Having to ask the hosts a few questions. I asked Bajo about how the show would translate to a live format, he replied "when I meet someone on the street who's a gamer. It's not just - 'hey I saw you on the telly', it's more like - 'hey, we have similar interests in an incredible entertaiment medium that's changing the way we interact with technology, stories and each other."
Whereas Hex compares Good Games: LIVE as "an evolving process, but the best comparison is 'Spicks and Specks' – but with video games. Rather than sitting down and review games on the show, Good Game: LIVE centres around gaming trivia, and a lot of hilarious shenanigans from our guest comedian gamers. It's chaotic and a whole lot of fun."
Like the TV shows namesake, Good Game: Live is a quiz show for gamers by gamers with an added hilarious interactive trivia night to discover Australia's most knowledgeable gamer.
Good Game Live
As a bystander to the gaming world, over the years, I have seen storylines, graphics and the complexity of video games evolve at an astonishing pace since the days of the early consoles. I asked the hosts Hex, Bajo and Goose, as reviewers of new games, if there was an old time favourite such as pacman that they still play?
Hex exclaims "There's absolutely a place for arcade games! When you look at the most successful phone or tablet games, many of them still follow an arcade formula. The best thing about video games is that they're so wonderfully diverse in the experiences they offer. You can get involved in some complex narrative game with a 40-hour campaign and moral choices about the fate of humanity and an epic world to explore... or you can play 'doodle jump' for a few minutes while you're waiting for the bus. It's awesome."
Bajo reveals that he doesn't mind a bit of Sonic the Hedgehog or Mario. He says "Those games still play so well, even today, which is why they are two of the greats. Recently, I've been getting back into a bit of counter strike, which is over 10 years old. In fact, I'm playing counterstrike with people online, who were not alive when I first played counter strike."
I asked Bajo if gaming was the equivalent to a good book. His reply relayed that there are so many different types of games, that it is hard to compare them to other mediums. "Something like zombie survival of The Last of US, equates to say, a really stressful Box set of a good season of The Walking Dead. Something like the Dragon Age and Mass Effect series, span multiple games and have huge complex storylines. In these games, the choices you make, do matter. You're forced to choose between, a party member of your team going to jail or dying, or even an entire civilisation perishing at your own actions. This draws you close to those characters, as you have a stake in their outcomes. It's hard to put down a game like that. When it comes to bad games, it's hard to finish them. It's hard enough finishing good games, when we are so spoilt for choice! Most people dont finish their games, good or bad."
Hex states, "The thing that sets games apart as a narrative medium, however – is player interaction. Especially games that include an element of narrative choice. Imagine your favourite story from your favourite book. Only - you control the decisions the protagonist makes, and those decisions bear weight on the outcome of that story. Like in film or literature – it hangs on the writing. If the story is cliché or prosaic – you're less invested the character and less motivated to see it through to the end. Game mechanics also play a major part. A game can have the best story in the world, but if the controls are awkward or it's badly-designed, it comes a chore."
As a mother with kids, I asked when would they introduce gaming consoles for kids under the age of 5. Bajo says to "start off with tablet games. The intuitive interface of IOS and Android tablets is easy for them to understand. There's lots of fantastic games on all the consoles for kids. And PC's have even more games, every day, and works fine with controllers too. PC's also are multifunctional of course and will no doubt be a big part of their life soon enough, if they aren't already."
Hex believes in "no 'right age' to introduce games to kids and moderation, regardless of how old you are. "There are some great learning and development games on tablets that are great for toddlers. In terms of which console – this is trickier, because I would want to advise something with longevity."
Hex recommends "The Nintendo Wii U is a great console for younger gamers, as it has things like the iconic Mario series and all its spin-offs, the more recent Splatoon which has been a huge hit, and lots of family-friendly games like Pikmin. That said, it has fewer options for online play – and despite the perception that games are a very 'anti-social activity' – kids want to play online with their friends. There is also the chance they will grow out of this console fairly quickly – particularly since the last console generation spanned roughly 8 years before new models were introduced. So if you only want to purchase one console - you may want to go for one of the more versatile systems the spans a broader age-group. These consoles also have parental lock settings to help you ensure your kids only play games that are rated appropriately. Also, THE superstar game that just about every kid is obsessed with these days: Minecraft - is only available on PC, and Microsoft and Sony consoles – so that may well be the deal-breaker."
My last question for the hosts, was in regard to next frontier for video gaming and where would you like to see the industry progress from here?
Hex said that she saw a lot of Virtual Reality devices at the recent Electronic Entertainment Expo in LA this year, But doesn't think we're quite there, yet. "The technology isn't advanced enough, and it feels claustrophobic. For me, those ever-evolving aspects of narrative choice in the more cinematic games are what I find truly exciting. The conversations they generate afterwards as you discuss the events of your play-through with your friends. Those kinds of experiences transport me completely, and that's the kind of escapism I crave from a video game. It's a genre that's always growing and advancing so quickly – which is why it's such an exciting world to be a part of. It's thrilling! I just love it."
Bajo believes the biggest issues facing games right now is the lack of female protagonists in games, and female developers in the industry as well. "This has a ripple effect through game stories, the types of games that exist, and how the people picking up the controller feel at the end of the day. This is changing slowly, in fact this year at E3 (the biggest annual western gaming convention) there was more gender balance than ever before. But it's a still a big problem. Video game writing and stories also are lagging behind everything else."
Bajo raised that its not for about the lack of trying, "It's because making games is really hard. Hundreds of people, years of work , and the job is far from done when the game is released to the public. it's hard to explain how hard it is even to make a bad game, let alone a great one."
Bajo speaks as a critic from what he sees. "The developers who are pouring their hearts and souls into this incredible evolving entertainment medium are modern day digital heroes. In a 100 years, we'll look back on what they started, and praise these pioneering gods of gaming, who brought us all so much joy, in our short silly lives. I'm also excited about virtual reality, which is less than a year away from being in our homes and being kind of decent."
The live team will also be joined by comedy music genius trio TRIPOD.
Other guest include Andrew Hansen (Chaser's War On Everything), James Reese (Jimmy Giggle) and Good Game regulars Michael Hing aka: Hingers, Nich Richardson aka: Nichboy with more to be announced.
To go into the draw to win 1 of 2 family passes, all you have to do is send an email titled 'Good Game' to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know in 25 words or less why you want to see Good Game: Live at Enmore Theatre.
2 lucky winners will be drawn on the 24th of August and the tickets will be available for pick up at the venue on the event night.