Posts Tagged ‘television’

Down The Tube: A Developer’s Guide To Television

By RPS on April 1st, 2014.

You may have heard about last weekend’s extraordinarily disastrous attempt to film and broadcast a Pepsi-sponsored game jam, called GAME_JAM. At enormous expense (rumours fly of around $400,000), a group of in-indies – the likes of Zoe Quinn, Davey Wreden, and Robin Arnott – and YouTubers were supposed to be taking part in a reality-show-cum-game-jam for four days, to be professionally filmed, edited and broadcast on YouTube. The event didn’t make it through the first day before a number of the developers walked off set and refused to return, and everyone involved was upset and pissed off. It didn’t make it to day two. For a comprehensive account of what happened, you ought to read Jared Rosen’s article on Indie Statik, but the short version is: one of the people in charge was a sexist arsehole, the sponsorship was so ludicrous they weren’t allowed to drink anything other than Mountain Dew (not even water), and the atmosphere was miserable beyond anything conducive to making games. It was a massive, hugely expensive, disaster.

In response, we and asked Size Five GamesDan Marshall to use his experience working in television production to write a guide for developers when it comes to TV. What to look out for, the tricks of the trade, and why it’s probably best avoided altogether. We should stress, this is a general guide, and not directly related to those peculiar events in LA.

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Frosty The Snowman: Charlie Brooker, Games And TV

By Adam Smith on November 29th, 2013.

With a few notable exceptions, games haven’t broken into the world of television. There’s Videogaiden, of course, and I rewatch that at least once a year, but games are more likely to be mentioned in a news report about the commerce value of consoles or a violent occurrence than for their artistic or cultural merit. Arch-satirist and clever clogs Charlie Brooker has previously enjoyed some success with Gameswipe, but a trailer for his new programme, with writing from RPS chum Cara Ellison, Jon Blyth and Matt Lees, suggests that it might be a very important piece of television. A shame then that Brooker’s segment with journalist/presenter Jon Snow about the Playstation 4′s launch showed the latter displaying the unimaginative approach of an old man in an old medium.

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Sixteen, With A 10 Meg Pipe: TV Does Games

By John Walker on March 10th, 2011.

Excuse me madam, have you seen this lady's high scores?

Videogaming’s representation in the wider media is, as we all know, peculiar. But nowhere is it more strange than in the world of television. Those bonkers small screen writers seem to have somehow grown up in a society completely free of their existence, talking about them as if they’re an alien artefact on which no researchable information is available. Or another theory: all American dramas are written by my mum. The latest incident of her scripting a show is Season 8 Episode 16 of NCIS, which aired in the States last month. The moment is below, and it’s beautiful.

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Cha$e: When Videogames Come To Life

By John Walker on November 20th, 2008.

See what they did there?!

The SciFi Channel in the US has started a brand new television programme, billing itself as “world’s first live-action videogame.” Forgetting, oh, so many shows that contradict this (I’ll leave that to you below, but let’s just say Knightmare here to get things started), the result is something so special that all who are able should watch. Please people, be outstanding for the majesty of Cha$e.

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Rise Of The Videogame – Discovery

By John Walker on November 24th, 2007.

For those lucky enough to be in the US (or indeed those who come by their television through mystical futuristic means), there’s a new Discovery documentary that should be on everyone’s TIVO/hard drive. Rise Of The Videogame.

rise of the videogame

Unlike so many programmes about videogames, Rise Of demonstrates a depth of research and work that lifts it above the usually banal, patronising rubbish that television normally produces on the subject. It interviews all the right people, knows to show clips of all the right games, and makes the assumption that you’ve already a basic knowledge of the subject.

The first episode (of five hour-long documentaries) explores the birth of videogaming, and takes the Cold War as its allegorical guide. After discussing oscilloscopes being hacked to play a tennis game, it moves on to the enigmatic Steve Russell talking about how he created Spacewar!, comparing the original nature of gaming (shooting things, missiles, explosions, etc) with the American culture of fear surrounding the tensions with the USSR; how it was, “Born out of Cold War anxiety and nurtured in the era of counterculture.”

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Kane: Total War

By Alec Meer on August 14th, 2007.

I likes it when teh tanks run over teh men lolz

The ESPN-style presentation of EA’s new Command & Conquer 3 Battlecast Primetime web TV shows is inherently hilarious. EA’s trying, in that not-quite-getting-it corporate way it so often does, to create the kind of pop culture frenzy that surrounds Starcraft in South Korea [sidenote - if I ever go to Korea, I'd love to find out just what the older population think about their offspring's game mania]. That means making a TV show about just one videogame, and taking it very, very seriously, laying the macho on thick. I know C&C fans love their C&C, but I can’t see this working in the long term.

Today though, it turned out that the show’s not so much about watching C&C3 matches as EA having their own personal news show. It’s enough to send a chill down even the most jaded hack’s hunched spine – EA doesn’t need the media anymore. EA makes its own media. This was demonstrated by Battlecast Primetime exclusively announcing details on the first C&C3 expansion pack. So that’s the way it’s gonna be now, huh?

At any rate, Kane’s Wrath (for that is its name) sounds like it’s had a fair amount of thought put into it, much more so than the average EA dead-horse-flogger expansion. Clearly, cliffhangers will be resolved, Kane will make plenty more high-definition ego-waffle, and there’ll be various new units and abilities. Much more importantly, C&C3′s getting a strategy map, and even producer Jim Vessella’s teeth-aching description of it as “a game like Risk, but on steroids” doesn’t stop this being a little bit exciting.

Total War, with Tiberium. Command & Conquer with persistent units that fight multiple wars, rather than entirely disposable ones. A tense push-me, pull-you of zone-swapping between NOD, GDI and the Scrin, allowing meaningful replay without repetition. Nothing that isn’t already prevalent on the RTS landscape (in fact, Dawn of War did exactly the same thing with its most recent expansion, Dark Crusade), but it’s a big vote of confidence in strategy on EA’s part.

The main criticism pretty much everyone had with C&C3 was that is was too much like C&C. That was both my complaint and my affection for it – that sort of overclocked simplicity had been lacking from RTSes for a long time. Now, it seems like C&C3 was just a cautious toe in the water, and the really big stuff’s yet to come. EA doesn’t have Total War, and that probably makes them very angry. But they do have the other biggest name in real-time strategy – it’s good to see them taking it places.

There’s more – most interestingly sub-factions for the three playable sides, which suggest a further break from the decade-old C&C formula – but you’ll have to wade through a lot of overexcited sports show to get every last scrap of it. It is worth it for the panicked-looking presenter reading aloud horribly detailed patch notes he clearly doesn’t entirely understand from an autocue, though.

We won’t be feeling Kane’s wrath until 2008, incidentally. Boo.

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