Good Game

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Good Game
Good Game logo 2014.jpg
Good Game logo, used from 2014 onwards.
Format Video game Talk show
Created by Janet Carr
Jeremy Ray
Presented by Steven O'Donnell (2007-present)
Stephanie Bendixsen (2009–present)
Jeremy Ray (2006–2009)
Michael Makowski (2006)
Country of origin Australia
Original language(s) English
No. of series 10
No. of episodes 295 (as of 30 March 2014)
Production
Executive producer(s) Janet Carr
Producer(s) Janet Carr
Ben Shackleford
Lin Jie Kong
Location(s) New South Wales, Australia
Running time 30 minutes
40 minutes (specials)
60 minutes (season finals)[a]
Broadcast
Original channel ABC (2006–2007)
ABC2 (2008–present)
Picture format 576i (SDTV)
Audio format Stereo
Original run 19 September 2006 – present
Chronology
Related shows Good Game: Spawn Point
Good Game: Pocket Edition
External links
Website

Good Game is an Australian television gaming programme produced by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). It was created by Janet Carr and Jeremy Ray.

The programme, currently hosted by Steven "Bajo" O'Donnell and Stephanie "Hex" Bendixsen, is a mix of gaming news, reviews and gaming-themed features. The tagline of Good Game is "a show for gamers by gamers".[2] The show has two main spin-offs: Good Game: Spawn Point and Good Game: Pocket Edition. It is named after the friendly phrase "good game" gamers traditionally say after finishing a game.[3] The end line is always "May all your games be good ones".[4]

Philosophy[edit]

A photo taken of the cast and crew of Good Game at their 2012 Christmas episode.

Making the show, according to series producer Janet Carr, is "an immense challenge, but...great fun". In response to receiving a Lizzie Award, she said, "being acknowledged like this is just the icing on the cake. We have a very small, hardworking team and this award is dedicated to everyone who has helped make Good Game the show that it is".[5] Junglist has said, "The Good Game team strive to marry the ABC’s strict journalistic practices with the extremely commercial gaming world. We feel it’s a match made in heaven...It’s a complete joy to work in such a small, hardworking team where everyone loves what they do".[6] Bajo has said, "There’s lots of late nights for all of us, so the show receiving these awards has been really uplifting".[5] In fact, the show has explained via their Facebook page that the cast and crew have sometimes had all-nighters in order to wrap up episodes in time for their broadcast dates. Bajo explained "it’s such a team effort [so] it would be unprofessional and incorrect to take too much of that kudos", and added that "I think we’re our own worst and best critics....we know if something worked or if it didn’t so we’re always trying new things."[6] There is sometimes a misconception in regard to the demographics of the viewership: while Mark Hadley of Hope 103.2 suggests that the show and its spinoff Good Game: Spawn Point are not aimed at parents, but rather at the younger gamers saying "the value to parents...is th[at] a very short exposure to the series can provide [info] into a world that is consuming much of [their] children’s time",[7] conversely, Good Game has stressed that while Good Game is the show for older gamers, Good Game: Spawn Point is the show for all gamers - both with no upper age limit. Invalid Channel (an adult reviewer) started watching the show because: "something must have hit that little part of me that wishes I was a gamer."[8] Hex says that while the team tend to aim at the gaming audience, "there's something about videogames that's just really compelling to watch and people who aren't even involved in games or who don't understand half the jargon" get really involved.[9] Hex explains that due to watching them be passionate about the games they enjoy and fanboy/girl over, fans can build an attachment to them as people and will know what new releases will excite them.[9] Hex says what makes a good game is "a good story...intuitive controls – we're at a level of technology now where there really is no excuse for clunky controls in games...[and] pretty graphics - our standards for graphics have just gotten so high". Bajo says "It's always game play for me. I don't care what the game is about, if the game play is engaging, challenging and interesting to me, I will play the hell out of it and I'll love it. Second, for me it needs a good story. I'm also a graphics whore, I just need it to look good".[10] Bajo and Hex have stressed that there is no such thing as a "boy's game" or a "girl's game", and said that one should decide to play a game merely based on how good it is.[11] The show has an anti-piracy policy, and in answer to many Ask Good Game questions, stress the important of obtaining a real copy of a game and financially rewarding the developers for their hard work.[citation needed].

Production[edit]

The former Good Game logo, used from 2008 to 2013.

Monday and Tuesday we film, and Wednesday is for extra bits and field shoots where Hex and I usually aren’t required. Wednesday and Thursday are our review days, and during this time we also write and capture footage and check and tweak the previous week’s edits. Fridays the show gets sound mixed and we have a production meeting and read all the reviews and talk about them. Then we log as much footage as we can and it all starts again. It’s a very busy job, making two TV shows a week along with reviewing means there’s not much time for dressing up, but we try to.

Bajo's interpretation of the production schedule, interviewed by Kamidogu, 12th March 2011[12]

Tv.com explains that "Good Game is a news and reviews show about computer games, aimed at the gaming community. It also includes gaming tips and interviews with game developers".[13] A lot of the show must be written during the week between shows' airings as most of the content is reviewing newly launched games. When asked about what plans there were for the upcoming season, Bajo replied that they were still thinking about the current season, and added "often segment ideas are pretty spontaneous".[6] When asked about taking on Good Game: Spawn Point as well as the original show, Bajo responded: "we’re busier than ever, but we’ve got things done to a pretty tight production schedule now".[6] Since 2009, there have been 43 episodes each series, lasting from approximately early February to late November each year. Series 4 had 32, while the first 3 seasons had around 13 each.[14] Invalid Channel noted that one thing that used to annoy him about older episodes was that "they['d] sometimes...mentioned things that 'will be on next weeks show' and then haven’t had them on the next episode, or said that something will be on next week for like 100 weeks in a row". It understood the tight production schedule and things like short-notice exclusions due to delays and push-backs, but argued that "if you can’t guarantee that you’re actually going to put something into the next weeks show", it is better to not mention it at all rather than promise and not deliver.[8] While most of the content is scripted, many parts - such as the filler sketches in between or during segment are improvised. During these skits, the show tends to rely on long takes rather than cutting to different camera angles and other footage.

Mondays and Tuesdays we shoot both shows (Good Game and Good Game: Spawn Point), Wednesdays and Thursdays we play the games for the week, write the reviews and then capture and log all the gameplay footage for the editors. We’ll also check the review from the previous week’s game that’s set to go in this week’s show. Friday we have a big production meeting, and we have a kind of cool ritual where we all watch the sound mix together. Over the weekend we tend to play a bit more and capture any additional footage needed — then the whole process starts again on Monday.

Hex's interpretation of the production schedule, interviewed by Kamidogu, 12th March 2011[12]

Hex says, "It takes a week of long hours and hard work to put together a review on the show. Gaming, capturing all the game footage, logging all the footage, writing the review, re-writing, editing, filming, re-editing… the finished product is something I’m really proud of".[15] Everyone on the Good Game team is considered very passionate about what they do and are all gamers, so there communication is considered to flow very smoothly when describing things like possible montages. Bajo described the editing process as "a bit like Machinima".[9] Both he and Hex check edits remotely, during the period of the week when they have finished their filming and the rest of the crew "shoot field stories and finish off the rest of the show".[16] MolksTVTalk1 notes that the use of clips from games has become more sophisticated over time, initially only being used to highlight what was being discussed in the review, but recently also serving as comedic punchlines.[9] Hex says that during the playing of games and filming of footage, she becomes quite attached to her avatars, she wants to show off what her own character did.[9] Hex says, "We’ve tried our best on the show to present both sides of the argument in any stories we’ve done".[12] The production process involves no physical tapes. Syd explains that the camera records onto a hard drive, which then gets transferred to the editing program (Final Cut Pro was used as of December 2012). The final timeline then gets put onto a Betacam tape for transmission and then the ABC Library.[17] Jedi, a Good Game video editor explained that while the team would love to make the show in HD, "all of ABC2 (and most other free to air channels) are transmitting in Standard Def". He also stated that while Good Game wants to have high quality videos on its site, "[the mp4s] are obviously more compressed (lower quality) video than what we broadcast on ABC2 [and] is the [...] standard set by the ABC for all it's web content." He adds that "to up that quality across the board means greatly increasing the cost of having all this online content," something they don't want to do.[18] In 2014, the show updated its logo and opening credits.[19] Bajo explained: "Mondays we finish of reviews, log footage, swap games, read scripts and sub everything after a production meeting, Tuesdays we make GG and GG:pocket, wednesdays are GGSP and any green screen stuff, then Hex and I are off to review for the rest of the week, while the gang shoot field stories and finish off the rest of the show. We check edits remotely usually which is my favourite part of the job. changes week to week but that's the general schedule"[20] Both Good Game and SP are filmed in the ABC building located in Ultimo, Sydney.[21]

