The Return Of GamesMaster?

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.  

My Entire GamesMaster Retrospective

Back in January of 2020, I thought that it would be a good idea to cover the nineties gaming TV show GamesMaster in its entirety. All seven series over seven years and a hundred and twenty-six episodes. To be honest, I didn’t actually think about just how much work would have to go into it. Watching over 3,400 minutes of a TV show… and that’s if I only watched each episode one… I didn’t. I would watch each episode once and take a few notes, watch each episode again as I typed up the first draft of each article, then watch each episode for a third (sometimes fourth) time as I edited each article. Just to ensure I got as much right as I could. So yeah, that’s over 10,000 minutes of GamesMaster that I had to watch to get this thing done, then a shit-load of typing to put the words (I’ve not counted so don’t ask how many) on the page, so to speak. In short, it took a while. From January 2020 to July 2021 in fact. This is the longest retrospective I have ever done… and I once wrote a history of horror films from 1896 to the modern day!

Well, now that my GamesMaster retrospective is done, I thought I’d put it all together in one place for easier reading. Saves people searching or clicking about on my blog to find it all. So here you go, just give each link a click to open a new window for each and every article of my GamesMaster retrospective.


GamesMaster: A Retrospective – Introduction

GamesMaster: A Retrospective – Series One

GamesMaster: A Retrospective – Series Two, Part One

GamesMaster: A Retrospective – Series Two, Part Two

GamesMaster: A Retrospective – Series Three, Part One

GamesMaster: A Retrospective – Series Three, Part Two

GamesMaster: A Retrospective – Series Four, Part One

GamesMaster: A Retrospective – Series Four, Part Two

GamesMaster: A Retrospective – Series Five, Part One

GamesMaster: A Retrospective – Series Five, Part Two

GamesMaster: A Retrospective – Series Six, Part One

GamesMaster: A Retrospective – Series Six, Part Two

GamesMaster: A Retrospective – Series Seven

GamesMaster: A Retrospective – Dave Perry vs Mario 64

GamesMaster: A Retrospective – Series Seven

And I’ve made it. This has been a long journey, one I began back on the 30th of January last year, with my introduction and first-ever article covering GamesMaster. When I came up with the idea for this retrospective, I forgot how big in length this show was. My very jaded memory remembered it as only being six to eight episodes per series. So I admit that I got a bit overwhelmed with just how many episodes there were, especially with series two and three’s epic twenty-six episodes apiece.

Still, I was adamant that I would finish what I started, well over a year ago now. Finally here, at the last ever series of GamesMaster and looking back, I’ve honestly really enjoyed doing this whole thing. I’ve not watched the show since it first aired back in 1992. So, to go through every series, every episode has been a fantastic trip down memory lane. But before I get too sentimental (there’s time for that at the end of this), I need to cover the final ten episodes of this groundbreaking show. Yup, just ten episodes to cover. So no need to split this one into two parts. Plus the final episode is just a compilation of GamesMaster’s best bits too. So there are really only nine proper episodes.

And so, ’tis the end. A hundred and twenty-six episodes, seven series and spanning seven years. GamesMaster was the ultimate gaming TV show, a show that kickstarted a slew of copycats through the nineties and beyond. The likes of Games World, Games Republic, Bad Influence to name a few, all owe a great debt to GamesMaster.


As I said previously, when I started this retrospective, I forgot how big in length GamesMaster was. I had plans to cover much more than just the episodes. I wanted to take a look at some behind the scenes stories, and such. In fact, the whole Mario 64-gate and Dave Perry’s infamous strop was the entire reason for this retrospective being written. See originally, I just wanted to write an article covering the whole Mario 64-gate thing and offer my own perspective on what I think happened. However, I thought in order to get the story across, I should do a background article on the history of GamesMaster just to give readers some perspective. That turned into a general intro of the show and from there, I just felt like covering every episode. Anyway, I still wanted to do those behind the scenes stories and cover the whole Mario 64-gate.

It was when I was about halfway through covering series four last year, when I realised that there’s never been a GamesMaster book. I write books, I already had (or soon would) every episode of every series covered. I have various pieces of research that I’ve done to cover other GamesMaster related subjects. So, why not just write a history of GamesMaster book? Cover as much as I can and cram it into a lovely book. So yeah that’s what I’m doing now. I’m not sure when this will be finished, to be honest, the biggest part (the episodes) are already done due to this retrospective. I’ll be adding more info about each episode in the finished book though. Then I just need to write up the other stuff I’ve researched and I’ll have the first draft of my GamesMaster book done. Give me twelve months or so and I’ll have a much better idea of where this book will be. But regardless, it’s coming.

Quick aside. I actually wrote a big chunk of this intro back in October of 2020 and back then, there wasn’t a GamesMaster book. Then Dominik Diamond himself announced an official GamesMaster book in early 2021 and got it funded on Kickstarter (the bastard). So where does that leave my idea of my own GamesMaster book? At the moment, I still really want to write it. I will be reading DD’s book when it is released, I’m sure his book will be very different to what I want to do. So as of writing, my GamesMaster book is on ice until I’ve read Dominick’s official one. After which, I’ll see if there’s still a market for mine and if I still want to write my GamesMaster book or not.

And with that lengthy intro out of the way, onto series seven.

Series Seven

Now, as I mentioned at the end of series six, there wasn’t supposed to be another series. Dominik Diamond himself even explains what happened in this chat that Derick, a beardy friend of mine did with the great man recently. And no, I’m not linking to the chat just because I’m mentioned in it… even if Derick forgot the name of my book, it’s MicroBrits by the way! And that’s not even the new one… This one is (buy both!). I’m linking to it as it’s a really good interview and plenty of GamesMaster is discussed, with some really great behind the scenes info being split.

Okay, enough plugging of my books and friend’s interviews. Anyway, the way DD tells the story is that after series six ended, that was it, it was meant to be the end. No more series were being talked about and everyone said goodbye to GamesMaster. Then the broadcaster, Channel 4, called up the production team of GamesMaster and asked why they haven’t had any publicity guff for series seven. The team had to explain that there was no series seven, that was when Channel 4 said there is because they have GamesMaster series seven as scheduled to be aired in a few months. So that was it, the team got back together and (haphazardly) filmed series seven in a rush to get it to air.

Series seven aired between the 19th of December 1997 and the 3rd of February 1998. Filmed at the Hewland International’s TV studio in Brixton, where they also shot series five. The setting this time is a desert island. I’m not sure (story-wise) just how Dominik Diamond went from being in Atlantis from the previous series to an island here. The intro doesn’t really explain it either as it starts out with DD asleep on his couch while the TV plays an ad for a holiday in the background. We then enter Dominik’s dream/nightmare where he is running down a hallway towards a slowly closing door. Behind that door is the desert island. He just about makes it as the door closes and then DD is on the island with a couple of very attractive female castaways. Oh yeah, GamesMaster himself is now the sun!


See, the only thing I can work out from this inexplicable intro is that, from the ongoing story perspective that has linked all of the series so far… everything was a dream. It’s the only thing I can think of that can explain how Dominik went from being in Atlantis to being asleep on his couch… because he’s always been asleep on his couch. So, does that mean that none of the previous events really happened? Dominik Diamond was never in a church in series one presenting a video game TV show, he never died, was never sent to hell and heaven, etc. The entirety of GamesMaster, including this series, has it all been just a dream?

Episode One

The Two Big Tombs Of Lara Croft is the name of the first challenge of this new series. Playing Tomb Raider II (PC), two players, Jake and Paul have to finish a specially made custom level just for GamesMaster with the first to finish being the winner. As it is quite a long and challenging level, Jake and Paul had already started the game before the show began. Highlights and replays are shown before we catch up with where the challengers are up to at which point, Jake is slightly ahead. As the action continues, we catch up with the news. Mortal Kombat 4 (Arcade) gets a look at. The questionable movie sequel that is Alien: Resurrection gets previewed. Then finally, the pretty damn amazing and now, mostly forgotten game inspired by the movie, Blade Runner (PC) also gets previewed. Back to that Tomb Raider II challenge and Jake is still ahead but Paul has caught up quite a bit and is around a minute behind.


Dominik leaves Jake and Paul to get stuck into the first celebrity challenge of the series, and would you be surprised if I told you the celeb was as attractive 90s lass? Rampage World Tour (PlayStation 2) is GamesMaster’s pick and the challenger must earn 10,000 points within 90 seconds. Former glamour model Jo Guest is the celebrity for this one and of course, DD wastes no time in flirting with Jo. Still, there is a challenge to try and complete and Jo gets off to a decent but slow start, racking up 3,600 points in the first 30 seconds by smashing buildings and eating people. With 30 seconds left, Jo has 6,200 points… still quite a way off that 10,000 target and she needs to secure some big points to win. Just 10 seconds left and Jo score is 9,000, only needing to get 1,000 more. There are a few incidents, she gets lit on fire… the challenge ends with Jo scoring 10,200 points and 1 second on the clock to win the first golden joystick of series seven.

Catching up with The Two Big Tombs Of Lara Croft challenge once more and both Jake and Paul are stuck on the same part, trying to find a hidden key, with Paul just very slightly ahead. Then it’s time for some reviews. Final Fantasy VII (PlayStation) is given a whopping 90%. Then, Bomberman 64 (N64) is scored a reasonable 65%. This episode wraps up with the conclusion to The Two Big Tombs Of Lara Croft challenge. Paul is still in the lead, by quite a fair bit too. Unless he messes up in a huge way, he’s sure to win this one. He does too, quite comfortably, well ahead of Jake and Paul lifts the golden joystick.

Golden joysticks won – 2

Episode Two

GamesMaster selects Mortal Kombat 4 (Arcade) for his first challenge, which is called Oi Bloke! Fiddle Around With My Character. Three peeps have to play the game and find the best, most brutal special moves. GamesMaster will then judge which is the best and award the golden joystick to the winner. The trio of challengers are Mark, Mikey and Neil. Mark goes first playing as Sub-Zero. The challenge is played through the episode but first, the news. There’s a very early preview of Sega’s then-current new console, the Dural… later to be called the Dreamcast. Celebrity from the last episode, Jo Guest gets her own ‘game’ with Love Bytes (PC), one of those virtual girlfriend type games that were shit. Then there’s a plug for a Quake II championship hosted through the GamesMaster website. Back to that Mortal Kombat 4 challenge and all three have now had a bash at trying to find some impressive special moves. A highlight reel shows Mikey playing as Jarek pull out a huge hammer and smack his opponent across the face with it. Neil using Quan Chi throws out a green skull projectile-type thing. Mark playing as Shinnok steals a few moves from other characters. Honestly, nothing too impressive at all right now.

Time for a celebrity challenge then and it is the rhythm button presser, PaRappa the Rapper (PlayStation) as the game here. The contestants have to finish the first level of the game with a ‘good’ or better rating. The British hip hop group Kaleef (it’s okay, I don’t remember them either) are two of the band’s members, DJ Oddball (not sure if that is his birth name or not) and Mush (actually is his birth name). Playing on a custom-made HUGE PlayStation pad, Oddball and Mush have to work together to get a ‘good’ rating. They get off to a great start and even reach the highest ‘cool’ rating. As the level progresses, it gets harder and harder, they soon slip down to a ‘good’ rating. They even drop further down to a ‘bad’ rating, before getting back up to ‘good’. They reach the final part of the level and maintain their ‘good’ rating throughout to win a golden joystick.


