Gamesmaster: The greatest videogame TV show ever made!

The year is 1992 and I’m a teenage boy who spends way too much time playing videogames on my Commodore Amiga 500 and Super Nintendo. At the time, I didn’t watch much TV; with only 4 channels to view and with numerous games at my disposal, I had little use for the latest episode of Baywatch, no matter how much I adored Erika Eleniak.

But then things changed. British broadcaster Channel 4 hit upon the idea to put gaming on TV in a format familiar to the people playing the games – the magazine show. Each week, the host Dominik Diammond, would present a series of gaming challenges, reviews, tips & cheats and a feature, all in a half-hour episode. To give the show more gravitas they hired the venerable Sir Patrick Moore to act as the titular “Gamesmaster”, a character who was part man, part machine. The show also featured celebrities each week who were often terrible at the games they tried to play.

This new show immediately peaked my interest and I watched every week for the 7 seasons that the show aired, right through to 1998. Years later, I still think of Gamesmaster, and ponder what the show might look like if it were made today. Judging by the first episode (below), probably not much different. Super Mario Bros. 3 would be replaced with New Super Mario Bros. Wii U, the soccer game of choice would now be the latest FIFA iteration and it shouldn’t be too hard to replace Mad Dog McCree with the latest arcade shooter! And of course, Nintendo still dominate with handhelds so the feature about modding the Gameboy is easily transposed to use the 3DS.

For me, Gamesmaster was a classic show, and now I’ve rediscovered it on YouTube, I’ll be re-watching it like the teenager that I once was!

Hayden Yale

Child of the 80's. Born, raised and living in the Cheshire countryside, England.Lover of fan art, especially if it is based on my childhood heroes from Masters of the Universe, Thundercats, Transformers and TMNT. Penchant for almost anything retro, especially movies, games and art.

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5 thoughts on “Gamesmaster: The greatest videogame TV show ever made!

  1. What a great show!
    And what a weird coincidence- just the other day I stumbled upon a similar show from England called KNIGHTMARE which I am currently obsessed about!
    Any chance that you, Hayden the Retroist’s British Retro Correspondent, will write a post about that show too?

  2. Knightmare was/is an awesome show, RetroArt, and YES, I will be posting something about it in the future. Unlike Gamesmaster, which was created for an older audience, Knightmare was an after-school show which made great use of truly staggering (for the time) computer graphics.

    Damn, now I need to go watch some kids traverse a dungeon…

  3. I know what you mean, Hayden. I’ve been compulsively watching eps of KNIGHTMARE since yesterday- amazingly done for it’s time.
    Now that GAMESMASTER is on my radar too- my cup runneth over!
    Thanks again for letting us know about this great British show.

  4. Legendary show, Hayden! Dominik Diamond was the perfect host. Hilarious and totally irreverent. And it was such a coup to have Patrick Moore as the GamesMaster too. Awesome stuff.

    My abiding memory has to be the famous argument between Dave Perry and Dominik Diamond which you can see in this clip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEFr6ACZ8sI.

    The full story can be read here – http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2013-06-04-gamesmaster-the-inside-story

    And I’m very much looking forward to your review of Knightmare too! Incredible show. Did you know they’ve been doing some live action Knightmare shows around the UK? http://www.knightmarelive.com/

  5. Thanks Retromash for the reminder about the Super Mario 64 incident with Dave Perry. I recall watching that at the time and wondering why Perry was such a sore loser. I had forgotten about the format change to include scantily clad ladies handing out those trophies – incentive enough to keep watching the show on Youtube :) Who’d have though a gaming show would use sex to sell the show…

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