Credibility[edit]

When asked on Good Game: Spawn Point about their credibility in reviewing games when they're "both too old to understand games from a spawnlings perspective", Bajo and Hex responded: "we may not be quite as young as some of you spawnlings [younger gamers] but all those years have been spent playing games, giving us a lot of the experience and expertise required for the kind of thorough games criticism we provide".[22] When asked if they are pro gamers, Bajo and Hex explained that in truth they aren't as "a pro gamer is someone who plays games professionally at the highest competitive levels in tournaments...so we don’t really fit that description and pro gamers around the world would scoff if we ever said we were “Pro”". They added that their job as game critics is not to be the best of the best at any one particular game, but to "be ok at all types of games so we can review and compare them to help you decide if you want to play them".[23] They said they review bad games along with good games as they can't know what quality the game will be until they've actually played it, and also if all the reviewed games were given highly positive reviews, they reviews would be redundant and their rating system meaningless. Also, as games are expensive, the team want to warn viewers about what games they should avoid.[24] They have also stated they make an effort to review games on all consoles. Hope 103.2 said viewers should always take the reviews in conjunction with Focus on the Family’s Plugged-In site's "valuable insights".[7] Bajo and Hex do actually play the games themselves. SteveMolk, who interviewed them, said "Speaking with them you learn very quickly that they aren’t just 'presenters' who turn up for filming and that’s it; they’re gamers of note in their own right and spend hours playing to review games thoroughly and log footage for the show, as well as editing and pre-recording for the show".[25] Interviewer Steve Molks said one of the things he enjoys about Good Game is that "[Bajo and Hex] are so heavily involved in the making of the program [and] work really hard each week to make and edit the footage", as opposed to just rucking up, doing hair and makeup, and then regurgitating a script.[9] Invalid Channel said "you can really tell that they’ve taken all of the footage themselves, it’s not one-sided stock footage from the developing company. The hosts really play the games themselves and it shows, but you know that you’re getting a real opinion from someone who played the game and know exactly how it handles and how annoying all those bugs are, not two people reading straight from some sort of rigid script."[8] He adds that "being on a non-commercial network helps too" as if the show was on a commercial network it may be more successful, but it's credibility would be lost as "once the game companies start paying sponsorship, you’d be seeing a lot of 10/10′s and a whole lot of kiss-ass".[8] In regard to being asked if she is putting on a geeky and gaming persona for the cameras, Hex explains that that it "would be so impossible to manufacture a whole persona" across all the different platforms that she uses to interact with people.[9] Hex said the capture and vlogging is the most challenging part of the job, but it is also unique as if she is referencing a particular part of the game, she can show her own personal experience rather than rolling stock footage.[9] Bajo says this is also for editorial reasons in that, "we need to defend our point by showing the footage to satisfy the ABC's charter".[9] Bajo notes that in the show's early days, there were some intense forum flames over things like missing a detail out, or not agreeing with the general consensus among viewers. He also says that if there is a genre of games that he and Hex don't like or aren't very good at, such as sports games, they won't ignore it and will try to be as honest as possible with their reviews.[9] Bajo says that as people invest so many hours into a game, it is justified to feel a sense of ownership over it and feel defensive if someone doesn't feel the same way. For this reason he loves "getting to the bottom of" why certain games are liked by some and disliked by others. Bajo says you can't speak with conviction if you haven't done something, especially "[played] something as involving as games".[9] Bajo explains "[we do receive negative feedback from] the odd publisher/developer who wasn't happy with our review [but] we try to be fair, honest, and listen to all feedback we get to make sure we're not ever crossing any lines".[16]

Presenters[edit]

All of the hosts go by their gamer tags on the show as opposed to their real names.[15] Some are based on childhood nicknames while others were created just for Good Game.[26]

Bajo and Hex hosted an episode of the music video show Rage on 19 June 2010. As "music is...an integral part in video games, be it the music in the games, music based games, or games based on musicians", the duo aimed to combine their gaming and music expertise by "giv[ing] a sneak peek into their musical world, playing a mix of music from games, video clips inspired by games, songs about games, as well as a few of their own personal favourites".[2] In late 2014, the two hosts became ambassadors for the national schools filmmaking competition Screen It.[27] In 2014, they spoke at the Perth Writers Festival at UWA, with the creators behind the hottest games in a series of talks entitled "The Game Changers".[28] They will also host the Hex and Bajo to host the 2014 MCV Pacific Awards for gaming.[29]

Current hosts and supporting hosts[edit]

Bajo[edit]

Steven "Bajo" O'Donnell (series 2–present) took on the role of after auditions were held to find a replacement host for series 2 following the resignation of Mike Makowski. He had been trying to get a job in film and TV for about 7 or 8 years, and had seen the show before, so accepted the open call-out which involved "writing a review and doing a DVD presentation". He said he got his "dream job" due to "luck and persistence".[9] On 9 March 2007, it was announced that he would be the new co-host. He later described the experience of joining the show as follows: "Easily a dream come true. It felt perfect for me. It had all my interests in one little basket, creative control in a collaborative team and also I was getting to the point of giving up. The timing was perfect and unbelievably lucky."[6] He explains "Gaming was about 50% of my life [before I joined Good Game], mainly PC gaming but I grew up with all the consoles...Working on the show has really opened up more genres to me that I never got into as much."[6] He described the progression from unemployed actor to host of an award winning show in 2 years as "rewarding, fantastic, exciting and relieving".[6] Bajo's first gaming memory was of Ms. Pac-Man.[30] When explaining to other what he does for a living, Bajo feels the need to defend it, explaining that "it's actually really hard work".[9]

Hex[edit]

Stephanie "Hex" Bendixsen (series 5–present) is the newest host of Good Game, having controversially taken over the role from Junglist in time for series 5. Bendixsen had also auditioned for ABC3, but won the role on Good Game, replacing Ray. She had approached Bajo at Supanova as a fan, and had been told Good Game was looking for someone, so she sent in a series of reviews, the style of which she said she already knew how to do, having already watched the show for a couple of years. She later did a screen test and ended up getting the job "quite quickly".[9] Her first episode was on 26 October 2009. Hex got into games relatively late as she did not have a gaming household. Her first games were MUDs (specifically the game Lensmoor which she started playing at age 15[12]) as it was like "collectively writing a book", and they could not be caught by teachers as it was all text-based.[30] Hex says she is okay with the harder parts of production as they are a part of her job. She said she finds great satisfaction in seeing a completed show go to air as so much time and love has gone into it.[9] While she loves her job, Hex understands the negative stigma that comes along with it - that it is easy work, but explains that this is in fact wrong.[9] She adds however that "The only thing that’s sometimes difficult is that I have less time to play the games that I want to play recreationally, because the games I’m reviewing for work take priority".[15] While she is happy to weigh in on gender-related issues, she also acknowledges that she does not want to be a "poster girl" for it and instead wants to be thought of as a "a PERSON who just enjoys gaming".[31]

Goose[edit]

Gus "Goose" Ronald (series 7–present), is the show's current field reporter. He has had this role since series 7 of the program. His addition to the team was announced via Facebook on 17 June 2011.[32] The callout was announced on 21 March 2011, with: "Good Game [...] is looking for a new Field Reporter! Can you fill the shoes of Ajax and Rei? Find out how to apply by watching tomorrow nights show".[33] Before he joined the show, he was "in Melbourne working as a freelance video editor".[34] Goose added that he's "been a gamer [his] whole life and a big fan of the show".[34] He described his job thus: "I do all the stories that are NOT in the studio. While Bajo and Hex prepare and present all the reviews and news, they send me out to do the topical stories out on location."[34] As of 2014, he also is the newsreader for both Good Game and GGSP.

