TV Shows about video games

The recent announcement on the revival of G4 got me thinking about some of the earlier shows with a focus on video games. After G4 started in 2002, it seemed like way more shows were produced. With YouTube and other online streaming media options, I really wonder what the market is for such a specific television channel in 2021, if it even is a TV channel…

In the mid-90s with the internet not being what it would be, these shows were a incredible look behind the curtain of game development. You might get the odd interview in game magazines, but having them in video really added something.

Anyway, here's a few early Canadian examples to kick things off.

[The Anti-Gravity Room]( (1995-1997?) A Can/Am co-production that aired on both YTV and The Sci Fi Channel. Mostly focused on comic books and comic related media, it also had video game reviews/previews, including this early look at Sonic X-Treme.
Playlist of episodes I've found:

[gAmerz ]( (1998–2000)- Also on YTV and also hosted by Phil Guerrero. Similar in style to The Anti Gravity Room featuring interviews with developers and previews of new games.
Playlist of episodes I've found:

and I couldn't start this without mentioning [The Electric Playground]( (1997-current). Still going today as EP Daily. Their YouTube channel has even posted a huge number of old episodes.

@hellomrkearns#4018 The Anti-Gravity Room! Jaimy! Phil! Aaaah!

I haven't thought about them in _years_, but as a kid born in the mid-80s and growing up in and around Toronto, this show was can't-miss television.

I dunno, I don't have anything real useful to say, other than thank you so much for this slice of nostalgia.

Wait, no, double-post.

How about [Video & Arcade Top 10]( This was another Canadian TV staple, that also aired on YTV, and features segments where four kids gooned around in some SNES-era video game, and a "winner" was chosen seemingly at random after the hosts yammered for eight minutes or so, making numerous and noticeable errors (even from a 10-year-old's perspective).

I mean, see for yourself, if you dare:

EDIT: Apparently this show was still going in the Gamecube era. But it looks and sounds exactly like it did in the SNES era, which says about all you need to know.

Here's an episode from 1993, which is more what I originally had in mind:

@whatsarobot#4045 heck yeah. I got a playlist of that show too!

I got into watching the UK show Bits recently. Most of the episodes seem to be lost but there's one full season up on youtube.

It's definitely gamer TV but the show makes some interesting choices that separate it from the dreck. It has three female hosts (no men at all!) and while there is definitely plenty of innuendo, it's not nearly as gross as the Olivia Munn being goaded into licking hardware type stuff that makes old US gamer TV extremely uncomfortable to watch. In Bits the female hosts are in control of the show (at least as it is presented to the viewer) and are covering the "serious gamer talk" as much as the goofy off topic stuff.

The show also delivers a ton of nostalgia because it aired during a really special era of video game history. It's that specific fleeting moment when the Dreamcast was the premier video game hardware but the launch of the PS2 was looming just over the horizon. The show itself is overflowing with the visual style of that era. It's definitely dated (in a good, nostalgic way for me at least) but it's also really executing on what it's trying to be. It's low budget but you can tell there is real talent behind the production.

If you have friends who you lived through this era of gaming with you might have a really excellent time watching this show with them.

Kim Justice did a Bits retrospective (as well as episodes on a bunch of other UK gaming TV) that is great.

@willi#4070 I came here to post about this era of UK TV!

I have fond memories of using VideoPlus codes to record *Bits* and *Cybernet* in the middle of the night. I assume they were also on at times other than 3am, but I had free rein of the VCR at night so used to browse the schedules for interesting overnight re-runs and fill up a rotation of blank tapes. It's where I first saw Seinfeld!

I remember there being quite a lot of hype about Bits when it launched, but I definitely preferred Cybernet.

through another forum (believe it or not, there are others for some reason) I found out about Cybermaster:

a portuguese sega-sponsored show focusing mostly on the saturn toward the end. the premise of the show was that the world had been taken over and a leather-clad princess terra had people compete playing sega games in order to join her army to save the future. quite a thing they decided to do.

here's a youtuberfella explaining it

I'm also surprised Starcade hasn't come up!? It's the first one I think (82-83), though it DID have reruns on G4.

it was the only thing I liked watching on G4 - it's a quiz show and then a competition in which the host clearly didn't care about the games, the kids had almost no experience with them, and overall it ruled

@billy#4074 Tell me more! I‘m from the US and this is my first exposure to UK video game shows, although I’ve seen clips from GamesMaster.

Moving to the southern hemisphere, here's The Zone from Australia.

Oh man, here is one I was involved in almost 20 years ago

Video Power, which started out as one part videogame “tips” by a coked out host but mostly bookending a terrible, awful cartoon show that was like C-list Captain N. The Power Team were a supergroup of Acclaim videogame characters including a cop from Narc, a basktball player from Arch Rivals, Kwirk(?), and Bigfoot the Monster Truck.

Remembered a little more fondly is its quickly revamped format with the same geeked out host giving tips along with some Nick Arcade esque competition. The real star of the show was the winner getting to run through a mockup of a videogame store and stick as many games as they could to their velcro suit before time ran out. My absolute dream prize.

GameSpot TV - What would eventually become the much more well known X-Play.

The first episode in this playlist is their E3 1999 special. Some very 1999 stuff in here. World Championship Wrestling. Star Wars Episode I. David Bowie talking about Lara Croft.

that running through the store thing is pretty great - dude won a turbo grafx!

My OG IC avatar was a screen grab from GamePro TV hosted by occasional kids game show host JD Roth. It was a more polished version of Video Power’s first season with occasional gimmick bits where Roth would be green screened into game footage.

@LaurelSoup#4232 I was about to add this. :slight_smile: When I work on pixel art, especially something geared towards the NES, at some point I'll put on a play list of GamePro TV in the background.

A couple early ones from the UK. Thanks to this article on Vice for pointing some of them out.


[Bad Influence! ]( (1992–1996)

@willi#4070 mentioned [Bits]( earlier. Here's a big playlist of episodes. They changed the show name to [Thumb Bandits]( down the track.

This is concurrent to G4, but Game Barn on Nickelodeon GAS was a thing.

It was another videogame-centric game show with the dual gimmicks of being nominally farm themed, and that it culminated with the top players squaring off of against THE GAMINATOR.

THE GAMINATOR was billed as though he was intimidating but since he was a dude in a full motorcycle helmet, heavy gloves, and an extremely tight leather suit who got confined into a weird little pod he actually wasn't good at all and instead came across as a BDSM farm guy who was into being humiliated at Ridge Racer.

@LaurelSoup#4270 wow. this is new to me. bizarre

There was a British Saturday morning show in the late 80s called Get Fresh. Not really a show about games but I wish I could find some video of this play-by-phone Xenon segment.