We really don’t have enough coverage of gaming on our television screens right now. At one point, we had Lucy Longhurst and her flat-screen CGI robot providing us with the latest news surrounding the industry and upcoming titles, but that changed when one of the SABC members in charge of programming realized that people were actually enjoying the show, and they just couldn’t have any of that, could they?
So when we get a gaming show, we flock to it. There’s not much on offer, but at least DSTV has a few syndicated shows from the UK, as well as The Verge. But lately, those shows have begun to feel vacuous and a tad gimmicky, while the recent coverage of the rAge event by our only local show was frankly insulting, with presenter Lalla running around the Dome.
While we understand that The Verge uses eye-candy to lure in more viewers, its a slap in the face when said presenter runs around the Coca-Cola Dome being ill-prepared and asking inane and insulting questions. The YouTube page for that video has since been removed, most likely due to the overwhelmingly negative comments.(Update, we got a new link)
But watching that clip has just highlighted a growing trend in gaming TV journalism, and it’s not a positive one.
We’re gamers, and to be honest, the majority of us don’t care who presents a show. We want the facts man. Show us a glossy high definition trailer instead, give us a decent interview with the developers of an upcoming game or lets get a few reviews rolling. But instead, we have to sit through asinine presenters who think that having a pretty smile and a big chest is all that is necessary to to inform their viewers.
We’re not innocent of that either here at Lazygamer, what with our daily In Other News section that ends a day off. But the site isn’t built around that. It’s a complement, not a driving feature, because games will always come first here.
Now this clip from The Verge, in the long run, it’s not going to have much of an effect with general public who watch it. But for those of us who are really passionate about games, its both sad and aggravating. Us gamers have been struggling for a long time to build up a decent reputation about ourselves and the gaming industry.
Its an industry that has begun to eclipse the billion dollar machinations of Hollywood, and yet gamers are still regarded as anti-social virgins that spend all day on murder-simulators, waiting to snap and go on a killing spree. We all know that’s not true, but that’s unfortunately how we’re perceived in the eyes of the general public.
If I tell someone that I write about gaming for a living, they still get that look in their eyes, and ask me, “You mean Tee-Vee games?”. And this is where the television industry also needs to make some changes to the gaming show platform. Sure, a shiny smile and a tight tank-top is going to attract a crowd of prepubescent kids to the show, but the majority of gamers have also grown up lately, in case anyone had noticed.
And that’s another problem with the whole format of the genre lately. Its not about games, its all about the presenter. We get less info about the topic at hand, and have to sit through presenters who are more interested in showing off themselves than they are about doing their job. Sure, we joke around about ourselves here on Lazygamer from time to time, but we never lose sight of the fact that its got be about the game first, and attractive ladies second.
But as long as we have shows that try and cater to a certain group within a demographic, that’s how the general public is going to perceive us as well.
We’re not just a bunch of kids anymore that hang around downstairs and ignore Vitamin D. We’re adults, with jobs, lives and families. We’re mature people with the same responsibilities that our parents had at the same age.
The sad thing, this format is not going to change any time soon, no matter how much a website writer begs and threatens. But at the same time, that’s a good thing. We’ve got plenty of gold cropping up on the internet that deals with gaming.
Like retro games? Then try out a few episodes of the foul-mouthed Angry Video Game Nerd. Need to watch a review in a jiffy? Then how about Zero Punctuation? Its a gold mine of relevant shows on the internet, and thanks to an abundance of it, that means that competition is tight and that these shows have to constantly perfect and improve upon their formulas and premises.
And that’s where we come in. Television isn’t going to change it attitude towards gamers any time soon, so why should we continue to support it? I say to hell with that already. I’m sick of being labelled as a ticking time-bomb that plays too many cop-killer games, or as a miscreant with the verbal skills of a potted fern. I consider myself a decent guy, and the majority of gamers that I know, are a bunch of unique, and awesome lads and ladies.
And changing an attitude towards gamers isn’t going to happen over night. Chances are, older people are still going to mutter under their dying breaths, “I blame that dern Holler of duty vidjeo game”, before they shuffle off to the afterlife.
But it’s not too late for us at least, to educate the younger generation on what to actually look out for, what to support and what to ignore. And the sooner that a TV executive notices that his declining erection is due to the lack of viewers his generic gaming show is bringing in, the better.
So the next time you get asked for advice on games that a younger gamer wants to know about, steer him or her away from the boob tube. Plonk the little gamer in front of a monitor, open your tabs and show them your favourite gaming site or reviewer. These are the guys that deserve your attention, hardworking guys and ladies who care about games just as much as you do, and less about fame and glory.
Last Updated: October 18, 2011