D.A.R.R.E.N[edit]

D.A.R.R.E.N - an acronym for Data Analysing Robot for the Ruthless Extermination of Noobs (series 7–present), is the robot co-host for the show's subsidiary programme for all ages, Good Game: Spawn Point. However, he has had supporting role appearances on the main show since series 7 - mostly in the season finales but often as a cameo in various episodes. DARREN was announced via a Facebook video post made on 19 February 2010. Due to the fanbase of the show, an official Twitter account was even created on Twitter.[35] When asked about the voice over artist for D.A.R.R.E.N, Bajo simply replied "Darren is eternal".[16][36]

Former hosts and supporting hosts[edit]

A former host, P_Nutz, resting on a coat hanger in the Good Game offices. P_Nutz caused much annoyance from viewers of the show, which then forced the Good Game crew to remove him from the show.

There have been many hosts and co-hosts throughout the show's long history that are not currently in those roles. Jeremy "Junglist" Ray is the co-creator of Good Game and co-hosted the show from 19 September 2006 to 19 October 2009 - series 1–5 - until he was controversially fired. Michael "Kapowski" Makowski was the inaugural co-host of the show, and left the role at the end of series 1 after announcing his resignation via Good Game's online forum on 14 February 2007; he returned for an interview for the 100th episode on 24 August 2009. P_Nutz was a yellow puppet introduced during Good Game's pilot episode in May 2006; this supporting host of season 1 drew a lot of criticism and debate from viewers over its antics, seemingly aimed at a younger demographic. Some likened it to a monkey modeled on Agro of Agro's Cartoon Connection, some believed P_Nutz's presence would prevent the show from being taken seriously, and others were simply annoyed by its presence. A poll was conducted on the official Good Game website regarding his appropriateness in the programme, and the results suggested he was inappropriate. It was decided he should die while defusing a bomb in Counter Strike, and a Flash animation of this - made by community member "RubberRoss" (Ross O'Donovan, better known as RubberNinja by the Newgrounds community) - was aired in the final episode of series one. When answering a question on Good Game regarding his whereabouts, Bajo and Hex point out he was on the show before both of them joined. Hex described him as "kind of terrifying", and Bajo admitted he "wasn't very popular". Bajo said he left the show because "viewers demanded that he met a rather explosive demise", referring to the bomb defusal.[37] He has still remained on the show as a running gag, such as in the reviews of Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure, Killing Floor and Ghostbusters: The Video Game. One of the variants of the "technical difficulties" screen includes his face. The role of Miles "Dr. Daneel" Tulett on the first 2 seasons of the show was as an expert on technical issues, and he had various computer-related segments on Good Game. He left the show to pursue his studies at university and because he felt that his segment was no longer hardware-oriented, and returned for an interview for the 100th episode on 24 August 2009. Matthew "Aiyiah" Lee ran the So You Think You Can Game segment on series 2 of Good Game. As of series 3, he is now a researcher for the team. Sheridan "Lux" Leanda had segments on topics such as cyber bullying and girls in gaming throughout series 3. Tracey "Rei" Lien was first introduced in Series 5, Episode 3 as the show's field reporter. She was already a practicing journalist and games writer prior to taking up the role of field reporter,[38] and currently contributes stories on gaming culture to the show. On the series 5 Christmas special in 2009, she announced she'd be leaving to France to further her studies. Her role was passed down to Ajax in 2010. She returned to do reports from European countries such as Gamescom 2010 in Cologne, Germany. She was also seen during Series 7, Episode 20 in the E3 special. Jackson "Ajax" Gothe-Snape was a field reporter introduced for the sixth season. There are also a series of freelance animators who work on the show; a job opportunity was sent out in 2011.[39]

Guest hosts[edit]

Andrew "Bindi" Hansen guest hosted on 21 June 2010 in Series 6 (Episode 19), on 14 June 2011 in Series 7 (Episode 19), and on 12 June 2012 in Series 8 (Episode 18). He replaced Bajo as he was at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in 2010 and 2012, and Hex when she was there in 2011. He originally guest appeared on 6 October 2008 in Series 4, Episode 25. Dave Callan guest hosted for three episodes during the 2012 season and did reviews for Kid Icarus: Uprising, Heroes of Ruin and various dancing games (Just Dance 4, Dance Central 3, etc.). He also came back in 2013 with a segment called Laying Down the Lore with Dave Callan where he talked about The Elder Scrolls, Resident Evil and Assassin's Creed as well later hosting an episode alongside Bajo while Hex was at E3 in 2013.

Segments[edit]

Game reviews[edit]

The current set for Good Game, introduced in 2013 - Studio 21. The game reviews, as well as some of other segments, are filmed in this space, known as the Den of Gaming. Most of the other segments are either shot on location (such as interviews), or in front of a green screen or blue screen (such as "Ask Good Game").

Review segments presented by the two hosts usually placed throughout the show. Each review was primarily conducted by one of the hosts, with the other not required to play the game. In more recent series, both of the hosts equally present the review. Each time a current game is discussed while footage is shown to the viewers. The crew are often sent games by developers or studios ahead of their release date for them to play and review.[40] The date they arrive comes down to the platform, game, publisher, and how persistent the show is with their requests. It could range from the day of, to weeks before. Bajo explains, "we never review the game unless we're told it's 'review code'".[16] These early copies are returned to the developers after they are played. All other games are kept in a special games room so they can be brought out and replayed if pertinent to a current situation like an "Ask Good Game" question.[41] The crew have a few determining factors for what types of games to review. They try to make their choice most relevant to their audience. They want to review the big blockbuster or franchise games - or any other releases that are generating buzz. The team are always on the lookout for experimental or indie games, especially if they are generating interest within the Good game offices or the wider gaming community. If a game is brought to their attention via a crew member, or an audience member via social media, and they deem it worthy enough, they will add it to their schedule. They are also on the lookout for games made in Australia.[42]

They use a whiteboard grid to plant their episodes a few months in advance. They base this on the release schedules by the game publishers. They try to time reviews so they occur before or in the week the game is released. One challenge is having the publishers get them a copy of the game early enough to play through and review it. Often they receive debug code which can only be played on debug consoles. The developers are usually still working out kinks, so will provide a list of bugs for the Good Game team to take into account. Good Game also have to be wary of embargo dates as reviews can't be broadcast before then. Even if the embargo ends a few hours after a Good game episode, the review must be held back for a week. Sometimes, Good Game can only get a copy of the game after it is released, and Bajo points out that while this is sometimes due to random factors, it can also be a sign that the game is bad. They try to avoid having too many of the same type of game in each week, and try to include games on all consoles. They hope that all this will ensure there is something for everyone.[42]

Rubber chickens serve as the unique rating system for the show. As such, at the end of the review a rubber chicken rating (a number out of 10) is given to the game. The games that have scored 10 out of 10 rubber chickens by both hosts include: Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Portal 2,[43] Batman: Arkham City,[44] Mass Effect 3, Black Mesa, Halo 4, Tomb Raider, The Last of Us[45] and Grand Theft Auto V.[46] The Stanley Parable is also notable for receiving 10 out of 10 rubber chickens from Goose, who reviewed the game independently.[47] The lowest rated games include: Doctor Who: Return to Earth (Bajo - 1; Hex - 1.5), Naughty Bear (Bajo - 1.5; Hex - 1), Muscle March (Bajo - 1; Hex - 0),[44] and ET (Bajo - 1; Junglist - 0). From time to time, unorthadox ratings have been given to games. These include when Bajo gave a "not sure" and Hex gave an 8791 for Robot Unicorn Attack,[48] when Bajo gave a "wispy breeze" and Hex gave a "picture of a tree" for Dear Esther, and when DayZ (a Mod for ARMA 2) was not rated and the score screen at the end of the episode showed the death screen from game.