A quick recap of the Oi Bloke! Fiddle Around With My Character challenge and we are promised some great moves. Mikey as Quan Chi large mace attack (really not that great as promised). Mark playing as Reptile discovers a neck-breaking move (slightly more impressive). Then Neil using Scorpion shows off the first fatality move of the challenge, with a spinning throw to launch his opponent into a large industrial fan for some blood and gore action. A review or two next as Screamer Rally (PC) is given a very decent 88%. And Automobili Lamborghini (N64) is lambasted with a very deserved 57%. Time to finish up and find a winner for the episode length Mortal Kombat 4 challenge. All three challengers get to pick three of their best moves. Mikey as Fujin uses a tornado-type move, a crossbow weapon move and as Liu Kang, a dragon munching fatality. Neil using Scorpion shows off a four-hit arm-break, using Sonya, he then selects a rotary blade attack, finally as Shinnok, a giant skeleton hand squeezing fatality. Last up is Mark playing as Sub-Zero and his seven-hit combo, Raiden’s exploding electricity fatality and Tanya’s bone-crunching exploding kiss fatality. With all the best moves now shown off, GamesMaster picks his favourites. Mark is declared the winner for finding the most fatalities and is given a golden joystick.

Golden joysticks won – 2

Episode Three

Three Big Men Get Hard is the snigger-worthy title of the first challenge. GamesMaster picks out an absolute classic for this one, GoldenEye 007 (N64). This is a three-part challenge where three contestants have to complete a specific challenge each, all within 4 minutes collectively. Tackling this one are actual bonafide Royal Marines, Del, Mark and Dave. Before that though, it’s news time again… a ‘news special’ in fact. The Nintendo Space World Expo is what’s being covered here and we get an exclusive look at some up and coming N64 titles. F-Zero X, Yoshi’s Story, 1080° Snowboarding, Banjo-Kazooie and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time are all previewed for Nintendo’s console. Back to the three-part Three Big Men Get Hard challenge on GoldenEye 007. Del goes first and he has to save two hostages from the Frigate mission. Del gets off to a terrible start and shoots one of the hostages, inuring a 5 second penalty, he follows that up by shooting the second hostage too. With both hostages dead, he ‘technically’ finished the level… very badly, but finished it in 37 seconds. Add on 10 seconds for killing both hostages, and his finishing time is 47 seconds. I’m not sure if it was quicker to kill the hostages and pick up the 10 second penalty or waste time to save them, to be honest. Mark goes next and he has to drive a tank from the Streets mission and get to the end. He storms through the level, taking a lot of damage, but is it the time that is important. Mark does run over a civilian right at the end and picks up a 5 second penalty. Finishing the level with a (collective) time of 2 minutes. That leaves exactly 2 minutes for Dave to finish the final part of this three-part challenge. Dave is given the Train level where he has to save Natalya Simonova and use Bond’s watch-laser to cut through the train floor and escape. He’s a bit sloppy and wastes valuable seconds, by the halfway point, he gets a bit confused with all the weapon/gadget options and pulls out Bond’s watch-laser for no reason, wasting even more time. Dave does finally make it to Natalya, but instead of saving her, he lets her get killed, incurring another time penalty. Now with only 14 seconds left, he has to escape the train by cutting a hole in the floor… you already know he’s not going to do it don’t you? Challenge failed, the Royal Marines are hostage killing pussies.


Boxers Khalid Shafiq and Ryan Rhodes are the celebs punching each other in the face on Street Fighter EX (PlayStation). You know the score by now, best of three wins. Khalid paying as Ryu, while Ryan prefers Chun-Li. The first round is a fairly close fight, until Ryan begins to kick some serious arse as Chun-Li, leaving Khalid with very little health left. But he’s not going down easy as Khalid makes a staggering comeback and reduces Ryan to just a few hits of health left. Still, Ryan isn’t having any of that and goes on to win round one… just about. Round two is another close one with neither getting the better of the other. Khalid does get a slight edge and that is when Ryan fights back. This one really does go down to the wire but Khalid just about wins out in the end. With one apiece, it is on to the final round. Ryan gets off to a blistering start as Khalid’s Ryu just stands there, doing nothing while he takes a serious kicking from Chun-Li. With only a smidgen of health left, Khalid begins to fight back and puts up a great fight too. It’s just not enough though and Ryan takes the win and the golden joystick.

Anyway, review time and Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back (PlayStation) gets itself a rather nice 88%. Then Diddy Kong Racing (N64) is awarded a slightly lesser but still good 85%. Then that is it for this episode as Dominik disappears into his island hut with his two female castaways for a bit of the old naughty-naughties.

Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Four

It is Top Skater (Arcade) that is the game for the first challenge, which is called: Oi Bloke Get Off My Halfpipe. Three contestants have just 1 minute to score as many points as possible by pulling off tricks. Riyad, H (?) and Aki are the three hoping to (insert outdated skateboarding lingo here) the crap out of the game. Riyad goes first and scores a below-average 76,529 points. H (?) gets on the board next and finishes up with a very impressive 102,605 points. Lastly, Aki storms into the lead with a pretty ‘effing impressive 281,515 points to win the golden joystick… it wasn’t even close really. News time again and the sequel flick, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation gets a little preview. Alien: Resurrection (game on the PlayStation ,not the film) and Quake 64 (N64) both get a brief look at too.


Footie playing fellas, Christian Dailly and Sol Campbell are the celebrities taking each other on in the next challenge. The game is Sega Worldwide Soccer (Saturn) and Christian plays as Scotland while Sol favours England. Christian begins the first half fighting and gets a couple of attempts on goal. After a rather questionable tactic from Sol who (as his goalie) kicks the ball to one of his team, only to instantly kick the ball out and awarding a corner to Scotland, Christian tucks the first goal of the game away with ease. Sol doesn’t give up though and has several great attempts on goal, none of them go in, but they were great attempts. The first half ends 1 – 0 to Christian Dailly. The second half gets underway and after yet another goalkeeping flub (Sol kicks the ball directly to a Scotland player from a goal kick), Christian very easily put away another. With just 15 seconds left of the game, Sol scores for England to make it 2 – 1. There are litteral seconds left on the clock, can Sol Campbell force a draw? Nope, cos with just 5 seconds left, Christian scores again and the game ends 3 – 1 to Christian Dailly to win the golden joystick.

It’s the first feature of the series next and there’s a look at the Nintendo 64’s DD add-on. Anyone remember that? Probably not as it was only released in Japan in December 1999 and discontinued by February 2001. Hardly a long-lasting piece of hardware. Anyway, the DD was an add-on for the N64 that used rewritable data storage so users could customise and create their own 3D models, etc to create ‘interactive gaming’ (as Nintendo boasted)… it didn’t last and the DD was forgotten about almost as fast as Nintendo’s Virtual Boy. Most of the games in development for the DD had to be released on traditional Nintendo 64 cartridges with none of DD extras as the system was a complete commercial failure. That damp squib ends this episode.

Golden joysticks won – 2

Episode Five

As is the tradition, it’s the GamesMaster Christmas special… with very little to do with Christmas. GamesMaster picks out Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back (PlayStation) as the game for the first challenge, which is lovingly called: If You Think This Is Hard Just Wait ‘Til You Hit Puberty. Here, the contestant must escape a rampaging polar bear and finish the level without losing a life. Alan is the main man for this one… well I say ‘man’ he is only 6-years-old. But before we can see just how Alan does, it’s time for the news. Dominik takes a look at a special Talk With Me Barbie doll which comes with all sorts of interactive software for your PC. You know something, this isn’t the first time DD has explored Barbie dolls on GamesMaster, I’m not judging… just relaying information. There’s a look at the then newly opened Sega Park in Harlow. A huge Sega centric arcade crammed with games. To finish, there’s also a preview of London’s first 3D IMAX cinema. Back to Alan and his If You Think This Is Hard Just Wait ‘Til You Hit Puberty challenge, which if he completes it, Dominik will give him a Christmas present. Alan does brilliantly and does a good job of tearing through the level while keeping that pesky polar bear at bay. Making tot the halfway point with some seriously impressive skills for a 6-year-old, things get tougher in the send half of the level. He does it to, getting to the end of the level to not only win a golden joystick, but also a Christmas present from Dominik, a Han Solo Star Wars figure. Now, I’m not one who enjoys pissing on a 6-year-old’s victory… but I’m pretty damn sure that Alan wasn’t actually playing the game. There are a couple of times when the camera cuts to Alan sitting in front of the TV with a PS pad in hand, yet it really doesn’t look like he’s actually playing. I already know that GamesMaster isn’t always 100% truthful when it comes to these challenges. I’m fairly confident that this was just done as a bit of lighthearted entertainment.


Moving on, it’s review time… only there are no reviews to speak of. Instead, a couple of GamesMaster reviewers pick out some of their favourite games to play over the festive season. Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II (PC), Blade Runner (PC), GoldenEye 007 (N64), Final Fantasy VII (PlayStation) and PaRappa the Rapper (PlayStation) all get recommended. Aussie soap opera actress Emma Harrison is the celeb tackling the next challenge. Rapid River (Arcade) is the game here and Emma has to paddle her way along an obstacle-filled level to reach the end. Falling off waterfalls and smashing into rocks, Emma actually does pretty well. Then she gets caught up in a whirlpool and fails the challenge. Still, I’m sure Dominik enjoyed watching an attractive blond female jiggle about on a dinghy.


Another feature ends this episode and the rather awesome Starship Troopers film is previewed. As this series was quickly thrown together as previously mentioned, DD didn’t get to travel the world interviewing any of the attractive cast like before, and just yaks on about the film over its trailer. And this ends the GamesMaster Christmas special that had nothing to do with Christmas.

Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Six

Motocross Go! (Arcade) is the game for the Buff My Helmet For Extra Speed challenge. Simple bike racing stuff here and tackling this race are two real-life motocross racers, Paul and Justin. But before that, of course, news. Metal Gear Solid (PlayStation) is previewed. The Pocket Camera (Game Boy Camera outside of Japan) is also shown and footie game LiberoGrande (Arcade) from Namco is hyped up. Back to the challenge where Paul and Justin are battling it out to be the first person to cross the finish line. There’s a lot of sliding about in the mud and OTT jumps as Justin takes the lead in the race. Paul soon gets himself in front and the two racers really do fight it out on the track. When Paul goes a bit too wide on a corner and has a nasty crash, Justin regains the lead. It’s actually a close race and three’s lot of jostling for position between the two. But it is Justin who takes the win and the golden joystick in the end.

Yoshi’s Story (N64) get a rather impressive 93%, while Shadow Master (PlayStation) is given a more than decent 89% in the reviews. If you have been paying attention to the format of the show, then you already know that it is celebrity challenge time. GamesMaster has chosen the very strange party game Poy Poy (PlayStation) for some four-player action. The quartet taking this one on are girl band Melanie Blatt, Shaznay Lewis, Nicole and Natalie Appleton collectively known as All Saints. The four lasses have to pick up items (in the game) and throw them at each other until only one is left standing. Shaznay is the first to go out, followed by Melanie, leaving the two Appleton sisters to battle it out. After taking a bomb to the face, Natalie goes out and Nicole is declared the winner.


This episode’s finale feature looks at the film sequel, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. Yes, Dominik takes great pleasure in perving over the females in the film as the feature is intercut with interviews pre-recorded by the cast and crew. Of course, the film would go on to be utter bum-cheeks and very much hated among film and game fans.

