Wednesday, February 1, 2017
When it was announced that Good Game was cancelled after its ten-year run, the public was understandably upset. But when I found out it was largely because two of the hosts decided to quit and that they were better off just wrapping things up, it confirmed many of my long-held opinions of the show.
- It signals a recognition that the biggest draw card to the show was its presenters, but also that the stories on the show had no real value to the public.
- The failure to keep the presenters – their most valuable assets – happy enough to stay indicates a lack of planning, foresight, and resources.
I was there to see Good Game start. It was exciting to everyone because, above all, it was the biggest platform any of us in the games media had ever seen or experienced. In the right hands, it would be able to make meaningful advances in the way people appreciate video games as a form of art and entertainment. Instead, it fell into the trap of doing what most all games media does: it existed simply to promote consumption and to perpetuate the continued existence of an industry.
That’s not to say Good Game was bad. I do see it as an opportunity lost, though. Few stories are ever published about the socio-legal-political implications of video games, or how they are changing the way people behave, interact, and express themselves… In my experience, the industry isn’t interested in supporting such stories.
To wit, Jeremy Ray, who was famously removed from the show in favour of a female host, went on to produce some of the best stories I’d ever laid eyes on about emerging trends and social issues through the lens of video games.
I was never comfortable with the way the ABC treated him… I don’t think he ever found quite as great a platform.
The retention of kid-friendly spin-off, Spawn Point, is a small consolation. But let’s not pretend it isn’t there to just fill the kid-friendly quota of the ABC’s charter.
Update: The latest news I’ve heard is that two of the hosts were poached by one of the commercial networks to start a new show about video games. How will it be different from Good Game? Well, for starters, it will rely on advertising.
About today’s photo: Finding the best angle for an “Alas, poor Yorick” metaphor.