It was so popular last year that we decided to do it again! Join us this holiday season as we introduce you to twelve of our favourite podcasts in the 12 Days of Podmas.
On 7th January 1992, Channel 4 aired the pilot episode for what would become one of the UK’s biggest and best TV shows dedicated to video games: Gamesmaster. In fact, it was the first show in the UK dedicated to the pastime. Hosted by Dominik Diamond (bar the third series when Dexter Fletcher was host), there were video challenges, reviews, news and cheats given to a young-to-teenage audience. All framed around advice and challenges given by The Gamesmaster – which was Sir Patrick Moore surrounded by all sorts of CGI.
It became a cult classic, and not just because of the games. Diamond possessed an acidic wit and a firm hard grasp of the innuendo. So naturally a podcast covering the series was bound to turn up at some point.
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In Under Consoletation, hosts Luke Owen and Ash Versus, and the occasional guest, go through each episode in detail, talking about the guests and the games, providing a wider context in the world at that point. They give a bit of background on the games and suggest why they have been picked as well. In fact, some of the deviations get quite thorough. The opening episode of the third series saw Luke and Ash talk to Daniel Pesina, who was the motion capture actor for the Mortal Kombat characters Johnny Cage, Sub Zero and Scorpion.
Another strength of the podcast is that Luke and Ash don’t go and tear it to pieces, they look back on it fondly, and – aside from a few unrelated tangents on The Simpsons tie-in games where repressed rage is aimed – it’s all quite nice. It’s all too easy to start mocking and taking the mick out of the challengers and mistakes that are made, but there is a very strong policy the podcast has on not “punching down” on the children that appear on the show. Some of the celebrities are fair game, but they treat young challengers with respect and appreciate how nervous some may be.
There’s an expansion on the premise as well, with patreon subscribers getting episodes focused on The Crystal Maze, Knightmare and Gamesworld. There’s an episode about the first issue of the Gamesmaster magazine thrown in for good measure. A Dscord server also provides a growing community where Luke and Ash interact with listeners and do a bit of the ol’ nostalgia.
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On the cusp of the video games industry moving away from being a lazy hobby “for boys”, before gaming became cool and something everything did, Gamesmaster was in that sweet spot before YouTube, before Twitch and before Google. Under Consoletation will either take you back or introduce you to a time when video games were the underground, misunderstood niche culture that was ready to change the world of entertainment forever.