Golden joysticks won – 2

Episode Seven

Only four more episodes left now as the grand finale of GamesMaster draws ever closer. I’ll Move That Gear Stick Manually, If You Don’t Mind is the title of the first challenge and it is on Gran Turismo (PlayStation). The contestants have to race around a track in the game and the fastest time wins. John Paul, Ian and Aaron, who are the top three national gamesplayer championships players (apparently) are the trio taking this one on. First up (as is the norm), it’s the news. The interactive CD ROM of the god awful Spice World: The Movie (PC) is given a brief, but still too long, bit of attention. Mad Racers, a (then) new 3D motion simulator ride is also looked at. Finally, there’s a butchers at a hands-free controller from a US company called Bio-Controller, various sensors are placed on the body (head, arms, etc) and the game reacts to your movements. Like all of those early non-controller controllers, it was shit. John Paul is up first to put in a fast lap on the I’ll Move That Gear Stick Manually, If You Don’t Mind challenge. He does well, but does go wide on a couple of corners, scraping the scenery a few times and loses a few very valuable tenths of seconds, John Paul crosses the line with a beatable time of 1:26:254. Ian is next and he gets off to a bad start with too much wheelspin, his racing is much smoother though and he ends up with a very good but still beatable 1:23:956. Aaron is last and has a rough few first corners, going off more than once, the latter part of the track also proves to be problematic with more bad corner taking, Aaron eventually finishes with a time of 1:27:797. Meaning Ian wins the golden joystick. I have to  make a quick observation here. Gran Turismo was a driving sim, for the time, a very accurate one too. But all three of the contestants chose an outside view instead of the better in-car one. Maybe it’s just me but I always found Gran Turismo far better to play with the in-car view.


A couple of more reviews as the brilliant but overlooked Nightmare Creatures (PlayStation) gets 90%. Then the beat ’em up Bloody Roar (PlayStation) is given a very decent 84%. The bizarre Armadillo Racing (Arcade) is the game for the celebrity challenge, a game where you (as the title suggests) race armadillos, whoever crosses the line first wins. Sarah Vandenbergh and Carryl Varley, two TV presenters that no one remembers these days, are the couple racing their armadillos against each other in a bast of three type scenario. It’s a bit of a madcap race as all sorts of obstacles get in the way of the girls and they bump and fall off the track numerous times. Still, after a bit of jostling and being bent over an arcade cabinet, Sarah wins the first race. The second race kicks off and it is just as crazy, it’s also a very close race with Sarah winning only literal inches ahead of Carryl. Still, with two wins, Sarah Vandenbergh wins the golden joystick.


Finishing with a feature again and there’s a look at some new arcade games in Japan. The winter sports-themed racer Winter Heat from Sega. Namco’s Downhill Bikers, a mountain bike racer. And Ehrgeiz, a beat ’em up from Namco and Square all get a looked at.

Golden joysticks won – 2

Episode Eight

The Oi, Raptor Bring Back My Leg challenge kicks off this episode. GamesMaster selects the light gun game The Lost World: Jurassic Park (Arcade) and the contestants have to finish the entire game with only one credit. Oliver and Tammy are the eager dinosaur hunters hoping to win a golden joystick. The pair get stuck into the and shoot many raptors in the face as they make their way through the first stage… then the action is interrupted by a news special. The boat show in London has F1 driver Nigel Mansell endorsing VR Sports Powerboat Racing (PlayStation), cos you know F1 and powerboat racing are pretty much the same thing. There’s a sneak peek at James Cameron’s Titanic film ahead of its release. Bizarre shoot-shooty game H.E.D.Z.: Head Extreme Destruction Zone (PC) is also looked at. Back to the dinosaur shooting now and Oliver and Tammy are taking on a T-Rex in an and of stage boss fight type thing. Moving onto stage two and there are rampaging Brachiosaurus they have to deal with., while this episode’s celebrity challenge gets underway.


In an unprecedented turn of events, the celeb is an attractive female, what a shock! TV presenter/model/actress Catalina Guirado is playing Rosco McQueen Firefighter Extreme (PlayStation). Catalina has to clear fires from two rooms in the game without losing a life and exit, all in 2:30 minutes. Catalina gets stuck in and clears the first room with 1:18 still on the clock. The second room is cleared too, but with only 14 seconds left, cutting this one very close as Catalina exits the level with just 5 seconds left to win a golden joystick. Back to the Oi, Raptor Bring Back My Leg challenge and  a quick highlight reel of what we’ve missed shows Oliver and Tammy finish stage two, but both of them have lost two of their four hits as they start level three. Before we see how they do, it’s review time. Panzer Dragoon Saga (Saturn) is given 87%. Then controversial shooter Postal (PC) gets 85%.

As the episode nears its end, Oliver and Tammy are still shooting dinos in the face and on the final stage. Both of them have now lost another life each, meaning they can only take one more hit each, and they are on the final T-Rex boss fight too. The T-Rex grabs both of them a few times, yet they do manage to escape without losing their final life. After a close battle, the T-Rex goes down, Oliver and Tammy (just barely) win a golden joystick.

Golden joysticks won – 2

Episode Nine

Tekken 3 (Arcade) is the game for the challenge called Oi Bloke From Another Country, Are You Starting? A selection of challengers from around the world to battle it out to be crowned the king of Tekken. Oystein (Norway), Jeff (USA), Sho (Japan) and Ryan (UK) are the players wanting to claim Tekken glory. Six fights, every contestant fight everyone else once in a classic best of three rounds fight. 3 points awarded to the winner and 0 points for a loss, whoever has the most points at the end of all six fights is the winner. There is also a bout difference (kind of like goal difference in football) with whoever lost the fewer bouts being the winner if there is a tie-break situation. The first fight is Oystein playing as Heihachi vs Ryan as Paul. Oystein really kicks Ryan arse in the first round, only for Ryan to stage a late comeback and win the first bout. Round two is closer and Oystein only just about wins it. Two rounds each and time runs out in the third and final round, with Oystein the winner as he had more health. 3 points to Oystein. Jeff as Law vs Sho playing as Tiger next and Sho wins the first round fairly easily. Jeff doesn’t mess around and wins the next round, making it one apiece. On to the final round which Jeff wins to secure himself 3 points. The table looks like this:


Next, it is Jeff as Nina vs Ryan as Paul. Ryan takes the first round without breaking into a sweat. He wins the second round too and lands himself 3 very much need points. Sho playing as Eddy vs Oystein as Heihachi up next. Round one goes to Sho very easily, almost as if Oystein wasn’t even playing. Round two also goes to Sho and quite frankly, he completely embarrassed Oystein. With each of the players winning one fight each, it goes down to bout difference to decide who is top of the table… after the celebrity challenge. Guess what, it’s a couple of attractive lasses (again) as models Debbie Flett and Emma Noble have to play Final Furlong (Arcade). Strangely enough, this game involves the ladies straddling two horse-like peripherals where they have to jiggle about a lot. Whoever crosses the finish line first wins. Emma takes the lead early doors and doesn’t let up, as Debbie tries her best to catch up. As they round the bend to the final straight, it’s really neck and neck as both Debbie and Emma fight to win… while jiggling about a lot. Debbie wins by mere inches and lifts the golden joystick.


A touch of news, why not? Resident Evil 2 (PlayStation) is previewed ahead of its Japanese release. Then it is back to the Tekken 3 championship and given the bout difference and the fact each of the players won one fight each, the table looks like this:


So the final two fights to decide the winner get underway and it is Jeff as Nina vs Oystein as Heihachi first. Oystein wins the first round but Jeff takes the second, one round each. The final round goes to Jeff after a very close fight. The final fight sees Sho as Eddy vs Ryan as Paul. The first round is a close on but Ryan takes it in the end. But Sho takes the next round really quite easy too. This is seriously close stuff as we go into the final round of the final fight… which Sho wins by wiping the floor with Ryan. After all of that excitement (honestly, it was a damn good little championship), Sho is declared the Tekken 3 champion and takes home a golden joystick. And that was it, the last ever GamesMaster challenge, but not the last ever episode.

Golden joysticks won – 2

Episode Ten

There’s not really too much to say about this episode. It is just a compilation of the ‘best bits’ of GamesMaster from series one through to series seven as studio hands take down the set. Not really worth me going into detail here as I have written an entire retrospective looking at every single episode of the show. Though there are some funny outtakes shown. Still, this episode does works as a nice little look back over the years of what was, and still is, the greatest video game TV show ever made.


Golden joysticks won – 0
Total golden joysticks won – 16


So yeah, this series really was a bit ’empty’. As I mentioned in the intro and as Dominik Diamond himself explained, there never was going to be a series seven. It was just kind of thrown together at the last minute… and it really shows too. The shortest series since the first, only that one had ten full episodes. This had nine partly filled episodes and a compilation episode. There was no globetrotting for DD, no getting on the sets of movies and interviewing the stars, etc. Just a very quickly thrown together series.

Anyway, this is the end of my gargantuan GamesMaster retrospective. It’s been a hell of a journey and I could try to sum it all up in a few lines here. But, the truth is that Dominik Diamond already did a perfect job of just that when he signed off the final episode by saying:

“So that’s it. I would like to personally thank the many talented people that have worked on this show, they will all go onto bigger things but somehow, none of them will feel as self-indulgent as GamesMaster. I know some people might have thought it’s been flippant, to some people it might seem as if it’s been in bad taste. But it was made with the total conviction that to you the viewers, it meant something. So I guess really, now with the last leg of the last series, I should come up with the funniest gag in the history of GamesMaster but… I can’t.”

Honestly, when Dominik Diamond delivered that little speech at the very end of the final episode, it genuinely did feel like it was the end of an era. He wasn’t talking as Dominik Diamond the cheeky host of GamesMaster, he was talking as Dominik Diamond, a bloke saying goodbye. There was no joke, no double entendre, no pithy remarks. Just a fade to black and the credits silently rolled. Followed by a scene of the GamesMaster himself, Patrick Moore leaving the studio and getting in a taxi.


It was the end and it really was quite emotional too. This was our show, a show we gamers loved and cherished from the very first episode to the very last… and it was gone.

There has been talk of GamesMaster returning soon. Earlier this year, the news began to spread that Channel 4 were rebooting the series with Patrick Stewart as the GamesMaster. The format is to be modernised, but still feature gaming challenges, etc and it also sounds more celebrity focused too… probably a lot less letching over attractive females though. There has been no updates on this since February this year. Seeing as we are halfway through the year and that they wanted the show to return this year… I think the fact there hasn’t been any news for months does not bode well.

Entire golden joysticks won over all seven series – 207 (including 4 special joysticks)

Okay, so it’s not quite the end as I’ve got just one more GamesMaster article for you. I really want to look into the whole Dave Perry vs Super Mario 64 thing and draw my own conclusions, twenty-odd years after the event.

GamesMaster: A Retrospective – Series Six, Part Two

Well, after that ‘moment’ from the last episode with Dave Perry’s famed ‘I’ve been set up fairly badly’ claim. It’s time to crack on with the second half of series six. Many people have said that Dave left GamesMaster and never appeared again after the previous Christmas special, including in this Eurogamer article:

“The final shot of the episode is of Ewing and Diamond waving next to some mermaids while Perry stands off to one side, arms folded and legs crossed. He never appeared on GamesMaster again.”

But that’s not true as he’s still around… For a few episodes too.

Episode Ten

It’s the New Year, 1997 and Dominik Diamond takes great pleasure in introducing the first episode of the year. It’s a special too covering DD’s favourite subject. Nope, not football but females. Dominik himself is even making the effort and getting himself spruced up for a proper girlie gaming session as he has his makeup, nails and hair done, by his mermaid helpers, while wearing a dress.


