Review – Good Game
Good Game – ABC2 – 8:30pm Monday – AUS
It would seem that in the world of game criticism everybody has to go by their handle rather than their real name. This always leaves me with this sense that I’m at a LAN party in year ten with NAS and Comrade and DJ Maverick, who used to be Dr. Maverick before he traded his medical certificate in for a set of turntables. So seeing as though we’re going to be discussing game review series Good Game I’d ask that you please refer to me as Zeeb. Now let’s play some Half-Life deathmatch… people still play the original Half-Life right? … and deathmatchs? They’re still a thing right?…
Welcome to Good Game, I’m Zeeb and this is the self-described show for gamers by gamers, as opposed to that show for geologists by equestrian enthusiasts. Appearing every Monday night on digital channel ABC2, Good Game is hosted by Bajo and Hex who bring us news, reviews and features straight from a set that looks rejected from CheeseTV. As is expected from game reviewers Hex and Bajo bounce about delivering sometimes funny, sometimes forced, commentary on the world of gaming.
Good Game stirred up a firestorm of controversy last year, or at least as much controversy as a low budget digital show can stir up, when previous presenter Junglist was dumped in favour of attractive female entity Hex. As a man with the name Junglist is want to do he took to the internet to decry his ouster as being the result of ABC2 searching for ‘mass appeal’ by hiring a lady person. In preparation for this review I also took the time to dive onto the internet and rustle up some old reviews from back in the Junglist days to see if he really was dumped in a desperate bid for ‘mass appeal’.
There’s no real reason to beat up on a guy who lost his job but after catching a half dozen of his reviews you can’t help feeling that somebody with ‘mass appeal’ was just another way of saying somebody who’s ‘more talented.’ While Bajo always appeared enthusiastic and aware that he was on television, Junglist sat there half asleep, reading his lines in that strange Australian/American/Gamer weird hybrid accent you can’t quite place your finger on. A friend of mine pointed out that while Jung and Baj both wear the same t-shirt Junglist has this unique ability to make it seem as though he’s been wearing the thing all week. If trading a grumpy, unshaven ‘typical gamer’ for somebody who seems aware how to change their mood setting from ‘dour’ then that’s the price we as the viewers have to pay.
As for Hex and Bajo, the chemistry between the pair isn’t at a Margaret and David level yet, but give them another thirty years together and they’ll work it out. They both feel like they’re occasionally reading, and Bajo sometimes hams it up so much he comes across as though he’s auditioning for a kids afternoon program. They do, however, bounce off each other better than Bajo and Junglist did. Good Game also features reports from Ajax, and a variety of rotating reporters over the years, this part felt the most hit and miss segment of the whole show. A clip I found on YouTube from Good Game on ‘Why Gamers Cheat’ was better than the segment in the episode I caught about gaming equipment being stolen; which was too silly to be worth paying much attention to. The handy tip I learnt: ‘lock games systems in cupboards because they’re worth money’ didn’t really warrant a special report.
My intake of game reviews these days tend to come from Yahtzee and Zero Punctuation but seeing as though Yahtzee can’t muster up the talent to be both funny AND positive it’s good to see Good Game actually enjoy a game for once. If Yahtzee is to believed the gaming industry has produced nothing but shit for the last five years, oh, and Portal. So despite being lumped with no budget and a sense of humour that occasionally feels forced, Good Game makes for a refreshing addition to the game criticism conversation. As long as Charlie Brooker’s Gameswipe remains a one off special Good Game is the best television based gaming alternative out there. This is Zeeb signing off!
Good, Alright, Bad Or Ugly?