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By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on March 25, 2004   |   Episode 57 (Show Archive)  

   
WALL OF TEXT EXPLAINED: What you're looking at is an episode of Countdown w/ Defunct Games published before 2006. As you can tell, something has gone horribly awry. I won't bore you with the technical details, but it has to do with the old layout being incompatible with the new. Eventually, we would like to retrofit these old episodes of Countdown, but that will require a significant amount of time. As Defunct Games has only a limited staff, we aren't sure when we'll have the chance to fix this article. If you absolutely need to know what this article said, get a hold of us on Twitter or leave a message in the comment section below. Sorry for the inconvenience. I hope you will enjoy the episodes created post-2006.

#10 Hire some Writers! I know it's a relatively new TV channel, but how hard can it be to find people that can write good copy?? It would be one thing if it were just a few shows that had tragically poor writing, but it's every single episode of every single show on G4! Take the show Filter, for example. Shows about Top Ten lists are often hard to pull off, but it's even worse when the host looks uncomfortable just being there. Sure Diane Mizota is attractive, but you can always tell she's reading and what she's forced to say is never convincing. Is it too much to ask for just a few writers who aren't looking for the obvious laugh (boob jokes about Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball is about as subtle as a clown wedding)? The fact that you're not paying for G4 shouldn't trump the general lack of quality writing, consumers should demand something better. If this is the best writing they can come up with, I'm worried about the future of this channel. #9 Find at least Two new Advertisers Every Month! Hey, I have nothing against Pringles and I support our troops as much as the next guy . but let me tell you, I'm getting sick of just a couple sponsors that have the same ads in every commercial break. They repeat these ads so much you have to wonder if it's actually a little counter productive. After all, I've seen so many lame Pringles ads that I doubt I'll ever pop the top again . and forget about our troops, from now on I seem to only be playing as the terrorists. So here's what I recommend, how about G4's marketing department get out there and search for at least two new sponsors every month. It doesn't matter what they are, it can be female contraception for all I care . just give me something other than the sound of the Army and Pringles ads!! #8 Give your "better" shows some length! There is nothing more annoying that watching a show try to sum up 20 years worth of history into 23 minutes, but that's exactly what Icon is doing each and every week. Shigeru Miyamoto has single handedly created dozens of the most reckognizable characters in gaming, he's been at the head of some of the most revolutionary games to date, and is still going strong with titles that are set to wow us well into the future. But even he only gets 23 minutes! They could probably have taken up two or three hours of him just talking about where the characters came from, but instead they decided to simple avoid much of his career and many of his creations. If anything, that episode of Icon (like so many episodes) was done a disservice by not being longer. You'd think that a channel like G4, one with only a certain amount of weekly "new" programming, would embrace longer shows (especially when they are cheap, like Icon). Ever since it was born, G4 has been set to make sure non of their shows clock in at more than a half hour, and thus a lot of competition shows (like the Halo finals) and informative shows are turned into nothing more than watered down filler. #7 Stay away from Genre shows! I know it's tempting, but there's just no reason to have a whole show devoted to Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games! It's easy to understand why a channel like MTV would do this, since the average rap fan and average indie rock fan generally won't see eye to eye on anything . but gaming isn't that divisive. You can be an action gamer who can't wait to play Quake III, but also enjoy the story in the Final Fantasy series, or likes to throw down the gloves with the newest Mortal Kombat sequel. My point is, most gamers don't only like one or two genres of games, and it's stupid to block the shows up that way. If you were to give better coverage of a wider selections of games I think you'd find that most gamers wouldn't mind going from a preview of NFL Street to Jak III. Heck, you might even be able to reel in a few gamers who never knew they would like a game like that . which probably won't affect G4's bottom line, but would make a lot more sense than the way they're doing it now! #6 Pretend that some of your audience is older than 13! This goes back to the writing, but in general G4 treats it's viewers as if they are just learning how to play games. Certainly I understand that not every gamer is hardcore like me (and the people that read this site) . but golly gee, can't they aim a little higher? When they read letters off they always sound like their written by a young boy in his underwear just picking up a control for the first time. I'd hate to believe that everybody believes that video game players are snot nosed, freckled, 13 year old boys . especially since most of the best selling games are rated Mature. Clearly the PlayStation 2 and Xbox have taken this industry from one that was geared towards teenagers, to one that is for everybody . starting with the twenty-somethings. But if you were to watch the shows on G4 you'd think that the PlayStation 2 was the first system to be released and there is no such thing as video game nostalgia. #5 Hire Game Critics that actually PLAY the Games! There are literally tens of thousands of competent game critics around the world . so how the HELL did we end up with Victor Lucas and Tommy Tallarico?? As TV personalities these guys have energy and spunk, but when it comes down to rating games, they could not be more off base. This is a show that gave NeverWinter Nights (a game that was just about