Platform Queen is the title of the first challenge and GamesMaster has a three-part challenge lined up for a young lass calling herself the ‘Platform Queen’. She has to collect thirty bananas on Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble! (SNES), then she has to nab thirty DNA pick-ups on Spider: The Video Game (PlayStation), then it’s the final part and the self-proclaimed Platform Queen has to collect twenty apples on Crash Bandicoot (PlayStation). There are a couple of stipulations, there’s a 4 minute time limit to complete all three parts, if she dies even once then the whole challenge is a fail. It is certainly a tricky one and to tackle this one is Sarah. But first, it’s the news. Rather spiffing GTI Club (Arcade) is given a quick preview. The live-action/animated basketball flick, Space Jam is mentioned, along with a little butchers at the multi-format tie-in game. Creatures (PC), an artificial life game where you create and look after your very own creature is also given a little bit of attention. Then it’s back to Sarah and the start of her Platform Queen challenge. Kicking off with Donkey Kong Country 3, Sarah has herself twenty-two bananas fairly quickly, but she messes up on a jump and drops down, losing very valuable time. At the 1 minute and 18 seconds point, Sarah has the thirty bananas she needed. Now, it was suggested that Sarah needed to finish the first part in 1 minute or less, so she’s a wee bit behind already. 

Straight on to the next part and on Spider: The Video Game, Sarah needs to pick up thirty DNS strands. With 2 minutes and 30 seconds on the clock, Sarah finishes the second part of this multi-part challenge. The final part and Sarah needs to collect twenty apples on Crash Bandicoot and she only has 1 minute and 30 seconds to do it too. After grabbing five apples, Sarah mistimes a jump and falls to her death. The challenge is over, it’s a fail. Oh well, let’s have some reviews instead and all of the reviewers are female, in this female special. Beat ’em up Tobal No. 1 (PlayStation) is awarded a 78%. Williams Arcade’s Greatest Hits (SNES), a collection of some of the classic Williams arcade games is given an 80%. Finally, 3D shooter, Amok (Saturn) gets an 83%. 


It’s probably about time for a celebrity challenge and GamesMaster selects Manx TT Super Bike (Arcade) as the game. Very nineties broadcasting bird, Zoë Ball is the celeb who has to try and place fifth place or higher in a two lap race. Zoë soon finds herself in the middle of the pack and keeps jostling between sixth and fifth place. Plenty of double entendres are thrown about as Zoë Ball straddles the bike controller. After hitting a few too many barriers, Zoë slips down to seventh place, before getting one place back to finish in sixth, failing the challenge. Not a great performance for female gamers as no golden joysticks are won. So, we finish up with a feature. It’s (another) look at the N64 and a few of its games, including Mario Kart 64, Star Fox 64, Yoshi’s Story, Yuke-Yuke!! Trouble Makers, GoldenEye 007 and International Superstar Soccer 64 are all previewed. 

Golden joysticks won – 0

Episode Eleven

After the previous female special, DD worries that viewers think he’s going soft. So this time, it’s a more ‘manly’ episode. The first challenge being called Short Sharp Shock is on Street Fighter Zero 2 (Arcade). Four challengers have to duke it out by fighting one round each, playing as Ken. Whoever takes the longest to KO the AI controlled opponent will be eliminated. The remaining players fight again until only one is left. Simple enough. The four taking this one on are Ian, John, Metro and Gary. Now, Metro is not the guy’s real name, but he refuses to tell anyone what it is. Anyway, it’s news time first and Sonic Blast (Saturn) is previewed. Then there’s a request from the British Film Institute for donations of old games for a library of classic video games. I wonder how many (now really expensive) retro games they were given? Star Trek: Borg (PC), an interactive movie is looked at too. Back to the Short Sharp Shock challenge and Ian goes first and he wins in 15 seconds. John next and he puts in a slow performance with a 31 second win. Metro wins his round in 23 seconds. Finally, Gary does it in 16 seconds, not the fastest, but he’s not the slowest either. After that very poor time of 31 seconds for his KO, John is out. On to the next round of fights and Ian goes first, he gets a 17 seconds KO. Next up is Metro, he wins his fight in 18 seconds. Then it is Gary last and he’s just too damn slow, DD cuts him off before he can even KO his opponent because he’s taking too long. With Gary out of the challenge, that leaves just Ian and Metro in the final. Ian, as the fastest of the two, goes first. It’s not a great performance and Ian gets a 43 second KO, far slower than any of his other fights. Metro can beat that time with ease… I think. He does too, with a time of 24 seconds to win the golden joystick.


Destruction Derby 2 (PlayStation) is the title that GamesMaster has picked out for this celebrity challenge. Given 2 minutes to survive a mass smash ’em up against AI controlled cars. tackling this one is popular soap opera, Eastenders actor Deepak Verma. Deepak really goes for it and instead of trying to avoid being hit, he speeds into the mass crowd of other cars. He soon gets wise and begins to avoid the other cars and at the halfway point, his car is in good condition as the AI are too busy smashing each other up to notice that Deepak is staying well away from the carnage. Soon, there are only eight cars left of the starting twenty and with just 30 seconds left, there are not only four AI opponents left and Deepak’s car is still relatively unscathed. Deepak Verma wins the golden joystick really easily, to be honest. 

Time to finish up with a few reviews now and destructive platformer, Trash It (PlayStation) gets an okay-ish 75%. Gory horror-adventure game Phantasmagoria: A Puzzle of Flesh (PC) is awarded an 85%. Then the alpine racer, Cool Boarders (PlayStation) is given an 82%. And that wraps up this less feminine episode.

Golden joysticks won – 2 

Episode Twelve

The news kicks off this episode and Resident Evil 2 (PlayStation) is previewed. What’s interesting is that this is the very early build of the game known as Resident Evil 1.5 with Elza Walker as a playable character. But when the development of the game just wasn’t working, it was completely scrapped and the now, more well known version was started. Animal (PC) a game based on the Peperami Animal mascot is looked at. Then the Net Yaroze, a PlayStation you can program games on is also explored. Tiny Car Kid is the name of the first challenge and GamesMaster has chosen the impressive full-sized version of Ridge Racer (Arcade). I’ve always been impressed by this beast of a machine and the task is simple, just finish the two lap race in the top three. But there is a slight twist in that the challenger, Ryan, is only a 9-year-old kid and can’t quite reach the full-sized pedal controls, so he gets some assistance from one of the lovely mermaids. Getting started, Ryan begins slicing his way through the pack and finds himself in ninth place. There’s a bit of trading paint and by the end of the first lap, Ryan is in fifth place. A few bumps and Ryan soon finds himself dropping back and in seventh place. There’s a lot of tussling and Ryan just can’t make any decent progress, stuck in seventh place for a while, he does squeeze his way up to fifth, but it’s very nearly the last corner and he has to place in the top three. On the very last right hand bend, he slips into third place and crosses the line to win a golden joystick. Honestly, for a 9-year-old kid who can’t actually reach the controls in the full-sized Mazda MX5, he did bloody well.


Let’s have some reviews. First up, futuristic sports title, Riot (PlayStation) gets a 79%. Destruction Derby 2 (PlayStation) is  given a smashing 85%. Finally, Peter Gabriel: Eve (PC) a rather bizarre CD-ROM adventure game from the famed musician is awarded a very mediocre 51%. Let’s have another celebrity challenge and Bear Van Beers (a TV presenter that no one remembers now… Or then) is the attractive lass for DD to drool over here. The game that GamesMaster has selected is Sonic 3D: Flickies’ Island (Mega Drive) and Bear has to save five Flickies and finish the level in 2 minutes. Joining Dominik in the commentary box is Dave Perry… See, I told you had hadn’t left the show yet. Bear gets off to a terrible start and really struggles to kill the enemies, which releases the titular Flickies that need to be saved. After wasting so much time, Bear finally gets to grips with the game and does get three Flickies… But runs out of time and fails very, very badly. This really is one of the worst GamesMaster performances ever, almost painful to watch.

DD wraps things up with a feature. The University of Geneva developed new software that could recreate movie stars who are no longer with us. They aim to create a fully CGI version of Marilyn Monroe. While very early tech, it’s a very interesting look at something this is now very much possible, but being explored back in 1997. ‘Realistic’ hair and clothing, along with facial expressions were rough, but a huge step in the right direction. The final results look ‘messy’, but still, it just goes to show how even back then that fully rendered CGI humans were being explored. Even if CGI Marilyn Monroe was a little bit scary…


Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Thirteen

Dominik gets straight into the news and there’s coverage of a Japanese Virtua Fighter 3 (Arcade) contest where ‘Tetsujin’ (Ironmen), as they are called. This rather tough challenge has the Tetsujin battling against one hundred Virtua Fighter experts, in which they have to win at least ninety of the fights to win. Oh, and there are no breaks, no food, no drinks. Just one Tetsujin versus one-hundred other VF players. The winner of the then, most recent contest, Kyasao, was flown out from Japan to take part in a GamesMaster challenge. Simply called, Tetsujin, this challenge sees Kyasao go up against one hundred English Virtua Fighter 3 (Arcade) players. Now, as the show is only twenty-odd minutes long (minus ad breaks), obviously they couldn’t show a one hundred person VF fight. So, the challenge actually began at dawn of the day of the recording when Kyasao arrived. Dave Perry (still hasn’t left yet) has been overseeing the challenge since it began and highlights of this immense Tetsujin challenge are shown through the episode while Kyasao continues playing against the last remaining opponents as the show continues. The highlights show Kyasao completely destroy any and everyone that goes up against him… It’s not even close. As the show catches up with the action, Kyasao has beaten eighty-four challengers and still going strong. 

As the Tetsujin challenge continues, time for some reviews. Fox Hunt (PlayStation) an interactive movie thing… Gets interrupted to cut back to the Tetsujin challenge on the eighty-ninth fight as Kyasao seems to be struggling in a bout against a challenger called Omar. Perhaps it could put it down to tiredness, but Kyasao loses a round, the first round he has lost in almost ninety fights. The second round of the fight is close too, but Kyasao wins, just about. With one round apiece, if Omar wins, he has beaten the unbeatable Tetsujin. Of course, he doesn’t and Kyasao whoops his buttocks. Just a quick observation. The rules of the challenge are that Kyasao has to beat, at least, ninety of the one hundred fighters and this particular fight against Omar is said to be his eighty-ninth fight with no losses… But what does the winning streak say in the top left hand corner…


Twenty-nine wins, shouldn’t that say eighty-eight wins if he was currently fighting his eighty-ninth consecutive challenger? Anyway, after the ad break, Kyasao had beaten everyone up to fight number ninety-three. The challenge was to only beat ninety of the one-hundred, so he’s already won. But can he beat all one-hundred? We see Kyasao beat his ninety-third challenger… But the thing in the corner says he only has twelve wins? Time for a celeb challenge, soap actress and ‘singer’ Tracy Shaw takes on Alpine Surfer (Arcade). All Tracy has to do is finish the snowboarding course without running out of time. At around halfway down the course, Tracy has missed a few gates, but she still has enough time to finish the challenge. Tracy makes it to the bottom of the course, a few bumps aside, with 10 seconds to spare and wins a golden joystick.

