Tonight on BBC4: Charlie Brooker’s Gameswipe

Tuesday, 29th September 2009 20:33 GMT By Stephany Nunneley


Tonight on BBC Four, Charlie Brooker’s chatting about videogames.

During the segment, he’s to look at “the various genres, how they have changed since their early conception and how the media represents games and gamers.”

The show will also feature interviews with Dara O’Briain, sitcom writer Graham Linehan (Father Ted) and Rab and Ryan from Consolevania.

It’s on at 10:00pm.

More through here.



  1. freedoms_stain

    Are Shoot em ups ever called “Shmups” for short?

    Program losing credibility…

    #1 5 years ago
  2. freedoms_stain

    And Dara O’Briain sucks at Gears of War, and GTA IV…

    #2 5 years ago
  3. rainer

    It was actually quite good if you like Charlie Brooker’s stuff, but it could have done without the new wolfenstein review & highlighted a few more treasures of gaming like Thief, Psychonauts etc.

    There was even a dopefish in the background when myleene klass got pushed in the river.

    Is this a one off or are there more in the works ?

    #3 5 years ago
  4. No_PUDding

    freedoms stains… Yeah… A lot.

    #4 5 years ago
  5. Blerk

    Schmup is a regularly used word for some. It’s a stupid, ridiculous, made-up word which makes me cringe every time I hear it, but there are people who really do say it. Rubbish people. :-D

    I’ve recorded this. Might watch it later.

    #5 5 years ago
  6. No_PUDding

    I will iPlayer it for sure. For now UC2 MP xD


    #6 5 years ago
  7. phatb0y

    Was that show supposed to be aimed at gamers? Or was it just an apologist piece for the uneducated/Daily Mail crowd?

    I used to like Brooker’s stuff a lot, but hes just becoming a rent-a-rant, and God knows gaming journalism has enough of those parasitic cunts already.

    If it had followed the format of Screenwipe and actually given some insight alongside the schoolyard giggling and pointing I’d have given the show some credit. As it stands, there was nothing there you wouldn’t find on numerous LiveJournal or YouTube accounts. With the exception of a z-list celeb who is shit at games.

    I mean come on, he took the 50 Cent game literally for fucks sake.

    Yup. What we really need on TV is more po-faced navel gazing about an industry that already takes its self way too seriously.

    #7 5 years ago
  8. freedoms_stain

    Dara O’Briain hosts one of the most popular comedy shows on British tv at the moment, not exactly z-list.

    Plus I’ve seen his stand-up show and he’s hilarious.

    #8 5 years ago
  9. lilmoesch

    Just a quick registration in order to tell ‘phatboy’ that he is a total and utter cunt himself..

    “s it stands, there was nothing there you wouldn’t find on numerous LiveJournal or YouTube accounts” sounds like a great experience for the nation well done you fucking ignorant moron. Die

    #9 5 years ago
  10. lilmoesch

    what a prick!

    #10 5 years ago
  11. No_PUDding

    Chill. I Want to work for BBC and create a documentary on gaming as a medium. Why hasn’t it happened yet?

    I don’t like Charlie Brooker anyway, but I’ll iPlayer it later…. Tomorrow

    #11 5 years ago
  12. Johnny Cullen

    I watched the last five minutes of the repeat on BBC Four just now. It looked alright, although that Beatles: Rock Band bit was just plain simply shit.


    #12 5 years ago
  13. rrod360lol

    Good to see some opinions I share get a rare viewing :

    Liked O’Briain’s stuff about how it’s 2009 and we’re still doing stuff 3 times ? Fuck that shit.

    Also liked someone (i.e. Charlie) pointing out how nasty and joyless stuff like CoD5 and Bioshock were. Never got mentioned in any reviews I read.

    Always great to see the video gaiden boys back on the box too…

    #13 5 years ago
  14. revolting

    His review of the first Command & Conquer was the first PC game review I read, I think, and his review of Carmageddon is one the more memorable reviews I’ve ever seen. 15 years ago, back in the golden era of PC Zone, Charlie Brooker was my favourite game reviewer hands down. He didn’t have time for the namby-pamby publisher cock-sucking that a lot of reviewers thrived on long before before being brutally honest became hip and cool. He was already bitter and ranty about game decades ago, but was ranty because he liked a good game, and in his book, a game was good because he enjoyed it, not because the marketing men told him it was the next big wonderful thing. He was Zero Punctuation before Yahtzee hit puberty. I found it quite a let down when he moved on from PC Zone to burrow his way into the larger media monster, although, all was forgiven with Dead Set, and You Have Been Watching was vaguely entertaining, too.

    I just iplayered Gameswipe. It was alright, if a bit generalised for the sake of the mass audience, if such a thing exists for BBC4 at 10 in the evening. In my opninion, Brooker would be the right man to do a much more in depth serialised version of that kind of thing, but I doubt it would get picked up, especially not by the Beeb. Two and a half decades on, gamers, whether they be todays teens or grumpy old men, are still the barely tolerated naughty child of the BBC world.

