As the new gaming panel show Go 8 Bit recently hit our screens, I couldn’t help but get all nostalgic about the gaming TV shows we watched when growing up. So let’s head back to the 90s where I’d tune in for Gamesmaster’s Consoletation Zone or use the VCR to record Bad Influence’s Data Blast. Here’s 5 gaming shows I watched in the 90s!
1. GamesMaster (Channel 4, 1992 to 1998)
Let’s start with the biggie. I’ve actually started to rewatch all of GamesMaster, as I have to admit not watching much after Dexter Fletcher took over from Dominik Diamond (although he later came back). In fact I had no idea it ran for so long! It consisted of challenges, reviews and tips. The tips section, named the ‘consoletation zone’ was my favourite part as a kid as having no internet or money for magazines back then it was my only way to get cheats.
The GamesMaster himself was portrayed brilliantly (but let’s face it, oddly) by Sir Patrick Moore. I loved how sarcastic he would be when answering questions. One thing I’m realising whilst watching back is how much of a dick Dominik Diamond is!
2. Bad Influence! (ITV, 1992 – 1996)
Hosted by none other than Andy Crane and Violet Berlin, it was a little more tech focused than GamesMaster and for that reason I liked it a little more. Looking back now it’s probably dated the most, probably due to the presenting style which was heavily scripted and a little overly enthusiastic and kid friendly.
The first episode covered Virtual Reality and whilst genuinely interesting at the time, it was obviously rubbish. The best part of the show for me a kid, was the end credits roll ‘Data Blast’ which had you going through your VHS recording frame by frame looking for cheats and info.
3. Games World (Sky One, 1993 – 1998)
Games World was pretty much a carbon copy of GamesMaster. It had a similar structure of challenges, reviews and tips. Like the GamesMaster character, Games World had the ‘Games Mistress’ played by Diane Youdal (Jet in Gladiators!). I have to admit as a young boy, this was definitely a reason to tune in.
There were other characters on the show called ‘Videators’ who were basically gaming champions the challengers would pit against. I distinctly remember a really cocky videator called Big Boy Barry who went on to have his own show with David Walliams!
4. ybernet (ITV, 1995 – 2010)
Cybernet was a gaming magazine show which featured reviews, news, tips as well as my favourite feature, charts. It was really quite slick in its production and holds up well upon revisiting as there was no studio sets, just clips using voiceover artists. I always remember watching this really late at night for some reason, it was worth staying up for!
5. Bits (Channel 4, 1999 – 2001)
OK so it was the end of the 90s but it definitely felt 90s. Another show that I’d catch late at night, Bits was hosted by Aleks Krotoski, Emily Newton Dunn and Emily Booth. It was lots of fun and a breath of fresh air. It was refreshing to have a fully female led gaming show and not have to rely on sexy characterisations (such as Games World’s Games Mistress). They knew their stuff and it was pretty gritty for the time.