Back to the Tetsujin challenge and Kyasao has beaten his ninety-ninth opponent. A few highlights are shown and Kyasao has lost a few rounds (his winning streak makes even less sense, just four wins now?) in the fights as the celeb challenge was going on. Still, with ninety-nine wins, Kyasao has just one more fight to win. Oh, and his winning streak now says thirty-six wins. If you’ve been keeping up, the last time we saw the action, before the celeb challenge, Kyasao beat his ninety-third challenger and his winning streak said twelve wins (not ninety-three). Now, just seven fighters later, his streak says thirty-six wins? My maths is not the best, but twelve plus seven does not equal thirty-six. Seriously how does this winning streak make any sense? The rules were that he had to beat ninety out of one hundred challengers in one go, no breaks, no losses. He beat ninety, so went for a clean one hundred consecutive wins. So his winning streak should say ninety-nine wins during his hundredth consecutive fight after winning the previous ninety-nine… But it says thirty-six.


Through this whole challenge, the winning streak has not been consistent at all. Shenanigans are most definitely afoot. Anyway, Kyasao wins his hundredth fight… Though I think we can assume, not entirely as ‘honestly’ as the show makes out and I’m willing to bet he lost several fights along the way, but the show was edited to make it look like he won all one hundred in a row. Regardless, Kyasao is awarded a special golden joystick for his Tetsujin challenge ‘victory’.

Golden joysticks won – 1
Special golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Fourteen

Dominik opens by saying he will marry one of his mermaid helpers by the end of the episode… Before remembering he did that gag last series when he ‘married’ Whigfield. But, the idea of marriage leads into the first challenge called, ‘Till Death Do Us Part. Die Hard Arcade (Arcade) is the game and GamesMaster sets the rules as being, the challengers have to finish the entire game, with only two continues, one each. Married couple, Tony and Madeline are the ones tackling this challenge and yes, Dave Perry is still around too as he joins the commentary with Dominik. The couple cracks on and they finish the first few areas with no issues. As the action heats up, it’s time for the news. Tekken 3 (Arcade) is given an exclusive look while still in development. Then it’s back to the Death Do Us Part challenge and the husband and wife team are doing well… Though Tony seems to be avoiding most of the actions and leaving Madeline to do most of the work. Just for some proof Dave Perry was still on the show at this point, smiling too.


A bit of a celebrity challenge next and GamesMaster picks out VR Home Run Derby (Arcade), a VR game where you have to hit home runs in a baseball derby… I guess the title already tells you that. Each of the contestants will play six pitches each, two from a rookie pitcher, two from a minor league pitcher and two from a major leaguer. Whoever hits the ball the furthest total distance wins. The celebs are cricket players, Adam Hollioake and Phil Tufnell. Adam goes first and takes his two rookie pitches, totalling 957 feet. Phil next and he hits 531 feet, he did really mess up the second pitch after this first was a rocket of a home run. Adam to take his next two and slightly harder pitches next. His first is a bit of a wet tap, but his second goes out of the stadium and hits an airplane, Adam’s total is now 1,622 feet. Phil has some catching up to do and he whacks a huge home run on his first pitch… But completely messes up his second to get a total of 1,070 feet. Phil Tufnell is way behind Adam Hollioake now as they take on the hardest pitchers for the last round. Adam first and he messes up both, only hitting 12 and 15 feet pitches, taking his grand total to 1,649 feet. Phil can win here if he hits two decent pitches. Phil misses the first and now has it all to do, his second is a home run… But is it enough to win? Nope, Adam Hollioake wins the challenge by a mere 46 feet and takes home a golden joystick.

Time to catch up with what’s been going on with the Death Do Us Part challenge as Dave Perry goes over the highlights. Madeline has lost a life and used one of the two continues…. Well, she is doing most of the work. Then back to where the couple are now, and they’re on level four of five and both have now used their one and only continue. So if either of them dies now, it’s all over. The action heats up as Tony and Madeline get closer to finishing the game… So time for some reviews. Skynet (PC), a FPS set in the Terminator universe is given an 83%. More FPS action as Star Wars: Dark Forces (PlayStation) gets an 85%. Then finally, more shooty action when Contra: Legacy of War (PlayStation) is awarded a 72%.


The reviews end just as Tony and Madeline face off against the final boss… Both with very little heath and no more continues. They do it, they take out the bad guys and save the president’s daughter… Only the game has a bit of a twist ending. Tony and Madeline have to fight each other, with the winner being picked as the personal bodyguard to the president’s daughter… In the game, not real-lie It’s a bit of a close fight, but Tony claims victory in the end by beating his own wife up and to win a golden joystick. 

And just for the record, this was the last GamesMaster episode that Dave Perry was in Eurogamer.

Golden joysticks won – 2

Episode Fifteen

Straight into the first challenge, which DD calls, Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em. GamesMaster chooses the one on one beat ’em up Sonic Championship (Arcade) as the game and two teams of three brothers will battle each other, each brother will be playing one round (win or lose) before passing over to the next in their team, whichever team wins three rounds first will be the winner. The teams are the McCormack and the Gordon and the brothers. But first, news. Scud Race (Arcade) is given a look at before its release. The vastly overlooked Tim Burton flick, Mars Attacks is recommended by Dominik. Then, the Sega Net Link, an add-on for their Saturn console that allowed the machine to access the internet is also looked at. Then it’s back to the Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em challenge and Louis McCormack and Daniel Gordon go first. It’s a pretty close fight, but Louis is the winner. Swapping over to Craig McCormack and Darryl Gordon next, this round goes to Craig. The McCormack brothers have two rounds in the bag and it is the first to three rounds too, so they could win with the next fight. The third round sees Dean McCormack and Kyle Gordon, which Kyle wins to keep his brothers in the fight. Then it’s back to Louis and Daniel for round four, and Daniel decimates his opponent. With both sets of brothers winning two rounds apiece and this being a first to win three rounds-type of a scenario, whoever wins the next round is the victor. For this fifth and final round, Craig and Darryl battle it out. Craig wins to take him and his brothers to golden joystick victory. The McCormack brothers get just the one golden joystick between all three. Seriously, the production budget couldn’t stretch to three spray-painted £3.99 joysticks then?

Anyway, reviews up next and Jet Moto (PlayStation) is given an 84%. Then, Twisted Metal 2 (PlayStation) gets an always funny 69%. Hypnotist, Paul McKenna is the celeb taking on the next challenge and GamesMaster has picked out the awesome Blast Corps (N64) as the game… Though GM calls it Blast Dozer. All Paul has to do is clear the buildings so the missile can reach its destination, simple enough. Paul gets off to a bit of a slow start, but is soon in the midst of the action, knocking down structures. There’s a ‘collision imminent’ warning as the missile gets closer and closer to hitting a building and exploding. Paul does manage to clear the path though… But he misses an all too important pylon. Quickly reversing to take it out, Paul McKenna goes a little too fast and slams into the missile himself, failing the challenge. Still, he kind of deserved to lose, what with him holding the N64 pad like this…


As Dominik Diamond berates Paul McKenna for his very poor performance, Paul ‘hypnotises’ Dominik into praising him for his gameplaying and even into giving him the golden joystick… And £20 too. Paul McKenna ‘wins’ a golden joystick by losing. Just enough time to wrap up this episode with a feature. DD is at Universal Studios in Los Angeles to try out the new, $110 million Jurassic Park ride. Dominik gets to talk to the producer of the ride and a few behind the scenes secrets are revealed. Then, he gets to experience the ride for himself, as the ride splashes after its big, final drop, Dominick gets a bit of moisture on him. 


Golden joysticks won – 2 

Episode Sixteen

Hot 4-way Action is the title of the first challenge and using the previously mentioned Wireplay online gaming system is put to the test. GamesMaster picks the flight sim EF2000 (PC) for this one and a player in the GamesMaster studio has to go up against three other players from around the country in a little bit of dogfighting action. In the studio is Robert, and the other three are Jason, Ian and Martin. Whoever is the last man standing (or flying) after this dogfight wins. As always, news first and Turok: Dinosaur Hunter (N64) is previewed. The disaster flick, Dante’s Peak is also given a look ahead of its release. Then, racing game POD (PC) also given a quick peek at. Back to the Hot 4-way Action challenge and this online dogfight gets underway. After take-off, Robert goes on the attack instantly by hunting down Jason and taking him out with ease. Ian is next in Robert’s sights and he dies faster than Goose in Top Gun (too soon?). With only Martin left to stop Robert, can he stop the little Maverick from winning? No, no he can’t. Robert blows him out of the sky to win the golden joystick.


Review round-up once more and Soul Edge (Playstation) is given an 88%. Then Melt (PC), a game inspired by Eddie the Head, the mascot of Iron Maiden is given a 55%. Now, as far as I can tell, this game was never actually released, it was just too terrible. But it was apparently reworked and released as Ed Hunter (PC) in 1999 instead… it was also utter shit. Anyway, British hip-hop group, The Brotherhood tackle Wave Race 64 (N64). The two members of the band, Spyce and  battle it out to score the most points over two rounds. Spyce goes first and he misses a few of the rings and jumps for a big score, ending with 1,790. Next up is Shylok, and he finishes with a far better 2,698, leading after the first round. Spyce takes on round two and needs some serious point to catch up… he messes up and runs out of time but gets a final score of 4,696. This should be an easy win for Shylok, no need to take any big risks, just get a half-decent score, but he really goes for it, pulling off stunt after stunt. DD can’t be bothered to work out the final scores, but he knows that Shylok has won by a huge margin of around 3,500 points.

Feature time and Dominik is in California visiting Digital Domain. A special effects studio famed for providing the effect work on some of the biggest films ever. But that’s not why DD is there, he wants to look at a new video game they are famed for, Barbie Fashion Designer (PC). Dominik takes great pleasure looking at how the game was made and its many different modes to ‘enjoy’. After which, DD then gets to play with some Barbie toys.


Golden joysticks won – 2

Episode Seventeen

GamesMaster sets up the first challenge and it’s a three-parter on Pilotwings (N64). A team of three will each have a go at one of the many events in the game. Given just 3 minutes and 30 seconds total, the team have to finish their given events, collectively before the time runs out to win. Things With Wings is the title of this one and the trio attempting it are Millsy, Jezz and Chapps (nicknames), who are real-life pilots. But of course, it’s a bit of news first. Manx TT Super Bike (Saturn) is previewed before its release. There’s some exclusive footage of Unreal (PC) while it is still in development. Finally, Street Fighter EX (Arcade), the game that took the much-loved franchise into the realm of 3D graphics is also previewed. Back to the Things With Wings challenge and going first is Millsy and he’s tasked with ten rings in a gyrocopter and he clears the first five rings with 2 minutes and 27 seconds still on the clock. Managing to get the tenth ring in 1 minute and thirty-eight seconds, but he did nab a couple of time bonuses equalling 10 seconds. So that’s just 1 minute and twenty-eight seconds of their collective 3 minutes and 30 seconds used up. Next is Jezz and he has to score a bullseye on the human cannonball event, he needs to hit that bullseye in around 40 seconds or less, to give his teammate enough time to finish his event. Jezz hits the bullseye first time in just 14 seconds, leaving plenty of time to finish the third and final part. With 1 minute and 48 seconds on the clock, Chapps has to shoot down ten balloons in the gyrocopter. With five balloons down, Chapps has 1 minute to get the last five and he does it with just 15 seconds left. Millsy, Jezz and Chapps the real pilots get to share a golden joystick. Again, only one cheap and painted golden joystick between three people?


Time for a celeb challenge and GamesMaster picks Sega Touring Car Championship (Arcade). This four lap race sees Martin Rossiter and Steve Mason from rock band Gene go against each other. There’s quite a lot of rubbing against the barriers as both Martin and Steve seem to struggle to keep the cars on the track, at the back of the pack. Not that it matters who comes first against the AI as this is just a race between the two rockers. As they end the second lap, Martin is winning. When the fourth and final lap begins, Steve has taken the lead. Then, with just one comer left to go, Martin regains the lead and goes on to win. 