Invalid Channel said "the main thing that really grinds my gears about this show is that the rubber chicken rating system", and that though they did dedicate a "hilarious and...interesting [segment]" to explaining how they review games, "it just turned out to be a terrible failure" as "the problem remained that there is absolutely no consistency between the scores they hand out". It said "nearly everything gets a score between 7 and 9", and added that there seems to be no concrete grading system, leading to scores not seeming right or comparable to the scores of other games (an argument in the same vein as the "do the math" section of Roger Ebert's "Roger's little rule book" for film criticism[49]). It continues, "if I remember correctly, they somewhat acknowledged that their rating system doesn’t completely work", and said a verbal summary would be more effective than a numeric value.[8] However, despite this criticism, the show actually does have a solid ranking system for their reviewed games, explained on the site's F.A.Q page. 10's are given to perfect games - triumphs in game design, or else something that reinvents the gaming world. 9's are given to games which were a memorable experience or "one of the standout games of its time". 8's are given to great/fun games which may not ground breaking, or may have some imperfections, but are still considered classics. 7's are given to good/decent, but ultimately forgettable games. 6's are given to average games that provide mild entertainment. 5's are given to bland games where there's "nothing quite broke about the game, but no reason to play it either". 4's are given to bad games that are a "waste of money and time". 3's are given to broken and buggy games. 2's are given to terribad/ubersuck games. 1's are given to insulting games that may damage your respect for gaming. 0's are given to games that didn't work.[50]

Other segments[edit]

There have been a variety of other segments that pad out episodes and explore the wider gaming world. Many segments were introduced in a later season. Gamer News - a segment on game announcements, major updates and patches etc., Name the game - a 'guess that retro game' trivia segment, and Industry Interviews - interviews with people related to the game industry, have been featured in each of the 9 series. The Goodbye segment always ends with "may all your games be good ones", and then Bajo and Hex both signing off with "[insert name] out". Backwards Compatible started in Series 4, and goes over the best and worst of gaming history, and how this has helped shape the future of gaming. This segment was preceded by Series 3's Evolution of a Genre. Ask Good Game is a segment where Good Game are asked questions from the Good Game community, and was first seen from Series Five. Good Game points out in their F.A.Q that when asked "When does [insert name of game here] come out?" questions, all the team does is do an internet search, something also available to the audience.[50] Also starting in series 5, Great Gaming Moments displays and analyses a 'classic moment' in a particular game. Pile of Shame is a segment interviews game developers asking what games haven't they completed, and was first seen from Series Six. My First Love involves interviews with game developers, asking what was the first game they fell in love with, and began in series 7. Other segments are season-specific, arbitrarily come and go from season to season. Gamer Tonight was a fictional flash animated talk show starring Richard Farkas from the "Win the Beast" entry "The Pitch", involving interviews with a different genre of gamer each segment. Six segments aired in Season 2 with another eight aired in Season 4. Outside of Good Game, a live action episode was released in July 2008 whilst a special episode was made for Machinima in December 2010. The show was created and animated by Ross "Rubber Ninja" O'Donovan, who came to this position after years of animation experience on online sources such as Newgrounds, and features the voice talents of Arin "Egoraptor" Hanson, Faye Mata and Kira Buckland. Tiny Power is an animation by Australian animation studio, Studio Joho, and is based on the mobile game Tiny Tower, and started in Series 7. The first season (Series 7) was parodies of popular media. Tiny Power was carried over to Series 8 with a plot about a group of game developers. The animation had recently ended with its fifth and final season. Roffle Cup is a multiplayer match of a specific game (past cups have featured Counter-Strike, Age of Empires and even Wii Bowling) with commentary usually done by commentators from gaming SHOUTcast organisation Gamestah.

The Team – Machinima - duck Australian machinima video segments - was one of the season one-specific segments. They were highly criticized by fans on the forums, and in series 2 the segment was replaced by Gamer Tonight. At the end of each episode, Miles "Dr. Daneel" Tulett explained how to install parts of a compute among other things in Build a Machine, tying into a promotional competition involving winning a computer. Season 2 introduced new segments such as MeatSpace, a Lego stop pause animation created by community member Blunty (Nate Burr), revolving around two friends and their gaming related incidents. Ask the Doc, a replacement to Build a Computer, saw Daneel helping with technical issues. Ultimate Showdown was a 'best of' style segment related to games, which looked at specific features like boss fights and opening sequences, and encouraged forum participation. So you think you can game? saw Matthew "Aiyiah" Lee divulge hints and tips for specific games, and set a challenge for the featured game. Season 3's Quarter Circle + A was a series of primarily animated video game parodies created by Rob Moffett and Benjamin Baker. Replacing Gamer Tonight and MeatSpace, the show's presentation varied each week with formats ranging from machinima, fictional in-game footage, satirical video game reviews to lampooning 1950 educational films. A Cartridge Affair, a parody of the show A Current Affair, was a humorous news spin-off about a different game subjects. Fatal Rage of Conflict was an animation, set in a 2D side-scrolling fighting game. WTF? (What Were They Thinking?) was introduced in series 5 as a platform for Bajo and Junglist to criticize a game and question its existence. With the Good Game game, Office Wars released, Bajo and Junglist announced on episode 4 of series 5 that a serious game (a game designed for a purpose rather than amusement) would be developed in a segment entitled Good Game "Serious Game". Series 6's 5-Up counted down the top five in gaming related subjects, including top five weapons or RTS strategies. Similar top-ten countdowns would take place in later series end-of-the-year specials. Series 7 brought with it The Game Dev. Story, featuring a short look at the history of a successful game developer. Fanboys vs Haters was a segment involving debating over a particular game or series. Bajo and Hex each imitated fanboy/hater responses. Online polls asked viewers if they were a fanboy/hater/neither, and the best forum posts and video responses are discussed in a later episode. The "Fanboys Vs. Haters" of the show's website said: "Welcome Fanboy or Hater, here's where you can submit your reasoned arguments/emotional tirades. Use the form below to submit your p.o.v in 300 words or less, the better your argument, the more chance it has of being shown to the world and lorded over other peoples lesser opinions".[51] Deep Space Discs involved asking game developers what three games they would take with them if they were to go on a deep space adventure. My Gaming Hero came onto the show in season 8, and involved asking game developers who their hero in the gaming industry is. Series 9 introduced My First Gig in Gaming, a segment which asked game developers what their first job in the gaming industry was. This Is Your EXTRA Life, narrated by Goose, involved character studies of someone featured in a reviewed game of that episode.

Special episodes[edit]

In addition to the normal episodes of Good Game, there have been specially themed ones. Good Game In Space, which aired on 23 August 2010, was an episode dedicated to Space-themed games and sci fi references. Bajo and Hex spent the entire duration of the episode "explore the best and the worst space games ever made".[52] Another special called Decades in Gaming spent the entire episode asking which decade was the best for gaming. Goose argued for the 1980s, Bajo for the 1990s, and Hex for the 2000s.[53] There have also been various Christmas/end of the year specials, which often include the tradition of a blooper reel.[54] In 2012, Good Game held a special 'sleepover' episode, which aired at 11:00pm due to the live coverage of the 2012 Summer Paralympics.[55] While one of the two main hosts are away at a gaming expo or other function, a guest host takes their place, such as Andrew Hansen (who goes by the gamer tag "Bindi") who has guest hosted both with Bajo and Hex.[56]

Relationship with audience[edit]

As well as providing many audience participation opportunities for its viewership, Good Game maintains a uniquely open relationship with them. Good Game explains that they "take all suggestions & feedback seriously and in fact base the show around it", and welcome anything from news to gaming expos.[50] Upon learning of the show's 2008 Lizzie award wins, Amanda Duthie, Head of Arts, Entertainment and Comedy at ABC TV said, "The success of this breakout ABC2 program needs to be shared with our die-hard user-audience who are a significant part of the creative and editorial process – active on posting boards, contributors of video segments and accepting of experimental programming styles such as machinima – the audience is a true collaborator and unsung hero".[5] Upon accepting the award the previous year, Junglist said: "Good Game has a great fan base, and we wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for our devoted audience...We're glad that people like what they see, and we hope we can keep bringing the gaming goodness for many years to come."[57] Invalid Channel said "the show's small budget has led to the necessity of having a relatively small yet loyal fanbase, rendering interaction with fans a big part of the show".[8] Girl.com.au said since the show's inception, Good Game "has built on its loyal and dedicated audience and has championed multiplatform digital delivery".[58] Bajo and Hex are a popular duo team, and have often been inundated with fans, such as at the 2011 Gold Coast EB Games Expo.[25] Janet Carr told News.com.au, "When we first started [Good Game] we knew there was nothing out there in mainstream media that satisfied us as gamers, and so we made the show from within the community...The TV show is just part of this community and there is really no screen between us and them."[59] News.com.au said, "Good Game thrives from online interaction with its viewers, offering free episodes and even gaming sessions with the team", citing Carr's explanation: "Our forums are incredibly active, we play games regularly with people who watch the show, and the emails they send are like, 'Hey Jungy (co-host Junglist), thanks for knifing me last night!'"[59] After spontaneously deciding to attend the EB Games Gold Coast conference, thinking the experience would be lonely and awkward, Hex and Bajo were overwhelmed by the response; the hundreds of people in queues to go see them. They can't see the fandom through the camera screen, so appreciated the affirmation of their work.[9] It was due to fan requests that Ask Good Game - an exclusive segment to Good Game: Spawn Point for some time - was added back to the parent show.[11] In 2013, Bajo and Hex had an AMA with their fans on Reddit.[60][61]