    #14 5 years ago
  15. revolting

    Also, Dara’s sucking at games notwithstanding, he does raise a very good point about gamers of varying skill both paying the same ammount for a title but being granted access to different quantities of entertainment depending on their dedication and/or skill. It does suck, and it would be nice if more developers addressed that issue… the only place you really see it being actively acknowledged is in the MMO world, thinking of WoW in particular.

    #15 5 years ago
  16. Roybott

    A couple of games have started to enable people to play the whole of games without getting stuck at parts, such as Alone in the Dark which had a DVD-Chapter menu style approach.

    Does anyone know if I’m right in thinking that this was a pilot, and if it proves to be successful there will be a series?

    #16 5 years ago
  17. phatb0y


    The fact you registered to have a pop has just made my day.

    Normally the Aspergers crowd are too busy rocking in the corner to actually do something pro-active.

    Good on you for taking that first step!


    The thing that irked me the most about Dara’s little piece was that he was just plain shit. I don’t mean that in a ‘lolnoob’ way, more in a ‘unable to follow basic onscreen instructions’ sort of way and then crying about it. Hes a funny guy and whatnot, but probably not the best ambassador for gaming.

    He did raise a good point, but what can you do about it? The Nintendo hand-holding idea? Some disembodied Mario head grinning in the corner telling you to ‘Use-a the jump-a button!’? Risky. Most of the fun from games is derived from ‘beating’ them. Whether its a score, a boss, a level etc, it doesn’t matter. In fact you could argue with that a lot of games the act of ‘playing’ them isn’t as enjoyable as the feeling of accomplishment once you’ve completed them. I’m guessing we’ve all got quite a few games that never see the light of day again once the end credits roll if we were honest.

    I think the main bug in my ass over that show was probably GTA IV (the one where Dara couldn’t overtake traffic). Once again it was rolled out as the posterchild for violent videogames. Funny thing is, the random acts of violence are completely down to the individual. You are rarely rewarded for killing unarmed, defenceless citizens (unlike the ‘rampages’ of previous GTAs) and most of the time the people you’re trying to kill not only fight back, but usually fire first.

    Yes, you can play the game as a homage to Michael Ryan but a) you’ll get punished by the game for it and b) the only reward you get from it is not from the game itself but from your own personal enjoyment of mowing down a few cops and bystanders. Which says more about the individual playing it than the game itself.

    #17 5 years ago
  18. El_MUERkO

    i thought it was excellent, unfortunately having it on bbc 4 in the middle of the night on bbc 4 means it’s preaching to the converted when it seems aimed at educating the masses who know little to nothing about games

    #18 5 years ago
  19. Roybott

    @phatb0y, do you not think that Dara was maybe exaggerating things a bit in the name of comedy?

    It was not a serious editorial piece on the game industry, it was an amusing rant based comedy programme… stop taking things so seriously!

    #19 5 years ago
  20. Len

    Really good stuff, which didn’t treat the viewer like a moron for once and also made it acceptable to all those ppl who usually point and sneer. A difficult thing to do imo.

    As I said elsewhere it made me chuckle whilst bringing back some great memories.

    Can we get Tonka to sort a petition out for a series…? ;)

    #20 5 years ago
  21. phatb0y

    @Roybott I’ve no doubt he was, at least I hope so. Or else he’d probably be best jacking it in as a hobby and find something more enjoyable.

    The trouble is, when you present something like that to such a large audience (well, as large as you can get on BBC 4) people are going to take it literally. We’re not talking about a show like Brasseye where the satire is so blindingly obvious.

    Don’t get me wrong, when Charlie Brooker is on form he is way up there with the greats. I’ve been a fan of his since the PC Zone/TV Go Home days and have sung his praises on many occasion, much to the irritation of my friends. I just thought this was pretty piss poor by his standards and was just railing against obvious targets just for the sake of it.

    Comedy ranting can be good, and hes one of the best, but there was no meat on the bones of this show. If it gets made into a series it could turn out to be decent. So long as it didn’t just spend its time moaning like a ten-a-penny YouTube attention whore about how shit games are. If you don’t like them any more then don’t play ‘em.

    Like I’ve said, if it followed the same format as Screenwipe and had some genuinely informative bits in there alongside the piss taking it could be the best piece of gaming TV out there. Hes more than capable. If its a celebration of the hobby as well as a knife to the back then thats great, but if its nothing more than a rant then the internet is filled with that sort of thing already, and its usually better researched.

    #21 5 years ago
  22. freedoms_stain

    @15, I thought that’s what easy mode was for?

    #22 5 years ago
  23. Madlink

    Thought it was a pretty decent effort that provided a fair number of chuckles. Dara O’Briain’s point about the shit check-pointing in GTAIV was absolutely spot on. But yeah, he does suck at Gears.

    Graham Linehan’s comments were pretty spot on for most games too.

    Would really like to see another episode of this, but I assume it’s a one off for BBC4′s Electric Revolution season.

    #23 5 years ago
  24. SticKboy

    I absolutely adored this show – moar plz nao etc. Brooker’s a really gifted comedic journo and is well placed to be the British videogaming Lester Bangs, IMHO.

    #24 5 years ago

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