Feature time and Dominik is (once more) in Tokyo, Japan at Sega’s arcade division HQ. DD gets a look around the famed AM divisions and gets with chat to some of their arcade game development teams. It’s a bit of a wasted opportunity to get a look at some of Sega’s biggest arcade games, as Dominik just walks past all the machines without actually playing them. 

Golden joysticks won – 2 

Episode Eighteen

It’s the final episode and Dominik Diamond gets a (fake) letter of complaint about offensive content. So he introduces an offense-o-meter to keep track of how naughty the show is. Said offense-o-meter pops up through the whole show and measures just how offensive DD is being.


In the meantime, for the final GamesMaster event, Time Crisis (Arcade) is chosen. The challenger is Tony and he claims to be one of the best arcade players in the country, a man who goes around various arcades just to get his name on the high-score table. Tony confesses that there is always one person on the high-scores he can never beat, someone who uses the initials XXX. So of course, Dominik has tracked down this mysterious XXX and invited him on the show to take on Tony. XXX is revealed as to being some guy called Philip. Anyway, this final event, titled Triple XXX Action (makes no sense shouldn’t it be ‘triple X’ and not ‘triple XXX’, as that is nine Xs) sees both Tony and Philip take it in turns to finish two stages on the hardest level on Time Crisis in the fastest time. A slice of news first though and the N64 is looked at (for the third time) ahead of its UK launch. All the same games are looked at (again) too. But, Doom 64 is seen for the first time at least. 

Back to the Triple XXX Action challenge and Tony goes first and he finishes the first stage in 00:54:35. Very impressive indeed. Stage two next and Tony gets a total time of 01:43:70. Philip has a lot of work to do, but he finishes the first stage in 00:53:02, just very slightly ahead of Tony. This is a very close challenge for sure. On to the second stage and Philip gets a total time of 01:41:13, just over 2 seconds faster. Philip (XXX) wins the golden joystick.


A couple of reviews now and Mario Kart 64 (N64) given an 80%. Then Turok: Dinosaur Hunter (N64) is awarded a 90%. So Turok was 10% better than Mario Kart? I’m saying nothing. A quick offense-o-meter recap and the show is in the ‘rude’ area of offence. It’s the final celebrity challenge and perhaps, the biggest celeb ever on GamesMaster. The legendary weatherman Michael Fish. GamesMaster is chosen Prop Cycle (Arcade), a  game where the player has to peddle a real bike to fly in the air and pop balloons to get 2,000 points. Michael gets himself comfortable on the game and begins. getting off to a very wobbly start, he only has 50 points and misses plenty of balloons. At the halfway point, Michael only has 650 and with him needing 2,000 total, it’s not looking good. Despite popping a few time bonus balloons and even racking up a few more points, Michael Fish fails with a total score of 1,350.


To finish, there’s another feature and yes, Dominik gets to go on holiday again. DD is in Florida to take a look at the making of Riana Rouge (PC) a CD-based adventure game starring and produced by glamour porn model and ‘actress’ Gillian Bonner. Basically, it’s an excuse to see some digital softcore porn, no idea why Dominik wanted to be flown out to Florida to check it out. Anyway, DD gets to flirt with Gillian about her career as well as get to look through her minimal clothing collection used in the game. If your curious, Riana Rouge, when released, got amazing high scores from reviewers, like 19% high. A final look at the offense-o-meter reveals that GamesMaster as a show is ‘unacceptable’. As a result, GamesMaster is pulled off the air for good as DD makes a ‘heartfelt’ apology. This ends GamesMaster series six.


Golden joysticks won – 1


Well, this was most definitely a step up from the previous, rather dull series five. Some of the challenges were actually really interesting and often quite exciting too. No trying to build a PC or find ‘interesting’ websites on the internet challenges. No getting comedians to make shit short films, etc. Just actual gaming challenges, and some really great ones too. Some very obviously edited ones to make the winner look better than they actually were (see the Tetsujin challenge from episode thirteen). But overall, this was a far better series than the previous one. It’s just a shame there was no budget for more golden joysticks after continually sending DD on holiday through the series.

Yeah, Dominic Diamond is still very much being a prick here, as he was previously and the show has very clearly now become The Dominik and Friends Show. Of course, series six had the most well known GamesMaster moment ever with the Dave Perry strop. For people of a certain age, this was such an epic moment of TV. Our parents may have seen the moon landing in 1969, but we got to see Dave ‘The Games Animal’ Perry spit his dummy out over a losing a game. At the time, we all thought it was hilarious. But now? The whole affair has a bit of a bitter backstory to it, something I aim at exploring when I’ve covered series seven. Speaking of which, this was originally supposed to be the end of the show, no seventh series was even thought of at the time. This was meant to be the end of GamesMaster… But that’s not what happened. See you in the next one…

Total golden joysticks won – 13
Special golden joysticks won – 1

GamesMaster: A Retrospective – Series Six, Part One

Well, this is it, the penultimate series of GamesMaster. Another eighteen episodes to cover, so I’m doing this in two parts again. What delights does GamesMaster have for us now, are there any format changes and is this one better than the rather bland series five?

Series Six

Originally airing between October 1996 and February 1997, series six was filmed back in St Paul’s Church, the same place used for series one and four. As for the setting this time? Well, I need to fill in a bit of the ongoing story. Carrying on from where the previous series set in Heaven ended. Dominik Diamond is kicked out of God’s loving bosom and he plummets back down to Earth. Dominik screams his way down and splashes down in the sea. Definitely dead (again), DD is saved by two mermaids and given the kiss of life. Now back in action, Dominik finds himself in the fabled city of Atlantis, with GamesMaster being Poseidon, God of the sea. Now assisted by two lovely looking mermaids, Dominik Diamond get back to work with his double entendre jokes and putting numerous celebs and non-celebs through various gaming challenges. Oh, and there’s the most (in)famous GamesMaster moment ever too.


Episode One

Getting this series off to a cracking start is the news of the launch of the Nintendo 64 in Japan and America. A few of the console’s title are looked at too. Killer Instinct Gold, Blast Corps, Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, Star Fox 64, Kirby Air Ride (later cancelled and reborn on the GameCube), Mario Kart 64 and the mighty Super Mario 64 are all given some airtime. Speaking of which, it’s time for the first challenge. GamesMaster selects the previously mentioned Super Mario 64 (N64) as the game for the inaugural contest to win a golden joystick. Giving the contestant a very tight 3 minutes to finish the last level of the game, including defeating Bowser. Nathan is the fella for the job and he’s pretty confident of wining having bought an import N64. Nathan does some tricky platform jumping to take a shortcut that works out well right at the start. At 1 minute and thirty seconds, Nathan is doing well and almost at the end of the level, finishing the first part and making it to Bowser in 1 minute and fifty-three seconds. A bit of a break before the fight against Bowser though.

It’s the first reviews of this new series and Wave Race 64 (N64) gets a splashing 85%. Then Pilotwings 64 (N64) is given a rounded 80%. Dominik introduces the celebrity challenge and yes, it’s an attractive lass. GamesMaster chooses the game Aqua Jet (Arcade) a jet ski based racer that used a full-size jet ski as its controller. The challenger just has to finish the race before time runs out and the attractive celeb lass to take this on is former glamour model turned actress/singer Samantha Fox. Of course, Double D (no pun… Slight pun) gets down to his trademark double entendres and mercilessly flirts with Sam. Just a quick side-note, Sam Fox came out as gay after appearing on this show. I’m casting no aspersions towards Dominik Diamond’s chat-up technique or luck with the ladies at all. Anyway, Sam takes position on the jet ski of the game and starts the race. It’s around halfway through the race and Sam is doing well, a few light rubs against the barriers but nothing too worrying. Coming up to the end of the race and Sam messes up on a couple of jumps, losing a few seconds. With just one more corner to go, there are only 5 seconds left on the clock which runs down to 0… But the momentum of the jet ski pushes Sam over the finish line and she wins a golden joystick.


There’s a feature and Dominik is in Japan at the Phoenix Seagaia Resort. The world’s biggest man-made beach where Dominik tires out a motion simulator that takes riders on a white-water rafting experience and a space-themed ride created by George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic team. After which, DD gets to go behind the scenes and sees just how the whole thing works… As well as flirt with some Japanese women. Then it’s back to Nathan and his fight with Bowser on Super Mario 64 and after the first part, he only has 1 minute and 7 seconds to take Bowser out. Nathan slaps Bowser into two of the bombs around the edge of the level, needing just one more hit to win and only 30 seconds on the clock. Nathan gets the final hit in with just 4 seconds left to win a golden joystick.

Golden joysticks won – 2

Episode Two

Calling back to a challenge from the last series, Dominik introduces King Of Combos ’96. Just like the last series, GamesMaster picks Killer Instinct Gold (N64) to try and get the biggest combo between three expert players. The three challengers are Roy, Mark and Philip. But it’s news time first and impressive looking Rev Limit (N64) is given an exclusive preview, shame it was never released really. The opening of the mega arcade, SegaWorld in London is covered. Then the melding of Hollywood and gaming with 9: The Last Resort (PC). A massive budgeted adventure game featuring genuine Hollywood talent. It was even produced by Robert ‘You talkin’ to me?’ De Niro. Anyway, it’s back to the King Of Combos ’96 challenge and Roy goes first. Playing as Sabrewulf, Roy get a beatable forty-five hit combo. Next up is Mark who plays as Combo pulls off a less great forty-one hit combo. Last, it is Philip and he also selects Combo as his character, landing an impressive forty-nine hit combo to win the golden joystick.


A couple of reviews next as Soviet Strike (PlayStation) gets a cracking 85%. Then Fighting Vipers (Saturn) is given a huge 88%. Quite simply the coolest cat-character actor in a sci-fi sitcom ever is the celebrity taking on the next challenge as Danny John-Jules has to play wipEout 2097 (PlayStation). GamesMaster gives Danny just 2 laps to win the race. Making use of the start line boost, Danny speeds off from the back of the grid and starts catching the pack and soon finds himself in ninth (out of twelve) place, before making it to sixth place. At the end of the first lap, Danny mistakenly goes into the pits, losing time and track position, going down to seventh place. With just one lap left, Danny has a lot of ground to make up. Grabbing a few power-ups, Danny finds himself in second place on the final straight, with first place inches ahead of him. Struggling to pass, Danny ends the race in second failing the challenge in this very exciting race. Just as a quick aside, Danny chose to use the PlayStation steering wheel instead of the standard pad, which is much harder to use. I think he most probably would’ve won if he had used the pad.

Time for a feature and Dominik introduces a special on retro gaming at a retro expo. Showing off some retro machines including the Atari 2600, ZX Spectrum and the Commodore 64. While classic games like Jetpac, Knight Lore and Manic Miner (ZX Spectrum) are shown. Then DD interviews the legendary Peter Molyneux in the toilets (seriously). All of which ends this episode.


Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Three

This one is an athletics themed special and getting things underway is the episode length challenge, We’re Athletic We Like Lycra. GamesMaster picks out Athlete Kings (Saturn) as the game and two British athletes, John Regis and Tony Jarrett, to tackle four different events. Whoever scores the most points at the end of the four events wins. The first event is the hundred meters dash. The starter pistol signals the start of the button mashing antics and John gets a time of 9.95 seconds, with Tony slightly lagging behind with a 10.10 second time. In terms of points, Tony has 1,071 with John slightly ahead with 1,108 points. Before the next event, it’s news time. Virtua Fighter 3 (Arcade) is given a sneak peek. There’s a bit on a CD-ROM covering the making of the flick Independence Day. A new motion control system called Mandala, that can put the players in the game as they use their bodies and not a controller to play games is looked at. Including a game where you can play volleyball against a brightly coloured ostrich. Remember the now discontinued Xbox Kinect? Well, Mandala was just like that, it failed too.


