Farewell Good Game, May All Your Games Be Good Ones

Image: Good Game

Making a television show about video games is hard.

Making a good television show about video games is close to impossible.

I know this because in my 35 years on this planet I’ve only seen one show do a decent job of representing games culture in any meaningful way.

And that show was Good Game.

I grew up in the UK. When I was younger there were multiple attempts to make video games work on television. They were, with rare exception, utter garbage. Presenters who couldn’t care less, producers who clearly didn’t have the barest clue what video games were or could be. Cheap, recycled, trivial, trash. Everything produced had that blank-eyed veneer of condescension. It was terrible. Almost all of it.

Even as a child I could recognise I was being talked down to. At best patronised, at worst insulted. Networks were exploiting a fad they didn’t understand and they did it without a shred of shame or grace. You watched — as a fan of video games you watched — because you had to. Because this was video games for Christ’s sake and video games were important. They should be on TV. But always — in the back of your mind — “this is not good”. “This is bad”. “This sucks”.

Good Game did not suck.

Good Game absolutely did not suck.

Good Game did the impossible. Good Game straddled the high wire. It reached out to mainstream audiences in the way that terrestrial tv has to, but catered to curmudgeons like us — with our niche pursuits, alienating dialogues and – frankly – our sense of elitism. Good Game didn’t patronise, but refused to exclude. It made the insiders feel smart and outsiders feel welcome. Good Game walked that tight rope and it walked it for ten goddamn years. That is a beautiful thing.

And Good Game was supportive. Of Australian games development, of important issues, of women in games, of journalism, of me personally. I was used to being treated terribly by producers asking me to appear on their terrible current affairs shows. I think it was Today Tonight who referred to me as a ‘Super Nerd’ after storming noisily into Kotaku HQ, demanding everyone in the office move this way or that way to get their shot. Good Game was the precise opposite of that. Always showed Kotaku so much respect. Always wanted to collaborate. Always wanted to help. I hope they know that respect flowed both ways.

Ask anyone, from development, to media, to publishing. Everyone loved Good Game. Everyone respected their work. Everyone was upset to hear it was cancelled. Everyone will miss it. The Australian games industry will miss Good Game and miss it terribly.

There’s a gap there. It’ll be difficult to fill. Such a short-sighted decision on the part of the ABC, cancelling a show like Good Game. A show that spoke to gamers on their terms, brought new people into the fold. A show with a distinct, hard to capture audience. A show with a unique voice, brilliantly produced by a young team of talented, hard-working producers. A show that did the impossible, really.

How do you replace a show like that?

You almost certainly can’t. That’s the sad thing. Good Game is gone, it’s so casually gone and we took it for granted: the rarest thing, a television show about video games that not only didn’t suck but was actually very good indeed.

Thanks to everyone who worked on it, from its inception till the very last episode. Know it will be missed.

Until next time, may all your games be good ones.


Comments

    Good Game did not suck.

    It used not to suck, then it started sucking.

      *In your opinion

      I liked the show quite a lot. Hex and bajo were brilliant hosts. I know some did not like it. But GG really took off once it was Hex and Bago, They were able to reach a much wider audience.

      Last edited 01/02/17 3:00 pm

      Totally agree,
      They started pandering too much to the major publishers they were obviously getting alot of freebies off. The show went down hill about 2 years ago and never really recovered.
      Nichboy completely ruined the show anytime he was on trying to turn it into standup comedy.

      Hex started to get too full of herself and Bajo needed to keep his shirt on literally.

    Might mention this here. For those interested, fire up iTunes and go to the Good Game podcast.

    Not all episodes are there but at least the bulk are. A good chance to legally download the episodes before they disappear.

      also the good game website has all 10 seasons on it to download...for now.

