Dara Ó Briain’s Go 8 Bit: how comedy brought video games back to TV

Video games don’t work on television. That’s the nugget of unquestionable awareness that’s been exceeded down from producer to producer during the last 30 years as gaming noisily became one of the world’s maximum famous pursuits.

Positive, there had been exceptions, people will grudgingly concede. Within the early 90s, video games Grasp bought all the chaotic a laugh and opposition of youth Mega Pressure fanaticism to children’s Tv for numerous wonderful series. The past due 90s and early 2000s noticed Bits and Thumb Bandits, both starring one-time Mother or father video games’ columnist Aleks Krotoski.
Dara O Briain’s Go 8 Bit, this week starring Susan Calman and David James
In view that then Ginx Tv’s regularly thoughtful and humorous Online game Nation became the only amazing British show however was alas cancelled.

Beginning on Dave, however, is a brand new contender that gives something its predecessors perhaps lacked: real, crossover celeb attraction.

Dara Ó Briain’s Go eight Bites is billed as a comedy panel show about video games. Each week, groups compete in a series of gaming contests, taking in retro favourites like Chuckie Egg and Tekken in addition to clean titles including Big name Wars Battlefront and Fifa 16.

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Every week, the group leaders – comedians Steve McNeil and Sam Pamphilon – are joined by celeb visitors with various degrees of gaming ability, and their resulting antics are overseen via host Ó Briain and resident gaming expert Ellie Gibson, whose position as decide and rule explainer makes her a cross between Countdown’s Guardian of the dictionary, Susie Dent, and Pointless’s Richard Osman.
dara ó briain
Despite the fact that video games Grasp could be the natural contrast point, the layout surely has its origins In the mid-1980s BBC quiz collection First Magnificence, wherein general knowledge questions in which interspersed with rounds of Hyper Sports and Paperboy.

McNeil and Pamphilon first advanced their own take at the Television gaming quiz for the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe – once they couldn’t think about something else to place on.

“We’d had the concept of doing a past due night show on Friday and Saturday nights, only for amusing, where we’d get comedians under the influence of alcohol after which inspire them to abuse Each different even as they played retro video games – merely for shenanigans,” says McNeil. “Somewhat tediously, it was extra a hit than whatever else we’d finished as much as that factor. So we saved doing it.”dara ó briain's go 8 bit
The duo met up with Tv producer Rohan Acharya who helped them expand the concept into a stay show, which they put on to excellent achievement in a chain of London venues which include Lee Hurst’s Outdoor Comedy Membership in Bethnal Inexperienced. Some television commissioners saw the show, paid for a pilot to be produced in 2014, and eventually the satellite Tv channel Dave got onboard – as did keen gamer Ó Briain.
Why did they take a hazard on the concept, given the normal information approximately Television and video games? “Properly, we were selling out a live video gaming display on the comedy circuit,” says McNeil.

“We had non-game enthusiasts coming back Each month, old and young. We had been gambling larger and larger venues. While the show is made through human beings with a love of video games, it’s additionally – hopefully – a funny display irrespective of that. We’ve spent a variety of time getting the stability right so that, as with By no means Thoughts the Buzzcocks, as an instance, you don’t want to recognise much about the concern to revel in it, but there’ll be a few more bits in there in an effort to get in case you’re into the more obscure stuff.”

Episode one saw keen game enthusiasts former England goalkeeper David James and comic Susan Calman join Steve and Sam for pretty aggressive rounds of Chuckie Egg, Tekken and Megastar Wars Battlefront. There has been a number of chat about guilty gaming workouts and rituals, a few sharp jokes about Tetris and human rights, and a bizarre segue into the reproductive machine of chickens.

It looked like a lark to make, and it became amiable viewing – despite the fact that, at times, Steve and Sam regarded a touch shellshocked that their concept had in the end made it to tv.
video games’ journalist and comic Ellie Gibson got involved with the show after seeing it in a north London pub, then auditioned for the position of gaming professional. She brings meticulous gaming expertise, dry wit and unsolicited Catford references to the display.dara ó briain's go 8 bit
She also understands why we’ve had to wait see you later for some things like this to come back along. “Video games Master is the pleasant video games tv that ever become, however even when that become made, Jane Hewland, who developed it, had a terrible time convincing professionals that it’d be a large issue. And it became: a year after it began each youngster in Britain became looking.

“However later, a brand new technology of execs got here in, the golden age of gaming exceeded, and There was a new worry around the medium. Then the Ps got here alongside, and that turned into actually cool. Television isn’t right at cool, cool on television pretty often occurs by way of coincidence, and while Tv tries to be cool it’s usually dreadful. What we’ve tried to do with Go eight Bites is come at games from a comedy perspective, as a form of amusement.”

There’s an argument, of course, that the net has all this included. Gaming is the most popular style on YouTube with stars like Stampy Cat, Pewdiepie and Dan TDM drawing in thousands and thousands of viewers. The web streaming channel Twitch, which specialises in video games coverage, has a monthly viewership of 150 million. Doesn’t this render Television insurance obsolete?

“I suppose things like Twitch have actually helped our reason, as Television now finds itself having to play catch up,” says McNeil. “Tv can provide a level of production values that’s lacking from maximum on-line content.”

Television additionally has the strength to attract in celebrities from out of doors the gaming network, which in flip attracts a distinctive demographic. Later shows Inside the collection function comedians Ed Byrne and Bob Mortimer, who’re unlikely to pop up on gamer YouTube channels each time quickly.

In some ways although, what’s missing is that feel of tension and atmosphere that comes from a stay occasion. The unique Pass 8 Bit level show got audiences roaring their guide for contestants, but a recorded Television programme lacks that feel of drama and interplay. Perhaps if it’s a success, there’s the capability for a live Television model with interplay from visitors at domestic, Despite the fact that this is possibly prohibitively ambitious – unless Simon Cowell all of sudden develops an interest in gaming.

Something, Pass 8 Bit is humorous and daft, and Ó Briain is an expert host. It already does what it set out to do: to admit the absurdity of the medium, while additionally revelling in how compelling its miles. For the show’s know-how of games and the way we play them, and its infectious feel of fun and irreverence, it is without a doubt encouraged viewing.

“The show is a celebration of video games,” says Gibson. “It’s no longer taking them seriously, however it’s also – in terms of the opposition detail – taking them noticeably significantly certainly.”

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