Online presence[edit]

Got a tear in my eye. BEST TEAM EVA and BEST AUDIENCE EVA. GG & SP are utterly beloved by me. Thank you to all the brilliant people who have been part of the GG family and to the gamers of Australia, it's always been about you. Thank you. Syd. X

Syd in the Facebook discussion related to 100,000 likes on Good Games Facebook page.[62]

The show is heavily involved with the internet - Bajo said "we're pretty much on the internet all the time, whether it being on our phones or on our consoles, or tablets or on our PC", and Hex added "we're both heavily involved in social media".[63] Good Game has overflow extending to the show's website, a Facebook account, a Twitter account, a YouTube account, forums and more. The Facebook page currently has 115,000 "likes" and has regular posts about recent episodes or behind the scenes content.[64] The official Good Game Twitter account currently has over 19,000 followers,[65] while Bajo's has over 21,000,[66] Hex's has over 26,000,[67] and Goose's has over 5,000.[68] The Good Game YouTube channel has over 6,000 subscribers and over 133,000 video views, and has playlists on reviews, full episodes, interviews, and the Pocket Edition episodes.[69] The team have explained in a Facebook discussion that no advertisements will appear on their YouTube videos.[70] While the website has iView clips of all previous episodes, plus individual reviews and other segments of the show, this service is "available to Australian residents only".[71] Bajo has his own YouTube channel as well.[72] There are also a series of web exclusives available on the Good Game main page, stretching back to 2007. The site's explanation for this extra content is because "there's only so much gamage we can cram into half an hour each week [so] this is the place to be for all those reviews, specials and extended interviews we couldn't fit in the show".[71] There is a special part of the website called The E3 Vault, for "all things E3 we couldn't fit in the show".[73] The show has an unofficial IRC chan (#goodgame.abc2) on the Gamesurge network.[50] The team don't disclose any of their online account detail information as they would have to deal with friend request politics.[50] Invalid Channel said, "Bajo and Hex constantly interact over twitter and facebook. They do social networking well, is what I’m saying, which is something that simply wouldn’t work for a big production".[8] In 2011, the show achieved a five city metro average audience of 99,000, and an increase of 11% viewership over its 2010 results.[74] In 2011, the show recorded 572,000 views via ABC iView. Its website is available over several platforms, including web-browser, and even direct via the Xbox 360 dashboard. The series recorded over 3 million vodcast downloads, the most by any ABC TV program. The series had around 3.4 million viewings of streamed "extra" video content.[74]

Polls and forums[edit]

The Good Game website has polls every week that seek viewer's opinions on a variety of issues including current events in the gaming world, or the latest reviewed game. The Good Game forum is where a lot of the discussion occurs between the show and the viewers. It is located in a tab on the main page.[75] The forums "are...used by [both] fans and the production team".[8] Girl.com.au said the Good Game forums are the most active of all communication streams between the production team and fans, "with well over a million individual posts".[58] As of 22 March 2010 The Good Game forum is the largest ABC television forum with other 14,000 contributors, 300 topics and 430,000 messages.[76] Unregistered users' posts are pre-moderated before they are published to the Good Game forum, while registered users may post instantly, therefore causing some time delay between post and upload for unregistered users.[50]

Good Game "Game"[edit]

Good Game "Game" was a competition for series 4 where viewers were asked to give suggestions and ideas for a crowdsourced playable game prototype, to be officially released on 17 November 2008.[77] The initiative was first announced on 21 December 2007[78]If "there [was] much popularity within the community" it was a possibility for "the game [to be taken] further and produce[d] for PC, XBLA and PSN".[79] The Good Game website explains that "In an Australian first, Good Game and the Australian Film Commission, invited the Good Game audience to bring their creative ideas together to help build their own playable online game. As well as giving the audience a chance to develop a 'crowd sourced' game of their choice, the most innovative contributors have been rewarded with prizes, including two mentorships with Infinite Interactive",[80] developer of Puzzle Quest.[81] The Australian Film Commission and ABC TV announced the initiative on 21 December 2007, and applications closed on 15 February 2008. Lori Flekser, Director of Film Development at the AFC said, "We are all very excited about Good Game as it provides a terrific opportunity within a reasonable budget for a games developer to have this exposure through a television program and to create a game which they can exploit in the future".[82] The competition was set up in 3 phases. Janet Carr said "We're going to have input at every single stage so by the end of it, hopefully, anyone who's really interested in being part of it will feel like they have been."[59] In Phase 1, Good Game asked their viewers for ideas for a "game they would want to play & build". Entrants were aged from years 10 to 54, and game ideas ranged from Outback Rescue (rescuing lost tourists) to Full Turtle Racket (about baby sea turtles), and two entries suggested a game based around then-Prime Minister John Howard.[83] Troy's Office Wars idea was chosen from over 800 entries, after being chosen as the top choice for each judge in a panel of industry experts. The panel included Janet Carr, "as well as representatives from the AFC and the game developer".[59] The game "involve[d] the player trying to manage a series of basic office tasks whilst fighting against the clock, their co-workers and many other hazards."[84] Zac Duff, who worked on the project, described it as "frantic" due to the multitasking involved.[79] The premise, according to Troy, was as follows:[80]

The Office Wars concept: you are the average Joe or Jill, working in the average office. You want to make it to the top and will do anything to get there, no matter how sneaky, underhanded and deceitful that may be (even go as far as to actually WORK HARD if need be, but only as a last resort). Your ultimate goal is to get promoted and make it to "The Top".

He was announced as the winner of Good Game's game design competition on the 21 April 2008 episode.[81] Due to the "quality of entries", 20 entries were deemed winners in the end, and their creators received a "Good Game T-Shirt for their outstanding efforts and unique ideas". However, Troy received a gaming console as his prize. As part of the Good Game Game competition, two internships at Infinite Interactive were offered to the entrants. The 20 winners were interviewed by the panel for one of the internships, with Zac Duff being named the final winner of the prize. He started at the company in August that year and worked on Office Wars.[85][86] Phase 2 involved Good Game setting up 4 tasks, which sought viewers' "ideas on how we should start to shape the game". Tasks included things like naming the corporation and its type of business, and naming the 5 statistics and skills of the player. The top ideas were chosen by the GG team, and voted on in the Good Game forum. Six people were awarded console prizes for their efforts. Timothy Randall, one of the 6 winners, was named the winner of the 2nd internship for Infinite Interactive in this phase.[87] Phase 3 involved coming up with the company logo design, the company's corporate website design, the title music track for the game, and the game's backstory: the history of Wagglemax company & the corporate profiles of the characters.[88] Good Game added a series of "great exercises and tips taken from the Creativity Boot Camp session at the 2008 Game Developers Conference" in order to encourage creativity and inspiration.[89] The entire 90 page Game Design word document is available on the show's website,[90] as is both the game's trailer and a download link for the prototype.[80] Blender was used for "all of the environment work", as well as some of the 3D model animations.[77] Steve Fawkner, CEO Infinite Interactive said, "Office Wars is one of those ideas that just makes you say 'why didn't I think of that before?' It contains that wonderful mix of novelty, familiarity and inspiration that we were hoping to find in the Good Game Game project.".[80] Overall, the game was "developed over 3 months, with much of its development filmed and screened on Good Game".[84] After the competition ended, Good Game put a notice up on their website saying: "The Good Game "Game" competition was a great success, and we would like to thank everyone who entered for their effort and creative ideas". The notice continued by explaining that the game was still in Beta version, but encourages viewers to "play adventurously and send us your comments...feedback and bug finds".[80] Part of the purpose of setting up the competition was to "raise the profile of the Australian games industry" by "show[ing] people what kind of different jobs there are and hopefully inspir[ing] them to become part of the industry, then that would be great."[59] Office Wars version 1.0 was given a Gold rating on WineHQ.[91]

Roffle Cup[edit]

The show itself was simply fun. Conversational in tone, jovial in presentation, it felt more like a casual trivia night between friends than a serious competition, and for an audience with such variety I consider that a success. There were a few organisational hiccups – contestants talking over DARREN as he asked a question, then making him repeat it because they didn’t hear it, and a charades-esque round was cut short due to some confusion – but they were forgivable for a first time effort, and somehow they added to the charm of the show. Everyone involved should be proud of what they accomplished: an immensely enjoyable afternoon of gaming trivia with an audience who shared a passion for gaming.

