VideoGaiden – the return of video gaming’s greatest TV show


Shieldinch seems like a regular Glasgow suburb, albeit an upscale one. An art-deco Italian cafe nestles the most attractive tenement houses, with a Subway station and a conventional boozer mere paces away. However, these days, the streets are eerily abandoned and no longer just due to the heavy rain – it’s because Shieldinch doesn’t simply exist.

This is certainly the exterior set of BBC Scotland’s soap opera River Metropolis, a mini model of Glasgow in Dumbarton, 20 miles from the City. While the lengthy-running soap is on a manufacturing wreck, Shieldinch has been invaded by guerrilla movie-makers: Robert “Rab” Florence, Ryan Macleod, and a 3-guy digital camera team. Sporting garish hats and intentionally radiating the hyperactive electricity of youngsters’ TV presenters, Florence and Macleod are capering out of doors of the Oyster Cafe, turning in a chunk to digicam at a remarkably high extent Media Focus.

The pair are capturing the extraordinarily belated fourth season of VideoGaiden, the cult BBC video gameshow that in the beginning wrapped up in 2008. At the same time, it is the likes of GamesMaster and Awful Influence! Introduced gaming way of life to the mainstream in the Nineteen Nineties and early 2000s, VideoGaiden changed into their extra anarchic counterpoint, blending comedy sketches and critiques with satirical jibes on the industry and its vanities – regularly to coruscating impact.

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The VideoGaiden team on the set of River Metropolis. Picture: Graeme Distinctive feature
After finishing their outside shots in the icy drizzle, the group hustles into one of the tenements that, in conventional film-set style, is an unsettlingly bare wood shell. While the following shot is being set up, and with their breath visible earlier than them, Florence and Macleod contemplate their go back. Although it seemed not going for several years, with lifestyle’s cutting-edge mania for reboots – from The X-Files to a Baywatch film to the countless remastering of conventional video games – there’s all of sudden no reason why VideoGaiden couldn’t come again. However, why did they think it needed to?


“For the reason that ultimate time, the entirety has modified in phrases of how video games are protected,” says Florence. “So, I assume it’s quite interesting for two old guys to do it. It’s exceptional to nevertheless love games. However, be capable of looking at them a piece differently.” Macleod concurs. “It makes us sound like vintage bores, But we have seen many of these items earlier,” he says.

Within the eight years given collection three, Florence has maintained his reputation as a prolific comedy author and performer with the BBC sketch show Burnistoun, as well as staging wrestling promotions and his own intermittent stay gaming occasions. Macleod has been working backstage in TV and video manufacturing, Evenunching his resourceful gaming collection, Chuckie Dregs. Unlike maximum troupes who reform, the two – now in their past due 30s – appear in higher form than they did eight years ago after they have been commando-rolling around BBC Scotland’s Pacific Quay headquarters wearing black fight vests and Frank Spencer berets. They openly admit to being healthier and happier.

Changed in 2004 when Florence and Macleod caught the BBC’s attention after creating their own internet-primarily based homebrew gaming display, Consolevania. Regardless of its DIY nature, the collection was humorous and bold and featured an eclectic soundtrack. In spirit, it felt like a part of that continuum of offbeat United Kingdom video games coverage that stretches returned to irreverent print mags, which include Your Sinclair and Teletext’s gaming godhead Mr Biffo – But it was additionally a prescient ancestor of the DIY approach fostered on YouTube. “Consolevania was almost pre-internet,” says Florence, recalling sending out the primary episode to lovers on CDs, like a fanzine. While Consolevania morphed into VideoGaiden, performing on BBC Scotland and online, it remained chaotic, self-conscious, and, crucially, funny.

An assessment of Guitar Hero became intercut with a shot-for-shot remake of a scene from the 1980s cult traditional Highlander. The nagging hassle of being over-weighted with equipment within the Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion becomes an ongoing farce of throwing boots onto roofs. A liked Christmas special featured appearances from GamesMaster’s Dominik Diamond and past due musical absurdist Frank Sidebottom. Cult Scottish comic Limmy popped up as airhead blowhard “Zack Eastwood”. The general tone was mischievous, though the assessment segments could be intensely private, even confessional.


Considered from a distance of virtually a decade, VideoGaiden appears ahead of its time, something you could imagine doping up on cult US comedy channel Grownup Swim among screenings of Too Many Chefs. “I assume the principal Influence on us back then became 4Later,” says Florence. “That became again While Channel 4 made interesting television tube. Even the no longer-excellent stuff became interesting, The Word and things like that.” He mentions Channel Four’s NY Cable, the overdue-night Laurie Pike-hosted show off of New York public-access Television, an avalanche of oddball Wayne’s International-fashion weirdness. “Everybody ought to make a TV show, and that they had been doing something they desired,” says Florence. “There has been no shape, no policies. That was inspiring.”

