By John Walker on December 16th, 2009 at 12:47 am.
There’s something magical in Britain. It’s called BBC Four. Bear with me if you’re a Briton, you’re likely acutely aware of the channel, and how it’s a BBC cable channel for higher-brow programming, a mix of documentary, drama and comedy that perhaps doesn’t possess the mainstream appeal necessary for one of the terrestrial Beeb channels. For those abroad it’s – oh, I’ve cleverly already said. And over the last couple of weeks there’s been a series of hour-long documentaries by Benjamin Woolley, Games Britannia, on the history of gaming. And we’re talking the long view.
Beginning in the Iron Age, the first episode looked at the origin of games, and their influences over the next thousand years. The second investigates the social impact of board games over the last 200 years. Those within licence fee-paying territory can watch the first episode here and the second episode here. However, it’s next Monday’s episode that draws today’s attention, thanks to the phenomenally large link Cigol emailed us. (It was in giant letters, seriously.) It’s about those-there modern games that crackle with the flow of electricity. Sadly due to the bum-wobbling idiocy of the iPlayer not letting you embed promo videos I can’t put this short clip of international super-megastar Charlie Brooker being interviewed about his gaming desires below, so instead you’ll have to watch it here.
(Charlie Brooker, you see, used to be the guy in PC Zone who wrote the grumpy reviews of the crappy games. Now he’s about as ubiquitous on UK television as David Mitchell, money exploding out of his upstairs windows. I’m just saying. I’M JUST SAYING. I mean, I’m just saying I’ve been writing grumpy reviews of crappy games in PC Gamer for TEN YEARS. Is all. I don’t even want to be on the telly! Just the radio. That’s all! Just one little radio programme in which I get to be grumpy. Is that SO MUCH TO ASK? But I wish him well.)
Apologies to non-Brits reading who will likely be prevented from watching the programme via the cruelty of the regionalised internet. (Just imagine how we feel every time someone links to something on Hulu.) You can find out all about the upcoming and final episode of the series, Joystick Generation, by clicking here. Or if you’re lazy, read this:
“In the 1980s, the power of our imagination was harnessed in early video games like Elite, putting the audience at the heart of a space adventure they could influence. The British boom years of the 90s introduced characters like Lara Croft to a world beyond video games and players were propelled into the internet age.
Woolley’s investigation leads to the present day, where he finds our morality tested in the world of Grand Theft Auto and our identity becoming transported to the digital domain with virtual realms like Runescape and World of Warcraft.”
(What’s good is I’m not bitter.)