AlexPants, Good Game’s Roffle Cup and the Audience That Surprised Me[92]
The 2012 Roffle Cup, performed at the Sydney Opera House in front of a live audience.

The Roffle Cup is an annual live gaming panel quiz, held for the first time in 2012. It took place on Sunday 11 November at the Sydney Opera House, and was 120 minutes long without an interval.[93] The event had Bajo and Hex as team leaders, with Mark Serrels and Maude Garrett completing Team Bajo, and Joab Gilroy and Jimmy Rees completing Team Hex. Goose served as the roaming audience interactor - "frantically running back and forth across the theatre with his microphone",[92] and DARREN's role was quizmaster.[92] The show started off with "a round of general gaming trivia questions started the show, easy questions about particularly well-known games", yet later in the day "became more difficult, [and] the teams frequently turned to the audience for help".,[92] and the questions spanned multiple decades. While it featured questions about games rated M and MA15+, the actual content was censored and suitable for ages 8 and up.[94] Reviewer AlexPants noted the show "seemed like it would be geared toward the Spawn Point audience...and while the majority of the audience was composed of children and their parents, it was interesting to see the content being more inclusive of a wider audience". He also noted "interaction was encouraged, and seeing so many eager hands go up was great". While he thought "Kids will never get that question!" many times throughout the night, he was surprised by how much gaming culture the spawnlings were exposed to. For example, a "surprisingly large amount of the audience sang along [to] ‘Still Alive’".[92] He notes "after the show, the line to meet the hosts and guests numbered well over half of the audience", something he had "only ever seen at Supanova or the EB Expo", and added "it fascinates and excites me that... Good Game can draw crowds of all ages and create such an experience for them. A small show on the ABC has grown so much, into something so big, and it’s simply amazing seeing what effect that has had on the younger gaming audience".[92] Highlights from the show were featured in the Good Game's finale episode of series 8, which aired on 4 December 2012.[95]

Good Game Live[edit]

Good Game Live in the Arenais a 2014 event that will see Bajo and Hex at the EB Expo in the EB Community Mega Stage 1 booth, and participating in the Sunday Family Day Video Game Parade. There will be two sessions - a Family Edition (Rated PG) for Spawn Pointers, and a Mature Edition (Rated MA15+) for Good Gamers. They will be available after each session at the Community Hub Mega Stage for live Q&A and signing, and Good Game souvenirs and merchandise will be available inside the EB Mega store.[96]

Competitions[edit]

The show often holds competitions in order for viewers to win T-shirts. A competition was set up asking viewers to send in their own Batman comics. The winner was Flopsy, whose comic was Good Game themed.[97] Other competitions (which both commenced and had winners announced via Facebook), were one which asked for T-shirt designs, and a Noob Blaster game cover design competition.

Viewer-generated content[edit]

The Good Game F.A.Q explains that while viewers are definitely able to create content for the show, it is recommended that they send a "relatively detailed outline of [their] ideas" to the team for discussion and feedback first, as "the last thing we want is for all that hard work not to end up in the show". They add, "unfortunately it is NOT possible for Good Game to pay for any contributions".[50]

Awards and achievements[edit]

At the sixth annual Sun Microsystems IT Journalism Awards, held on 1 April 2008, Good Game won 2 gold Lizzie awards, including one for the most prestigious category, Technology Title of the Year,[98] becoming only the second non-print title to "take home the top prize". The show also won the award for Best Multimedia Coverage of 2007 after "scoring through the roof". A special mention was made that Good Game won the Gold "Lizzie" by the most votes in the awards history. Good Game was also Commended in the Best Gaming Title of 2007 category and Good Game's researcher Maurice Branscombe was also highly commended in the Best Gaming Journalist of 2007 category.[99][100] Amanda Duthie, Head Arts, Entertainment and Comedy, ABC TV said "We are thrilled that Good Game has been recognised for both editorial coverage and technological innovation at the Lizzie Awards".[101]

At the seventh annual Sun Microsystems IT Journalism Awards, Good Game won the award for Best Video Production of 2008.[102] According to ABCYou, "the judging panel's final comments included nothing but praise for the show, including commendations that Good Game is an 'an excellent all-round production', and that the show has a lot of 'street cred'. One judge even went so far as to compare Good Game with the UK's most popular auto program, Top Gear, by saying 'these guys love games the way Jeremy Clarkson loves cars'". "Junglist" and "Bajo" accepted the award on the night. Maurice Branscombe was Highly Commended in the category of Best Gaming Journalist for the second year running.[57][103][104] Jeremy Ray was highly commended in the Best Gaming Journalist category, and nominated in the Best Reviewer category.

In a review of the 2009 book The Good Game Gamer's Guide to Good Gaming, Girl.com.au mentioned that "Good Game is now the number-one downloadable show across all of ABC Television (almost one million downloads this year alone)".[58] Interviewer SteveMolk said, "They’ve worked hard to gain the support of the Australian gaming community and this is reflected in the show – it’s one of the strongest shows on ABC2 evenings and the show is the most downloaded/watched show via the ABC’s iview service".[25]

In 2010, Good Game picked up a "Lizzie", for "Best Video Production".[105] Good Game was the most downloaded ABCTV show in 2009 and 2010.[105] The show won the iTunes Rewind award for Best Video Podcast in 2011.[74][105] In 2012, Good Game was Highly Commended as Best Video Program at the tenth annual Sun Microsystems IT Journalism Awards.[106] Good Game was nominated for Australian Gaming Entertainer of the Year at the AGGN 2012 Gaming Awards.[107]

In 2013, Good Game won Best Video Production at the MCV Awards,[108] where Bajo and Hex hosted.[109][110] In the same year, the show was also highly commended for best video program at the 2013 Lizzies.[111]

Critical reception[edit]

Good Game constantly receives generally positive feedback. The show has a user rating of 8.1 on the site Tv.com based on 25 votes.[13] In a "Good, Alright, Bad Or Ugly?" rating system, Change the Channel gave Good Game a score of "Alright".[112] Invalid Channel gave the show a 7.5 out of 10.[8] The show also got a score of 7.5/10 from 98 user ratings on imdb.[113]

Jasonb, when interviewing Bajo, noted that in his opinion "A lot of the success of Good Game is from your own style, sense of humour and presentation".[6] In 2010, Change The Channel said "as is expected...game reviewers Hex and Bajo bounce about delivering sometimes funny, sometimes forced, commentary on the world of gaming" from a set that "looks rejected from CheeseTV" due to its tight budget. The site adds that despite this, "Good Game makes for a refreshing addition to the game criticism conversation". It described their chemistry as not "at a Margaret and David level yet", but put that down to the recent changeover, and said Bajo had much better chemistry with Hex than with Junglist. The site added that "they both feel like they’re occasionally reading, and Bajo sometimes hams it up so much he comes across as though he’s auditioning for a kids afternoon program". It said the various segments throughout the show's history from different reporters have mostly been hit and miss, adding that "Why Gamers Cheat" was better than a recent segment "which was too silly to be worth paying much attention to". It compared the show positively to video game review series Zero Punctuation, and added that excluding Charlie Brooker's Gameswipe one-off special, it is "the best television based gaming alternative out there" due to being both funny and optimistic about the state of the gaming industry.[112]

Hope 103.2 describes the show as "it’s light-hearted, easy to watch and strangely informative". Reviewer Mark Hadley said he enjoyed the "cheeky and full of quirky sideline segments, naming ‘Fanboys vs. Haters’ as his favourite, due to its demonstration that "one man’s chalk is another man’s cheese". Despite the widely varying opinions of games, he stresses "the joy of video games is their ability to test our physical, mental, even spiritual limits by taking us outside of ourselves". He has praised the inclusion of "sensitive segments on cyber bullying within the gaming community and girls in games". He argues that as Good Game Spawn Point is "particularly aimed at G and PG gamers", (meaning everyone - as all people can play G or PG games), he can watch the show with his children, allowing him the "opportunity to connect" part of the gaming conversation.[7] Interviewer SteveMolk said, "not only are Bajo & Hex becoming great story tellers in their own right, but Janet has drawn to the show a wider crew who are all gamers and skilled producers, editors, and special-effects wizards in their own right. All this for a ‘little gaming show’".[25]