Suppose VideoGaiden becomes an outlier eight years in the past. In that case, it’d also experience a touch out of step in 2016, a time When game enthusiasts can dodge traditional mediators by tuning in to stay Twitch streams. While no TV channel appears interested in launching a mass-marketplace games show, the vacuum has been crammed – possibly overfilled – using online gaming video content. “All of us’s setting out so much stuff now,” says Macleod. “Gaming websites that do video have to churn out steady content. For us, it’s a real luxury to know that we do not need to try this. We have extra time to put some idea and consideration into our actions.”

Do they do an awful lot of Twitch viewing themselves? “Strictly Dark Souls best,” says Macleod. “For a few purposes, looking humans play Darkish Souls is charming.”


Neither are eager at the slick, hyper-caffeinated style that seems to dominate gaming films. “We’re making a factor of creating a laugh of that sort of stuff,” says Florence. “The quick slicing and slamming sound consequences, that commonplace grammar of how to gift video games …” Macleod shakes his head. “I don’t even know wherein that comes from, that manner of speakme approximately games,” he says. “There’s just this experience of ‘something you do, don’t take it significantly.'”

After suddenly pronouncing series four on New Year’s Eve, Florence and Macleod were Periscoping early production meetings and deliberately misspelling “one of a kind” of their social-media hype campaign. Six chew-length shows will appear online weekly before a “right” half-hour Television program appears on BBC Scotland and iPlayer in April. A preview screening of the first episode at the Glasgow Film Festival drew an enthusiastic response from an admittedly partisan crowd. As well as reflecting on what it wants to develop up immersed in games, VideoGaiden season 4 also appears to be a surprisingly considerate and bleak meditation on aging occasionally. One assessment segment, untangling the mysteries of Jonathan Blow’s The Witness through the medium of a kettle jug in a draughty warehouse, echoes the profundity and self-seriousness of an early David Blaine phantasm, an impression bolstered via an unscripted But weirdly Matrix-like cameo using a cat.

The capturing timetable is excessive. However, there’s no shortage of Ambition. A brand new boardgames section has been filmed in uninterrupted takes, stimulated using the Oscar-winner Birdman. Graham Russell, VideoGaiden’s veteran director and producer, raves about the new opportunities for visible outcomes. And the pair’s scripts are whatever. But boilerplate – in the show’s fiction, duplicate versions of Florence and Macleod are trapped inside a gaming purgatory, cursed to view their exchange lives without end While being tortured through the vengeful spirits of games beyond. It’s one million miles away from gaming Television antiques.

What makes series 4 of VideoGaiden a fascinating proposition is the reality that it isn’t just the resumption of professional dating But also a personal one. Florence and Macleod had any such main fallout on giving up the remaining collection they hadn’t spoken about or maybe been inside the identical room for the past eight years.

“When w, when the remaining collection, I don’t think either folks of the ad been mentally in a terrific location,” says Florence. Macleod has the same opinion. “I used to be inebriated,” he says. Florence butts in: “And I used to be crazy.” They both laugh a bit nervously. “I suppose we’re each in a much higher place, and that’s interesting in itself,” says Florence. “We’ve no longer sat down and had major talks about something; we’ve just long past returned to paintings, and it has clicked. However, I’d tell people to watch the show if they have questions. Due to the fact, we do tackle that inside the first episode.” looking from in the back of a boom as they run lines and frolic in front of the camera, it’s clear that the gnarly chemistry continues to be there: Florence is an active ball of panto braggadocio At the same time as Macleod channels the dazed spirit of Stan Laurel.


VideoGaiden is shooting to a good price range; however, running underneath the purview of the BBC does afford some blessings above and past gatecrashing the River Metropolis set. “The coolest thing is that we sincerely don’t want to be first-rate,” says Florence. “There’s no actual stress to get visitors or subscribers. The show is getting made, it’s going out, and that’s it. We don’t ought to worry about it.”

It also relieves them of the tyranny of the discharge schedule. “We don’t need to waste our time; we simply want to speak approximately the stuff we adore,” says Macleod. Florence consents: “It’s a relief that we didn’t want to try to consider funny stuff to say about Assassin’s Creed.”

In an ocean of gaming content material, welcoming something a little exceptional is only a comfort. At the latest VideoGaiden outline assembly, there was a dialogue about whether to spotlight Rainbow Six: Siege or the ultra-modern installment of the excessive strategy RPG collection Nobunaga’s Ambition. “Considered one of them could be forgotten in some months and Certainly one of them no one’s speaking approximately,” says Florence. At the quit of the assembly, the choice was unanimous: they would ask visitors for their thoughts on Siege. However, VideoGaiden itself would go massive on Ambition. No longer for the primary time.

Carol P. Middleton
Student. Alcohol ninja. Entrepreneur. Professional travel enthusiast. Zombie fan. Practiced in the art of donating rocking horses for the underprivileged. Crossed the country researching hula hoops in Deltona, FL. Won several awards for supervising the production of etch-a-sketches in Nigeria. Uniquely-equipped for investing in bathtub gin in the financial sector. Spent a year building g.i. joes worldwide. Earned praise for deploying childrens books in Africa.