Of all the things 2021 threw at me, the one that was least expected was a reboot of cult ‘90s TV classic, GamesMaster.
This was a reboot that was about to screw with my rose-tinted childhood memories, and I went in worried. I worried because I badly wanted it to be amazing. I worried because I fully expected it to be a bit shit.
I mean they were going in without Scotland’s elf of innuendo, Dominik Diamond at the helm for a kick-off. Like, what the fuck! No Dom, no dice sunshine.
But, when it began to beam into my living room towards the end of November, I was duly sat deep in my sofa like an expectant kid wholly expecting a kick to the golden balls of my youth. Whilst managing to also cling to a thin sliver of hope that it might just get it right.
And then it began.
And instantly, I was in love. That sort of thunderbolt from the heavens love. Cupid’s frag detonating right on my noggin, love. This was good, no, no…this was wonderful.
Three instantly lovable hosts in Robert ‘Rab’ Florence, Frankie Ward and Ty Logan had immediate presence and chemistry. I had forgotten about that Dom fella (I hadn’t, but I wasn’t thinking about him). Sir Trevor McDonald as the flippin’ GamesMaster carrying the role like he was born to play it and should have binned news reading long before he did!
Weird and wonderful guests rolled out for the brilliantly conceived challenges and the promise of a golden joystick, or a brilliantly comical plunge to the abyss. And the utterly piss funny ‘Educating Grado’ section where Rab educates his beautifully deadpan mate about video game stuff and I just wish I had a mate like Grado. This was a goddamned triumph in every sense!
Not only had revamped GamesMaster fully embraced the spirit of the original, but it had also managed to do it without feeling like a cheap market knock-off. Not only had it re-ignited my lost love for the show like it was carrying a bastard flamethrower, but it had also found a new audience. My kids joined me for all three of its shows, and their initial uncertainty gave way to excitement at the thought of another outing of gaming magic the following Wednesday.
The challenges were wonderful. The audience in the studio felt like a blend of young guns and proper crusty old folk with whom I could totally relate.
‘Hey kids, we were there when this thing was cool. When Dominik Diamond was like Johnny ‘fuckin’ Rotten blowing the roof off the Lesser Free Trade Hall…sort of,’ we’d say.
‘But, it’s cool now,’ the kids would reply.
We’d mull it over. Watch Rab, Frankie and Ty doing their thing. Feel the wit cut the air. Catch the camaraderie spilling from the screen. Taste the nostalgia on our tongues. Sweet. Then we’d nod, ‘Good point.’
The thing is, I have always lamented the loss of this show.
I often wished for a revamp, but when it came, I was doubtful it could recapture the spark. I needn’t have worried. The spark is alive and kicking hard. GamesMaster was at its brilliant best. This was a glorious return that now leaves me in a bittersweet place. Because no sooner had it returned, than it was gone again.
Three shows! Three! Seriously! Adam Sandler is still making comedy films, season one of EastEnders is currently like 800 episodes long, and Mrs Brown’s Boys exists in my current reality. But GamesMaster gives me three episodes. This isn’t a magic number, this is a shitty fucking number!
I can only hope that there is a legion of fans such as myself who fell head over heels again and a whole new legion who ‘got it,’ Together we can push for a recommission. Or we can riot. Or maybe write a strongly worded letter. Or just stew in our own slippers. We’ll sort the logistics out later.
The point is, I loved the return of this gaming goliath, but I already miss it. And that, stings.