Invalid Channel said, "Bajo and Hex are hilarious to watch, they have so many funny moments. You can tell they know their shit, too, they’ve been around the block when it comes to games and they use terminology without it sounding super lame and out of place. At the same time, they make it easy for non-gamers, or people who wish they were gamers (ie: me) to understand. Bits and pieces feel really awkward though, and I know they put in awkward moments for comedic effect sometimes, but I find that these don’t always have the comedic effect that they’re probably going for, and end up going full circle just being plain awkward". It argues the "small size and down-to-earth-ness" of the show adds to its charm, by saying "a commercial version of the show would be way too polished and just wouldn’t feel right".[8] It ended its review by saying "all in all, Good Game is a good show [and] the reviews are quite good". While it thought there was room for improvement, it said "the show's got it’s niche and it should stick to it".[8]

Junglist and Hex controversy[edit]

You can't help but have noticed we’ve been quiet regarding Junglist's departure from the show which has really sucked because we're used to having such an honest and open relationship with you. For all sorts of reasons we are unable to tell you things that have happened over many months inside Team Good Game which have impacted on the production. That's just real life folks. We know it leaves many questions unanswered but we have reached that point where we really can’t say any more than that. But we can tell you this much… The decision to take Junglist off air was not forced upon us by ABC Management and it's one that is fully supported by all the GG team. We are gutted that it has come to this but in our opinion it absolutely had to happen. It's strange for us to read that so many of you think this is because we have suffered a raging case of political correctness gone mad or a wish to dumb the show down. That’s absolutely not right. We, as ever, will continue our quest to bring you the show for gamers by gamers but this has to be our last word on this – we have shows to make! Finally, we genuinely wish Junglist all the best, and we hope he finds a medium for his awesome analysis and presenting skills that works for him.

Team Good Game (Syd, Bajo, Moe, Tuk, Gog, Mafia, Jeremy Pencil, Palindrome), Discussion: Statement from the team...., ABC Message Boards, 29 Oct 2009[114]

In 2009, the ABC decided to run auditions for new hosts on ABC3. Stephanie "Hex" Bendixsen was announced with other hosts for ABC3, and was thought to be hosting Good Game: Spawn Point.[115] However it was revealed on the show's official forum that Bendixsen would in fact be replacing existing host Jeremy Ray entirely on both the original and new programme.[116]

Ray claimed the dismissal was because "they wanted a girl on the show", and stated that "mass appeal" was a direct quote from that meeting.[116] However fellow co-creator Janet Carr of the show replied back on that statement saying "Regardless of what Jung might say GG will NOT be dumbed down and I state again, the decision was nothing to do with bringing in a girl… I'm a girl and I started this show - I don’t care about the gender of the presenters - I just care about having the best people working on it."[117] The network first claimed Jeremy would stay behind the scenes in a writing capacity, then stated he would not be working on the show due to holiday travel plans that conflicted with the show's schedule. It then made the statement: "The reason for replacing Jeremy Ray was ongoing behind-the-scenes performance based issues."[116][118]

In response to questions regarding tweaks made to the show due to the changeover, Bajo replied: "We haven’t changed anything in particular since Hex joined us- the feel of the show is obviously quite different with a new host but we’ve always mixed up segments and tried different ideas on a regular basis to keep things fresh. This year we’ve had much more time to review games than before, and more of the team are getting involved in other segments and trying their skills at different jobs which is wonderful to see".[6] When asked about Junglist, Hex replied "we're cool."[16] In 2013, Hex said "I have seen [Jungalist] at events from time to time. We're not superbestfriends. But we're cool."[119]

Mobile application[edit]

The Good Game app.

In 2012, Good Game released an app that is the self-proclaimed "ultimate tool for staying on top of the latest game reviews and Good Game news while on the go". It has a bank of game reviews from the show, full episodes, the ability to make profiles, user reviews, sharing, and achievements.[120] The iPhone version was released first, and the Android one was developed for a released later that year. The Android version began Beta testing in August 2012, and users could test out the beta by sending Good Game an email with a request.[121] The average rating for the Android version is 4.7 out of 5 based on 351 user ratings.[122]

Book[edit]

In 1 December 2009, the companion book The Good Game Gamer's Guide to Good Gaming (ISBN 978-0-7333-2560-1) was released. The premise is that due to statistics like the Australian gaming industry profiting over $1 billion and in profit and 95% of Australian youth calling themselves gamers, "the chances are that someone close to you cares a bit about videogames and also knows a bit about...Good Game".[58] Therefore, this "guide to videogaming", designed to cater to the spectrum of gamers from "hardcore pros to excitable newbies", includes information on things like: "the best games of all time, the main genres of gaming, gaming trends, the key developers whose work you need to know about, how to get into the industry, how games evolved and where things are headed" was conceived. The book also helps readers to "understand developments, get good ideas, learn about ratings, make connections...find out what makes gamers tick...[and learn] tips on improving [their] gaming skills". Just like the show, it features descriptions of games which should be played, history about game development in Australia and other general video game related discussions. It was co-written by hosts Steven O'Donnell and Jeremy Ray and show producers Janet Carr and Maurice Branscombe, and was published by ABC Books.[58][123] Girl.com.au described the book as a "fantastic guide" and "brilliantly packaged", and added it is "not only a great insight into the gaming world, but also helpful for those in the know and those just getting a taste for gaming".[58] At the ABC shop, the book was given a rating of 4/5 based on 3 customer reviews.[124]

Spin-offs and other hosting gigs[edit]

Good Game: Spawn Point[edit]

Good Game: Spawn Point is a version of Good Game aimed at spawnlings (younger gamers), though Bajo and Hex have stressed in the past that the show is for gamers of all ages. The show is hosted by Bajo, Hex, and a robot named DARREN. Part of the reason for its creation is because "some of the content in the games isn't necessarily appropriate for a younger player". MolksTVTalk1 explains that the show is one of a few on TV that doesn't dumb it down for kids, and is genuinely enjoyable content for all ages. Hex said that they made a conscious effort not to be condescending as the younger gamers see right through it and get offended by it, and that they are game-savvy anyway. For this reason, only a few minor differences needed to be made, for the format's transition to a younger audience.[9] Bajo explained that it was Janet Carr's idea to do a kids show, and the team was like "yeah, of course we have to".[9] The audience interactivity spreads to Good Game: Spawn Point as well. One of the segments introduced in this spin-off is Ask Good Game, where the hosts answer gaming questions by the viewers. Bajo said "we get something like 3 emails a minute from kids", and Hex said "the letters and mail we get from kids are awesome".[9] Janet Carr said around 50% of Spawn Point's audience are female, and MolksTVTalk1 said the show has given many young female gamers a role model in Hex.[9] So many questions were asked regarding Minecraft that the team put a special F.A.Q. related to the game on the GG: SP website.[125] The show started in 2009, the same year that Hex joined the Good Game team.

Good Game: Pocket Edition[edit]

Good Game describes Good Game: Pocket Edition as an "add-on pack"[12] and "our concise edition - a weekly accessory to our regular shows, Good Game and Spawn Point". The episodes are around 10 minutes long, and aim to "give busy gamers a handy round-up of all that's been good in gaming".[126] The Pocket Edition tab of the main page explains that the show is "our chance to chat a bit more about the games we’re currently playing, round up the week’s reviews, and even spend a bit more time answering your gaming queries at the GG desk."[12] It acts as an "accessory" to both parent shows, Good Game and Spawn Point, and as such often takes bits of reviews from them, but sometimes has original content as well.[12] The show rarely has any other segments than the main game reviews (due to being about a third the length of a normal show), besides Ask Good Game and the P.E.-exclusive You Review - where Bajo and Hex read out user reviews of a reviewed game from one of the parent shows' previous episode. The show is currently in its second season after first being aired in February 2013. All the episodes are available as a playlist on Good Game's YouTube channel.[127] They can also be download from the main page, or streamed iView.[12] On 9 May 2014, it was announced that Good Game: Pocket Edition was no longer being produced, due to a change in schedule on ABC2.[128]

Episodes[edit]