    GG was a great show, though in recent years I shifted to watching their youtube content like Pocket and Well Played. Unfortunately those are getting canned as well, which is a shame because that kind of content was all GG needed to do to stay competitive in this changing media landscape, and they did it well! I had the great opportunity to be part of Well Played last December, and I am forever grateful to the GG team for having me on. Definitely the highlight 2016 for me personally, and I was looking forward so much to what that team will do in 2017...so I guess I'll tune into Spawn Point to get my fix of Bajo, Goose, and Rad (and Darren, I guess).

      Yeah it's weird that in the official statement from ABC they said that one of the reasons they weren't bringing back the show and finding new hosts was because of the "Changing space in games media" or something like that, which read as "No one who likes games watches TV anymore".

      Yet they had an online show, why not continue that? I'm sure the budget wasn't nearly as expensive as the show itself, and they have produced online only content before so it's pretty baffling as to why they couldn't have someone take over that as well.

    Good Game did not suck, it never sucked.

    Sure, over the years, with changing demographics and tastes...and the rise of mobile and more casualised gaming experiences, GG did what any good entertainment show does and adapted. In doing so, I drifted outside my core interests and I watched less and less. However, the professionalism never changed, the way it presented games whilst being both funny and informative never changed.

    For that, GG was a bloody godsend on the Australian TV schedule...

      I agree to a point. Had a similar experience of liking it once, but after a while I just couldn't be bothered any more. It just became something different to what it was...

    Loved Good Game. Was always one of those shows where I could switch off outside stresses and just enjoy. Also loved Pocket. Didn't watch on a day-to-day basis, but would binge watch the week's worth of eps on the weekend. I'll miss it. Whatever the team does next, I wish you all the best! <3

    Last edited 01/02/17 12:44 pm

    GG made me feel great being an adult gamer. All the reasons Mark covered above are spot on. I wasn't a fan of Spawn Point, but it wasn't aimed at my demographic. Seeing GG go is really sad. I was a fan for those 10 years.

    RIP GG. Damn the ABC for ditching it!

    GG had an extremely wide audience, which is terribly rare for a show about games. Even my dad would tube in occasionally, possibly so he could drop a "did you know that..." about some game or other around me. About the only place our interests intersected!

    I know this because in my 35 years on this planet I’ve only seen one show do a decent job of representing games culture in any meaningful way.

    Obviously never seen Videogaiden then....

    I could never get into GG as being a mature (read, first console was a plug in pong thing on a black and white TV) gamer it wasn't to my tastes - seemed more targeted at the adolescent gamer and was the TV equivalent of something like C&VG rather than Edge (not that there's anything wrong with that..) - but I was always appreciative that it was around and had an audience. RIP GG

      first console was a plug in pong thing on a black and white TV

      This could still be true even for someone born today.

      Ok, fine, that's an extreme example, sure. But a less extreme example would be that my first console was an Atari 2600 on one of those wooden box TV's with the huge clunky dials to change channel [you know, the ones that go *chunk**chunk**chunk* when you turn them]. Thing is, the Mega Drive had already been released by that stage [two whole generations later].

      So, come on, how old are we talking here? We want numbers! :p

        LOL. Let's just say this was mid-late 70s, my folks got one of the early "pong" clones. Around the time or just before the VCS hit the market (my friends son who was older than me got a VCS a year or two later and it was the coolest thing ever... At the time, of course).. I played space invaders back when space invaders was cutting edge.

        Last edited 01/02/17 6:10 pm

          Haha thanks.
          Damn, that must have been an expensive purchase for your friend. Those things weren't cheap around launch!

          Hm, did you have the change to play an Odyssey? I actually tried one at ACMI and despite the basics I got a good kick out it.

    This still hasn't really sunk in yet, such a dud.

    Well said Mark, totally agree, especially on the walking the tightrope between making insiders feel smart and outsiders feel welcome. For me that is integral to what made Good Game so incredible.

    This is also why switching from Junglist to Hex was such a good thing. Nothing against Junglist, but Bajo+Junglist was much more niche than the huge, widespread appeal that Bajo and Hex (and also Goose and others) were able to generate. Junglist era = pioneering, later era = mass-audience building.