It’s back to the We’re Athletic We Like Lycra challenge and the second event is the long jump. John Regis jumps first, taking the best of three attempts as the best jump. John’s first attempt is a 6.43 meter effort. Tony responds with a 5.97 meter jump. John’s second is an impressive 7.31 meters, with Tony landing a pitiful 4.88 meters. Last jump now and John goes over the line and the jump is a foul. Tony needs a good jump to earn some points, he lands a 7.34 meters, just pipping John to the longest jump. With that, the points stand as John with 1,996 and Tony with 1,964. The next event is the hundred and ten meter hurdles. After they both smash through the first hurdle, John gets to grips with the event and sprints ahead to finish in 13.32 seconds. While Tony has a dog of a race, running through more hurdles than he jumps over, to finish with a terrible time of 16.29 seconds. John Regis is well ahead on 3,062 points, with Tony Jarrett now lagging way behind with 2,664 points. With only one more event left, unless John messes up massively, it’s very doubtful that Tony can win now.

But before the grand finale, there’s a feature. Interactive movie game-thing, Privateer 2: The Darkening (PC) is explored. Stars of the game, John Hurt and Clive Owen get to spill the beans on some of the behind the scenes secrets. Then it’s back to the final of the We’re Athletic We Like Lycra challenge and the event is the javelin throw, with the best of three throws being the one picked. John throws first and chucks a very impressive 70.32 meters. Tony next and he throws as not as impressive 30.94 meters. John throws his second javelin and goes just slightly over the line to a foul. Tony needs a whopper of a throw to gain some much needed points, he gets an okay 63.27 meters. It’s the final throw and highly unlikely that Tony Jarrett will win. John chucks his last pointy stick and gets a 71.96 meters. Tony really needs a gargantuan throw to win now, he gets a very poor 41.93 meters. With the final points being… I don’t know as Dominick doesn’t show them as John Regis is the clear winner of the golden joystick.

Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Four

It’s the news that kicks off this episode and Sonic Championship (Arcade), a one on one beat ’em up based on the famed Sonic characters is previewed. Then there’s a look at the T2 3-D:Battle Across Time attraction at Universal Studios. Finally, Pac-Man VR (Arcade) was a… Well, a VR version of Pac-Man in the arcade, which gets a bit of a looking into. I Have Violence I Am Happy is the title of the first challenge and Quake (PC) is the game that GamesMaster picks out. The challenger, David (he was in a feature last series covering the Doom championships), has to take on a specially designed level by a Quake fan called Michael. If David finishes the level, he wins the golden joystick, but if he fails, then Michael is declared the winner. David makes short work of the first section and onto the second area, which he also passes with ease. Passing through to the next section, David is almost crushed by a falling roof trap… Almost. Next up is an underwater area, which David swims through without breaking a sweat. Michael was pretty confident at the start of this that David would fail his specially created map, but so far, it’s been a breeze. It’s onto the final area where Davis gets pummeled by the various bad guy and his health soon drops to just 35, only a few more hits and David has failed. But he does it, he battles his way through the rest of the level and wins a golden joystick.


The reviews this time get started with a classic as Tomb Raider (PlayStation) gets an 85%. While karting game Street Racer (Saturn) is given 78%. Paul Leyshon (who?) an actor from the soap Hollyoaks is the celebrity taking on the next challenge. GamesMaster picks out Die Hard Trilogy (PlayStation) and in particular the Die Hard with a Vengeance driving game segment for this one. Paul has to race around the in-game New York and stop various bombs from exploding. Paul gets off to a cracking start and defuses the first bomb in seconds… Well, it was right in front of him. When it comes to cornering, things do not go so well. Paul spends too much time slamming into buildings and other cars, wasting time. He does manage to make it to the second bomb… While continuing to smash into any and everything. Paul’s penchant for crashing continues as he makes his way to the final bomb, and he makes it too, with seconds to spare. Paul Leyshon wins a golden joystick.

There’s a feature to end this episode with and Dominik is in Tokyo, Japan, DD enrols in the Human Creative School (owned by Human Entertainment) where students are trained in game development. DD learns about creating polygon models and animations. After which, he takes part in a gameplay theory lesson that looks at what makes games playable. Dominik also gets to learn a bit about music and sound composing in gaming. Then Dominik comes up with a new game idea where people take it in turns to put Os and Xs on a 3×3 grid, with the first to get three in a row the winner. I think the idea could, perhaps work out.


Golden joysticks won – 2

Episode Five

You Only Live Twice is the title of the first challenge and is probably one of the most well remembered of the show. GamesMaster has Virtua Cop 2 (Arcade) as the game and the challenge is to not just finish a level on the game… But to play two games at the same time and without losing a single life. There’s really only one person up for the job, Martin Mathers. Back for his now third appearance on the show and trying to impress as he did last series with his previous Virtua Cop challenge. Can the cocky Martin really play through two games of Virtua Cop 2 simultaneously? We’ll have to wait and find out as it’s the news first. Sega Touring Car Championship (Arcade) is previewed. Then there’s a look at a 3D TV that can display 3D images without the need for glasses, this was in 1996 too before 3D TVs became an actual thing. Even then, you still need glasses. Finally, DD takes a look at his ‘favourite’ game, Barbie Fashion Designer (PC). A game where Dominik takes a bit too much enjoyment creating new clothes for Barbie. So, it’s back to the You Only Live Twice challenge and Martin begins this very, very tough double game contest. There’s about a 1 second gap difference between the two arcade machines as Martin wields a gun in each of his hands. Quite honesty, this is pretty damn impressive to watch as Martin takes down the bad guys one after another, flitting from one arcade machine to the other. He’s looking unstoppable too, then it gets to the very hectic jewellery store bit on the first stage and while he mowing down enemies, a momentarily slip of concentration makes Martin shoot a hostage, failing the challenge. A gallant effort though.


A review or two now as Killer Instinct Gold (N64) gets a more than decent 89%. Star Gladiator (PlayStation) is given an 85%. Then Virtua Cop 2 (Saturn) is awarded a solid 85%. Fraudulent spoon-bender and general bullshit psychic, the paranormally powered Uri Geller is the celeb taking on the next challenge. Uri has to play a special ski game on the PC using the, mentioned in the last series, Mind Drive controller. A device where the player uses their thoughts to control the action on the screen. All Uri has to do is make it from the top of the piste to the bottom going through at least fifteen of the twenty gates, using his mind… and the Mind Drive controller. He does it only missing two of the gates to win a golden joystick. Just to finish up, there’s another feature. Steven Spielberg’s Director’s Chair (PC), a CD-ROM where you get to direct and edit your own movie is looked at. Featuring Quentin Tarantino, Jennifer Aniston and Penn & Teller. You get to create a movie with help from Steven Spielberg and award-winning editor Michael Kahn. A few behind the scenes titbits are shown and Jennifer Aniston tells you how amazing the game is… she lied.

Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Six

GamesMaster selects Gunblade NY (Arcade) as the game for the first challenge and the contestant has to finish the entire game with only five lives. Paul is the guy taking on, what is called the Shoot Down The Shops And Get Us A Paper challenge, which runs the length of the episode. Paul gets cracking by mowing down bad guys in Times Square, which he finishes easily enough. While that carries on, it’s time for the news. There’s an exclusive look at the golf sim St. Andrews Old Course Golf (N64) which, as far as I can tell, was never released outside of Japan. The documentary film, Special Effects: Anything Can Happen, a film that explores the making of some of cinema’s most famed effects work is looked at. Pyst (PC) a CD-ROM adventure game released as a parody of the classic Myst is also given a looking at. Then it’s back to the Shoot Down The Shops And Get Us A Paper challenge and Paul is going great guns as he’s just finished area two of eight (split over two levels) and without losing any of his five and only lives.

Dominik introduces the obligatory GamesMaster mini football tournament for this series. Richard Rufus and Michael Duberry are the pro ball kickers who are going head to head to secure a chance to win a golden joystick. GamesMaster picks out Sega Worldwide Soccer (Saturn) as the game. Richard playing as Holland, with Michael choosing Italy as his team. The action kicks off and Michael is immediately on the attack and puts one away early doors. Richard comes back fighting and has some very decent shot son target too, but nothing seems to get through… Until he does a rather cheeky chip and lobs the keeper, taking it to 1 – 1. The game ends a draw, so onto penalties. Michael Duberry’s Italy first and the shot is saved, while Richard Rufus’ Holland puts their first shot away. Italy tuck their next shot away and Holland’s is saved, making it one penalty apiece. Italy’s third goes in, as does Holland’s. The fourth penalty and Italy score, putting the pressure on Holland to score… And they do. With the score being even, there’s only one more penalty each before it goes to sudden death. Italy step up to the spot and the shot is saved. All Holland have to do now is put this one away to win, and they do. Richard Rufus goes through to the final and the chance to win a golden joystick.


Back to Paul and his Shoot Down The Shops And Get Us A Paper challenge. Hels doing rather well-ish, he’s lost two of his five lives, but he has finished the first level, with only one level (four areas) left. While Paul is busy shooting polygons, it’s time for the reviews. Victory Boxing ’97 (PlayStation) is up first and gets itself an 81%. While Pandemonium! (PlayStation) is given an understandable 70%. Finishing up with the Shoot Down The Shops And Get Us A Paper challenge and Paul has lost another life, leaving him with just two now to finish the rest of the game. Then while finishing up the penultimate area, he loses another life. It’s getting very tense, one life left and one final area to finish the game. The last stage is particularly tough too, it takes place at night and the action is fast and frantic. Paul gets off to a great start and takes out the bad guys, there are a few near misses and one direct hit. Paul loses his last life on the last area of the game and fails. It was a very hard challenge to be fair and Paul put up a great fight… just not great enough.

Golden joysticks won – 0

Episode Seven

GamesMaster receives a rather strongly worded letter from someone calling themselves The Boss. Said Boss claims they can beat any boss in any game ever. Of course, GamesMaster has to see just how true that boast is and sets up a challenge simply called The Boss. The special challenge has The Boss trying to beat three randomly selected bosses from randomly selected games. Beat ’em up Star Gladiator (PlayStation), flying about the screen game Nights into Dreams (Saturn) and horror game Resident Evil (PlayStation) are the three ‘totally random’ games picked, it put ‘totally random’ in single quotation marks because even Dominik Diamond makes a none too subtle suggestion that the games selected were perhaps not quite so ‘random’. But before we get to see The Boss take on The Boss challenge where he has to beat three game bosses, it’s time for the news. Alpine Racer 2 (Arcade) is given a little preview ahead of its release. The X-Files Game (PC) and a peek at new, untitled motion capture themed a beat ’em up (that was never released) from Acclaim Games are also looked at. Then it’s back to the action and The Boss begins his first of three boss fights. Bilstein, the final boss on Star Gladiator is first and The Boss gets off to a rough start, taking more than a few hits. Making a slight comeback, but to no avail, The Boss loses the first round. The second round is also a close one, but The Boss does win it. One round apiece and The Boss has to win this, or the whole challenge is a fail. The third and final round goes The Boss’ way as he lands a pretty impressive combo and special move thing that decimates his opponent’s health. The Boss clears the first boss fight. So, Nights into Dreams is next and The Boss has just 100 seconds to defeat the game’s final boss, who has to be thrown through six walls to be defeated. Making short work of the first four walls, The Boss still has 45 seconds left, with two more walls to throw the game’s boss through. The next wall causes all sorts of issues and by the time The Boss gets to the final area, he only has 18 seconds left, on top of which, he takes a few hits and loses very valuable time. With only 5 seconds left, The Boss beats the final boss of the game… Have you noticed I have to use the word ‘boss’ a lot? Anyway, The Boss makes it to the third and final boss of this special The Boss challenge.