Series overview
Series Episodes Originally aired
Series premiere Series finale
1 43 16 February 2013 (2013-02-16) 7 December 2013 (2013-12-07)
2 12 22 February 2014 (2014-02-22) 11 May 2014 (2014-05-11)
Series 1 (2013)[edit]
Date Reviews[129]
16 February 1 Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, DmC: Devil May Cry, Aliens: Colonial Marines, Dead Space 3
23 February 2 Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Antichamber, No Time To Explain
2 March 3 Crysis 3, Euro Truck Simulator 2, Persona 4 Golden, Proteus
9 March 4 Real Racing 3, Temple Run 2, Hackycat, Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3, Tomb Raider
16 March 5 Skulls of the Shogun, Serious Sam Double D XXL, Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, Path of Exile (beta)
23 March 6 God of War: Ascension, Runner2, SimCity
30 March 7 StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, Sonic Dash, Gears of War: Judgment, BioShock Infinite
6 April 8 Need for Speed: Most Wanted U, Neverwinter (beta), Luigi's Mansion 2
13 April 9 The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct, Year Walk, Lego City Undercover, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate
20 April 10 Bientôt l'été, Ridiculous Fishing: A Tale of Redemption, Penumbear, Incredipede, Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel
27 April 11 Defiance, BattleBlock Theater, Age of Empires II: HD Edition, Injustice: Gods Among Us
4 May 12 Dead Island Riptide, Guacamelee!, ShootMania Storm, Guild Wars 2: Super Adventure Box, Star Trek
11 May 13 Mortal Kombat, Slender: The Arrival, Motocross Madness, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
18 May 14 Monaco: What's Yours is Mine, Robot Unicorn Attack 2, StarDrive, Metro: Last Light
25 May 15 Zeno Clash II, Evoland, Badland, Deadly Premonition: The Director's Cut
1 June 16 Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move, Don't Starve, Dust 514, Grid 2
8 June 17 Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, Paper Titans, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity, Sanctum 2, Remember Me
15 June 18 Fuse, Reus, Ratchet and Clank: QForce, The Last of Us
22 June 19 Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (iOS), Game Dev Tycoon, Fire Emblem Awakening
29 June 20 E3 2013 Special (no reviews)
6 July 21 Deadpool, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, Kingdom Rush Frontiers, Company of Heroes 2, The Swapper
13 July 22 Ouya, TowerFall, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Wonderbook: Diggs Nightcrawler, Neverwinter
20 July 23 Unepic, Magrunner: Dark Pulse, Game & Wario, Wargame: AirLand Battle
27 July 24 New Super Luigi U, The Walking Dead: 400 Days (DLC), Dota 2
3 August 25 Oculus Rift (development kit), Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time, War Thunder (beta)
10 August 26 Halo: Spartan Assault, Cube World (alpha), Towncraft, State of Decay, Shadowrun Returns
17 August 27 Payday 2 (beta), Rogue Legacy, Pikmin 3
24 August 28 Disney Infinity, Rise of the Triad, Cloudberry Kingdom, InFlux, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
31 August 29 Saints Row IV, The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, Take On Mars, Unmechanical, Splinter Cell: Blacklist
7 September 30 Diablo III (console version), Gone Home, Flashback, Rayman Legends, Lost Planet 3
14 September 31 Killer Is Dead, Killzone: Mercenary, TMNT: Out of the Shadows, Pirates! Showdown, Total War: Rome II
21 September 32 Papers, Please, Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix, The Wonderful 101, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
28 September 33 Outlast, Grand Theft Auto V
5 October 34 FIFA 14, Pro Evolution Soccer 2014, Infinity Blade III, ARMA III
12 October 35 Tokyo Game Show Special (no reviews)
19 October 36 NBA 2K14, Rain, Beyond: Two Souls
26 October 37 Grand Theft Auto Online, Dragon's Crown, Skylanders: Swap Force, Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
2 November 38 The Wolf Among Us, Ep.1, Shelter, Pokémon X and Y, Monster Meltdown, Batman: Arkham Origins
9 November 39 Warface, Sonic Lost World, Nowhere Boys: The 5th Boy, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
16 November 40 Shadow Warrior, Lego Marvel Super Heroes, Wii U Party, Battlefield 4
23 November 41 Just Dance 2014, Ratchet & Clank: Nexus, Lilly Looking Through, Desktop Dungeons, CoD: Ghosts
30 November 42 Xbox One, Ryse: Son of Rome, Dead Rising 3, Super Mario 3D World, PlayStation 4, Killzone Shadow Fall
7 December 43 Awards Special (no reviews)
Series 2 (2014)[edit]
Date Reviews[130]
22 February 1 Risk of Rain, Peggle 2, Nidhogg, Octodad, Broken Age: Act 1
1 March 2 Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z, Strike Vector, Thief
8 March 3 AC4: Freedom Cry (DLC), TLoU: Left Behind (DLC), World of Tanks, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2
15 March 4 Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, TxK, Banished, Dark Souls II, South Park: The Stick of Truth
22 March 5 Strider, Drox Operative, Starbound, Lightning Returns: FFXIII
30 March 6 Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, Rambo: The Video Game, The Powerpuff Girls: Defenders of Townsville, Smash Hit, Titanfall
6 April 7 Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, Infested Planet, Angry Birds Epic, Yoshi's New Island, inFAMOUS Second Son
13 April 8 Luftrausers, NaissanceE, Constant C, The Lego Movie Videogame, Diablo III: Reaper of Souls
20 April 9 BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea (DLC), Star Wars: Assault Team, Cloudbuilt, The Elder Scrolls Online
27 April 10 Goat Simulator, Escape Goat 2, Don Bradman Cricket 14, Kinect Sports Rivals, Age of Wonders III
4 May 11 Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition, Clash of Clans, Trials Fusion, The Walking Dead: Season Two, Ep. 1-2
11 May[b] 12 War of the Vikings, Strike Suit Zero: Director's Cut, LEGO: The Hobbit, Child of Light

Good Game: Grandstand[edit]

Good Game: Grandstand is a monthly podcast hosted by Bajo, based around sport-related video gaming such as the title Grand Slam Tennis 2, and interviews with game-featured sports figures such as Pat Cash. It was broadcast on Grandstand Digital in Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth, and can still be accessed at the Grandstand and Good Game websites. So far, two episodes have aired - on 17 February, and 30 March 2012 respectively.[131] Bajo has been joined by games journalist Joab Gilroy in both shows.[132][133]


References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ Four episodes, from 22 July to 12 August, are scheduled to run for 60 minutes, due to ABC2 rescheduling.[1]
  2. ^ Due to a change in the ABC2 schedule, Good Game: Pocket Edition was cancelled, making the episode that aired on 4 May 2014 the final episode. The episode originally due to air on 11 May 2014 was released on the same day on YouTube.
Footnotes
  1. ^ O'Donnell, Steven; Bendixsen, Stephanie (8 July 2014). "Episode 21". Good Game. Season 10. Episode 21. Event occurs at 28:57. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xcj2H_k2Slw. Retrieved 6 July 2014. "Starting July 22, ABC2 is giving us more time. For four weeks in a row, Good Game will be on air for one hour."
  2. ^ a b Rage (19 June 2010). "Bajo & Hex from Good Game". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  3. ^ Good Game: Spawn Point. "Ask Good Game: DARREN, Andrew, Anna, Byron and more!". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  4. ^ http://www.spectres.com.au/seanimation/wordpress/?p=2907
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  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i B., Jason. "Live What You Love: Interview with Steven 'Bajo' O'Donnell". Pop Cults. Retrieved 2013-04-23. 
  7. ^ a b c Hadley, Mark (5 September 2011). "TV Review: Good Game". Hope 103.2. Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Good Game. "Good Game " invalid channel". Invalid Channel. Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Molk, Steve (17 February 2012). "Steph "Hex" Bendixsen & Stephen "Bajo" O'Donnell (MolksTVTalk interview EXCLUSIVE)". YouTube. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  10. ^ Darren (23 August 2010). "Ground control to Bajo and Hex". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
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  133. ^ Gilroy, Joab (29 March 2013). "Twitter / GAJoaby: I was on Good Game Grandstand ..". Twitter. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
Further reading
  • Branscombe, Maurice; Carr, Janet; O'Donnell, Steven; Ray, Jeremy (2009). The Good Game Gamer's Guide to Good Gaming. HarperCollins Australia. ISBN 978-0-7333-2560-1. 

External links[edit]