      That's a very good point, and also why a lot of people (not me) grew to dislike it. They're the same people that dislike it when their favourite band goes "mainstream" and doesn't make the same indie songs for the same 15 people any more.

    I thought Level 3 on Channel 31 did a pretty good job too.

    GG Pocket should be re-instated ASAP. YouTube is where it's at.

      Or, you know, direct to iView would be fine too :-)

        Er, no. Unless I'm watching video on a Sega CD, there is no reason for the resolution to be so bad on iView.

        Something is seriously wrong if they can't even work up to 480p.

    It's crazy to think i was 13ish when i first started watching the show, and how much of an impact that had on my life.

    Video Games were getting recognition on TV! i was so ecstatic! And it had two funny hosts who clearly had the same passion that i had about games. I'll admit when i was younger i wasn't a fan of Hex at first when she replaced Junglist, but she did grow on me

    It made me confident in my hobby because if a show about games could get broadcast on national TV, then i shouldn't be worried about telling people i like games.

    Unfortunately it was around when Spawn Point started when i dropped off, i got more of my news off of the internet, and i found that i didn't really need to rely on reviews anymore to make my decisions. However whenever they had a really good report on the industry i'd make sure i'd watch it.

    Mainly the main thing i want to say to them is, How come you never answered any of my questions on the Q & A segment?

    Last edited 01/02/17 2:44 pm

    Good-bye Good Game. I'm not sure what I'm going to do on a Tuesday night now.

    I will also miss Pocket, I watched most days - NichBoy and the crew were consistently awesome.

    This is pretty disappointing from the ABC, surely the show didn't cost that much. Maybe they can see the light?

    Last edited 01/02/17 2:47 pm

      At least you'll have more time to play games :-) That's what I did when I stopped watching about a 18 months ago.

        Good point! The back log is pretty beefy these days.

        Buy now I won't buy as many games, I bought heaps based on GG's recommendations and reviews. They were always on the ball with reviews I found.

    The ABC does have an official complaints form. http://www.abc.net.au/contact/complain.htm

    Worth writing them a note expressing your displeasure. Be civil, actually mount an argument, but if enough people write in they will at least appreciate that this show had a following and that the audience wants this sort of content.

      Oh wow does that ever bring back some memories. I remember I used that form back when they cancelled Chasers War on Everything.
      I can't remember exactly what was going on at the time, but I know it was awfully timed and seemed somehow politically motivated. [I think it was around the '07 election, and they were heavily critical of the Howard government]. I was quite agressive in my wording of the complaint [late teens, politically charged undergrad that I was], and I actually got a response written by a person which took me by surprise. I was certainly pleased with the response that I got.

      Last edited 01/02/17 5:27 pm

        I think it was around the '07 election, and they were heavily critical of the Howard government

        It's been a while but from memory it was a skit too far; they basically ran their own version of the Make-a-Wish foundation and implied it wasn't worth taking the kids to Disney land, etc, because they may die the following day.

        Though it was easy to be critical of Howard; mostly because those times his brain finally rotted out and we were left with some creature with nothing more than a brain stem running the country.

        Kind of sad, his party did good things but our patience ran out and his insane work choices idea is what cost him the election.

        I sometimes wonder what would have happened if the deal between him and Costello was real and things might have been different if Howard retired and Costello replaced him. But I'm going too far in political history.

        Last edited 02/02/17 7:16 am

          Urrgghhh..... Yeah, now that you mention it I do remember that particular skit. Definitely left a really bad taste in my mouth. I've got a pretty dark sense of humour but that was pretty bad.

          Last edited 01/02/17 10:35 pm

    It probably got cancelled because gamers are too busy gaming to watch TV, I know I am.

      Or the ABC didn't even have reason. Some exec most likely saw the listings and decided to axe it with the stroke of a pen because the exec could.

    Bajo and hex killed the show as their chemistry was unique for the show. Nich boy could have taken over the show single handedly.. alas all good things must come to an end..

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now