It’s the next round of the GamesMaster mini football tournament and footie player, Chris Armstrong is the man battling it out for the chance to win a golden joystick in the final. Now, GamesMaster usually has two pro footballers playing against each other in these games. Dominik rather sheepishly points out that Stan Collymore was supposed to turn up to play against Chris Armstrong… But he didn’t bother. He was probably too busy beating up women… Allegedly. So as only one player turned to for the challenge GamesMaster reviewer and co-commentator Rik Henderson steps up to play. So Chris plays as Brazil and Rik on Sega Worldwide Soccer (Saturn). The game is pretty even with both Chris and Rik taking some decent shots. After a lot of tussling, Chris’ Brazil put away a brilliant lob from outside of the area to go 1 – 0 up. Rik’s England begin to fight back and, but a cracking shot is saved, which Brazil turn into a counter-attack. Then when in the box, England foul Brazil and give away a penalty. The ref gives a red card to England and a penalty to Brazil… Which goes way over the bar. The final whistle blows and Chris Armstrong goes through to take on Richard Rufus to try and win a golden joystick.

A little feature next and Star Trek: First Contact is looked at before its UK release. Then to finish, it’s back to the special The Boss challenge and The Boss has to take on the spider boss from Resident Evil… And The Boss can only use the basic Beretta pistol too. The Boss gets three shots off, hitting the spider, but he also takes a hit himself. The Boss gets seven shots on the spider, leaving only one more to finish it off… But he takes another hit himself, leaving only one hit too. It’s actually quite close as the next hit wins. Running around the spider, doing his best to avoid being hit, The Boss does it. Getting the final shot in, the spider boss dies and The Boss wins a golden joystick. Oh, and I used the word ‘boss’ and its derivatives thirty-eight times covering this episode, thirty-nine if you want to count that last use where I explained how many times I used the word ‘boss’… A nice, round forty now.

Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Eight

Four Ninja Kids is the name of the first challenge and GamesMaster selects the game, Virtua Fighter Kids (Saturn). For this one, four kids (as the title suggests and aged around 10-years-old) have to fight each other in some classic one on one beat ’em up action. Jim-Bob, Christopher, Alex and Micheal are the four little tykes tackling this challenge. But first… News. Fighters Megamix (Saturn) is given a sneak peek. A CD-ROM called Making Magic (PC) that looks at the making of the Star Wars Trilogy Special Editions is mentioned. Then new motion simulator experience, Ice Ride is also looked at. Then it’s back to the Four Ninja Kids challenge, Jim-Bob and Christopher go first with Jim-Bob playing as Akira while Christopher favours Lau. The first round isn’t even close as Christopher wins with ease. The second round is a bit closer, but Christopher still wins and goes through to the final. Next up, it’s Alex using Shun and Micheal is playing as Kage. Michael wins the first round with an almost perfect, a very one-sided scrap. The second round is a lot closer and Alex very nearly wins it, nearly but not quite, as Michael wins by a whisker to go through to the final against Christoper.


FIFA 97 (PlayStation) scores a high 86%. Then NBA Jam Extreme (PlayStation) also gets an 86%. Finally, Virtual On (Saturn) is awarded an 83% in the reviews. Back to the Four Ninja Kids challenge (though now, there’s only two) and it’s the final punch-up. Standard best of three rounds bout with both Christopher and Micheal sticking with their favoured characters, Lau and Kage respectively. The first round is a close one, until Christopher spams a stomping move to cause a ring out win. Round two is very tit for tat, Christopher tries for another ring out, but Michael manages to avoid the trap and fights back. Time runs out, but seeing as Michael had more health, he wins the round. Both kids have a round each going, whoever wins the next one takes home the golden joystick. Michael starts the final round very strong, throws, combos, he’s looking like he’ll win this one with ease. Christopher fights back and lands a few slaps, but it’s just not enough and Michael wins the third and final round, as well as a golden joystick.

It’s the GamesMaster mini football tournament final with Chris Armstrong taking on Richard Rufus at Sega Worldwide Soccer (Saturn). Chris playing as Brazil and Richard as Holland. Chris instantly goes on the attack and fires a shot at goal, it is saved and the following gaol kick lands right at Richard’s feet. Going for a shot on goal, it goes inches wide. Both teams starting strong, but neither of them scoring… Yet. After a bit of swapping possession of the ball, Richard scores, 1 – 0 to Holland. Chris’ Brazil have a couple of attempts, but nothing goes in. Then Richard tucks another away, 2 – 0 to Holland with only 49 seconds of play left. Chris Armstrong playing as Brazil have it all to do, but can they a couple of goals and force a draw? No, Richard Rufus scores again to make it 3 – 0. To save the embarrassment of a whitewash, Chris does eventually put a goal away. 3 – 1 to Holland with 4 seconds left. Unless Chris can score another two goals in 4 seconds… He can’t. Richard Rufus takes Holland to GamesMaster golden joystick victory.


There’s still a few minutes left of the episode, so feature time. Dominik gets to look at some new PlayStation games coming from Namco. Rage Racer, part of the much loved Ridge Racer franchise is shown. Then beat ’em up, Soul Edge and the on-rails shooter, Time Crisis are shown in all their lovely PlayStation glory. Looking back, Namco were pretty awesome in the nineties and had a fantastic relationship with Sony. It’s a shame they (technically) no longer exist.

Golden joysticks won – 2

Episode Nine

Well, this is it, the GamesMaster Christmas special of 1996 and the most well known GamesMaster moment ever. I do hope you’re ready…

So, this special is very special indeed. Instead of the usual GamesMaster format of challenges and whatnot, we have a Christmas quiz. With Dominic Diamond as quizmaster and several GamesMaster reviewers/commentators as the contestants. The quiz is played in four rounds and at the end of the four rounds, the two contestants with the highest score will go on to a playoff. Whoever wins that playoff will be the winner of the golden joystick. And answering questions for a chance to win that golden joystick are, Kirk Ewing, Derrick Lynch, Rik Henderson and of course, Dave ‘The Games Animal’ Perry.


Round one is called Hey Hey, It’s The Picture Board. Contestants have to pick a concealed numbered picture and DD asks a question related to that picture once it is revealed with two points for a correct answer. Dave goes first and picks number one, he answers the question correctly and identifies Mario. He’s then asked a bonus question of what colour are Mario’s overalls… Normally? Dave gets the answer right. Next up is Rik and he picks number three, he answers incorrectly so no bonus question. Derrick goes next and he chooses number four, he passes. Finally, it is Kurt’s turn and he is left with number two, he also fails to answer. GamesMaster reveals the exciting scores as being:

Rik – 0
Derrick – 0
Kirk – 0
Dave – 4

Tell Us, Quite Literally, What Happens After The Wee Bit Of Clip That You Have Seen is the wonderful title of round two. A clip from a well known game is shown and the contestants have to (quite literally) guess what happens next after the clip is paused. First up is Rik Henderson and he gets Earthworm Jim (Mega Drive). Rik answers correctly. Derrick Lynch gets a classic clip of Resident Evil (PlayStation) and he half answers it correctly. Kirk Ewing buzzes in to try and give the full and proper answer… He’s wrong. So Dominik Diamond gives Derrick half the points for being half right. Then it’s Kirk’s clip and he gets Primal Rage (Arcade), Kirk (like Derrick) half answers the question, so Rik buzzes in and gives the full answer… He’s wrong. The final clip is for Dave Perry and it’s Sonic The Hedgehog (Mega Drive) and he gets it wrong. So Derrick tries his luck and also gets it wrong. After which GamesMaster tots up the scores as thus:

Rik – 2
Derrick – 1
Kirk – 1
Dave – 4


Round three kicks off and it is called, Ohh I feel Like Magnus Magnusson. Borrowing from the classic quiz show, Mastermind, DD gives each of the contestants 45 seconds to answer questions based on their specialist subject. First up is Derrick Lynch and his specialist subject is: Namco arcade beat ’em ups, 1992 to 1996. He does well scoring six points. Next, it is Kirk Ewing and his subject is: video game subjects related to the letter P. Kirk does a very questionable okay and gets four points with his questions. Then it is the turn of Dave Perry and his specialist subject is: the life and times of the Street Fighter arcade game. Dave gets himself four points too. Rik Henderson goes last and his subject is: football management simulations from 1986 to 1996. Rik scores a decent five points. Then, of course, GamesMaster does his thing and reveals the scores:

Rik – 7
Derrick – 7
Kirk – 5
Dave – 8

With Dave Perry still in the lead, it is on to the final round to decide which two will go through to the playoff. But before the final round begins, there’s a feature. Dominik is in Tokyo, Japan as he explores the phenomenon knows as otaku. Basically, the Japanese version of nerds/geeks. DD goes to a costume party where game fans dress up as their favourite game characters, I guess we call it ‘cosplay’ now, a portmanteau of ‘costume’ and ‘play’. Of course, Dominik perves over all the scantly clad females, he also points out a fella wearing a pair of pants on his head as a costume.


DD is even asked to be a judge and pick out his favourite costume. No prizes for guessing he picked out a lass wearing nothing more than a very small, tight, furry bikini. No idea what game character she was supposed to be though?

Anyway, it’s back to the final round of the Christmas quiz and this round is called, Don’t Shoot Too Soon. This is a 90 seconds, quick-fire, first to buzz in-type situation. The questions do indeed come fast with Kirk and Dave answering most of them (Kirk mainly). After that fast-paced round, GamesMaster reveals the final scores and the two top scorers going through to the playoff:

Rik – 7
Derrick – 8
Kirk – 9
Dave – 10

Meaning that it is Kirk Ewing and Dave Perry who go through to battle it out in the playoff to win the golden joystick. GamesMaster selects Super Mario 64 (N64) for the challenge, Kirk and Dave have to play the Cool, Cool Mountain level, in particular, the Big Penguin Race. Whoever gets the fastest time in the race wins, simple stuff indeed. Kirk goes first and at the 20 seconds point, he comes off the track and fails. So, the time is irrelevant now and all Dave has to do is last longer than 20 seconds to win, he doesn’t even have to finish the race, just last longer than 20 seconds. Dave takes the N64 controller next and coming around the first corner, Dave falls off the track. Lasting just 13 seconds. Dave fails, leaving Kirk to claim victory. Dave Perry rather (in)famously claims he was set up and becomes very stroppy and bitter. DD questions Dave on his ‘sour grapes’. Not that it matters as Kirk Ewing wins the golden joystick. Everyone smiles, celebrates and congratulates Kirk on his win… Everyone except Dave Perry who stands off at the side, arms folded and looking very glum indeed.


I’ll actually have quite a lot more to say about this particular episode in a separate article, coming pretty soon (when I’ve finally finished this huge retrospective). But until then…

Golden joysticks won – 1

And with part one now done, that inevitability leaves the conclusion that is part two remaining. As I creep ever closer to the end of this massive retrospective, I’m kind of sad to think that it is almost all over with only one more series left after part two of this one.

Total golden joysticks won – 11