The cheap male vs female costume comparison from the last episode tells you all you need to know about how badly written and purposely biased it is to force a flawed point of view. Which I will cover for you right now…
So they pitted a Big Daddy from Bio Shock and a ghillie suit against the costume worn by Quiet from MGS 5 to show how skimpy female costumes fair against male ones in a realistic environment.
Fine… except for the fact that Big Daddies are both male and female it’s just armour grafted to a human. Gender has nothing to do with it. And ghillie suits are worn by both sexes too. So that makes the whole point they were trying to make utterly redundant if women are also wearing those same outfits. I also noticed how no skimpy cladded males were brought up… of which there are plenty of in gaming. So why not do a like for like comparison instead of a flawed and bias one? It was a shit and unnecessary segment in a pathetic attempt to focus on a ‘problem’ in gaming, whilst ignoring the fact that there are female characters who wear perfectly fine outfits and male ones that wear little to nothing.
That is just one that example of many of the utterly poor writing and force narratives the show is pushing for the sake of being ‘edgy’, which the show is far from being.
Yeah that would work great… but not when you only have about 10-15 minutes of real content and 30-odd minutes of asinine filler. Also, you’re quoting a wrestler at me… seriously? Sweaty fat blokes wearing tight pants to partake in staged fighting is where you draw your inspiration from to attempt to teach me a lesson?
You really do need to hit me with something more substantial and high-brow than steroid taking, bad soap opera actors in tights spouting crap for masses of idiots.
I don’t know, the shit writing, crappy presenting, desperation to keep hold of something that is now outdated is pretty similar too.
I haven’t discouraged anyone. In fact, I ended my article by very specifically saying how I, me, myself, singular, won’t be watching a new series. I never once suggested that others should do the same. I’m a small time blogger who gets around 300 views a day, many of whom are outside of the UK and have no idea what GamesMaster is. I don’t have the massive sway that sites like IGN, Polygon, Game Informer, etc… I mean, I have far higher standards than those admittedly. But I don’t have their impact.
Also, I provided a direct link to where the show can be seen… how is that ‘discouraging’ when I’m telling people where to watch it?
Plus, I like to think people who do read my words are intelligent enough to make their own minds up anyway.
This is where I’m going to point out your hypocrisy. Quick reminder, this is MY blog… this is MY lane. In fact, this is my entire eight lane motorway, they’re all MY lanes. Still, you have chosen to come into my lane to tell me to stay in my lane?
You may want to rethink that point.
No, I should end an article however the fuck I want. Again, my blog and I’ll write what I like, how I like. You can’t tell me to ‘stay in my own lane’ to follow that up by telling me how to write my blog. How about you stay in your own lane you hypocritical prick?
I’m all for sensible debate and reasoning and I think it is perfectly acceptable to question my opinions,I welcome it. But who the fuck do you think you are telling me how to write my blog? Don’t like it? Off you fuck then…
Supermarket Sweep and wrestling…. seriously?