universally praised) a low score because one of them didn't like Role-Playing Games and didn't really care to play much of this one either. Or what about Metroid Prime, a game that was given the Game of the Year award by a dozen or more magazines, yet given a substandard grade because it didn't play like "most" first person shooters?? The list goes on and on. How seriously would you take a movie review where the critic walked out 10 minutes in because he hates westerns? So why are we gamers forced to listen to these to blowhards talk about games they barely played? The sooner they can hire some real gamers, the sooner we will be able to watch Judgment Day without laughing hysterically! #4 A Radio Show on TV is NEVER Cool! It's not cool when MSNBC has Don Imus doing his radio show in front of cameras, so I don't know why anybody would think it's cool when far less talented radio hosts do the same thing on G4. Hosted by the lifeless corpse of Scot Rubin (with far more interesting, but still annoying co-hosts, Tina Wood and Laura Foy), G4TV.com is a mix of call-in and write-in (via their own web forum) shows with a few interviews tossed in just for good measure. The problem is, it's horribly dull and the hosts are mindlessly annoying. They whine and cry about little things, and since it's done as a radio show (well, an internet show trying to be a radio show) it's not very interesting to look at. To make matters worse, all four episodes are recorded at once at the beginning of the month, so anything that happens between now and next month won't be accounted for on the show. I'm sure they can find something more interesting to put on TV than this radio dreck. #3 Play more Crap from the Past Yeah yeah yeah, I know what you're going to say . "but G4 already plays Starcade!" And you're right, but I hate to say it, it's cheesiness is about the best thing going for G4. Why aren't they out there bringing us the best (or maybe worst) in classic video game TV shows?? Where's that Mario TV show? And Captain N? Where's Johnny Arcade and GamePro TV?? And why haven't we seen a special presentation of the cult classic (and horribly uninteresting) movie the Wizard?? Why are we being bombarded by reviews of OLD games when we could be watching old shows of real value? Like Starcade, I can't imagine GamePro TV would cost that much, and it would single-handedly fix half of the problems I have with G4. So c'mon Comcast, what do you say? Bring us shows from the past, it worked for TV Land. #2 Quit Fixing Arena! When you watch a game show (or sporting event, for that matter), you'd like to believe that everything is on the up and up. When you learn that your favorite teams are cheating or, worse yet, conspiring for better ratings, it's taken personal by everybody who devoted their time to the hobby. G4 doesn't seem to play by the same rule book when it comes to their own show, Arena. In a lengthy, but fascinating editorial, ex-host Wil Wheaton alleged that the show was fixed and some of the teams were made up. The article expresses concern about how he was treated and how the shows were produced, which ended with him quitting. In the shows short run there have been SEVEN co-hosts, which makes you wonder if something is broken over at Arena. My suggestion is if you're going to make a game show, you sure as hell better not be lying to us or we'll never forgive you! #1 G4 Needs to Stay Up To Date! There is no reason I should turn on G4 right now, late May 2004, and see a show previewing the Getaway. For one thing it was never that good, and hey, it's well over a year old! With 150 games coming out in the next six months, I don't think we have time to look at the Getaway, or House of the Dead III, or even Auto Modellista. And it's not just in their shows, it's in the "snapshot" commercials they run between shows. Why are they still promoting that 2002 Mike Tyson game? Or that 3D Pac Man game that nobody bought? G4 has this way of replaying things that are so old you wouldn't even buy them at a yard sale for $5. Television has a reputation for its immediate nature, yet with G4 you always feel like you're the last to know about everything. If CNN worked like G4, most people still wouldn't know who the President is. With websites bringing gamers daily news and video feeds, it baffles the mind why the TV station would get it so wrong. One can only hope that the merger with TechTV will improve some of this reporting . but I just get the feeling that G4 will never be the first place you go to find out what's cool in the gaming industry. Question: Oh come on Cyril, G4 isn't THAT lame! Surely you have something good to say about it, maybe some optimism you can spare? Or do you really think it's all doom and gloom? You know, I used to think there was light at the end of the tunnel. I figured that MTV started out low budget and cheesy, there's no reason G4 can't come around sooner or later. But I think there are a lot of differences between the world now and when MTV was introduced. I feel it's not so much a question of whether or not cable can handle a technology channel, but rather which will end up doing it best. I'm sure there will be a channel that meets a lot of the criteria's I've laid out in my top ten list, but so far G4 hasn't even come close. Also, MTV did what it could with what it had to work with, which was bad equipment, silly personalities, and lots of music videos. But G4 could do better if it just improved on a few things, such as the reviews and the writing. There's simply no reason that internet video reviews on game sites should be better than a TV show dedicated to reviews, but watching Judgment Day is one of the most frustrating things you'll ever do as a gamer! G4 could showcase the games more, but I get the feeling the personalities are more interested in seeing themselves on TV and hearing the copy they wrote just moments before . which may have worked with music videos, but just can't translate with video games! I hate to say it, but no, I don't see a good outcome for G4 unless the merger brings sweeping changes. As long as they continue to turn off hard core gamers (who should be their target audience) it's going to be a long time before anybody takes G4 serious.
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