Logo used for series 1 and 2
|Country of origin||Scotland|
|No. of series||4|
|No. of episodes||41|
|Running time||10 mins (Series 1)
30 mins (Series 2)
11-13 mins (Series 3)
|Original network||BBC Two Scotland|
|Original release||December 2005|
VideoGaiden is a Scottish computer games television show that was broadcast by BBC Two Scotland. Its creators and presenters, Robert Florence ("Rab") and Ryan Macleod, were responsible for the internet-distributed videogaming show Consolevania, upon which the show is based.
The show began as six ten-minute episodes on BBC Two Scotland, broadcast at around midnight on Fridays starting in December 2005. The episodes were also able to be viewed online from the BBC's web site. A second series, consisting of six half-hour episodes, was commissioned by popular demand and began broadcast on Sunday 5 November 2006 at 11:10pm, with episodes once again available on the BBC's website. A third series consisting of eighteen weekly 11-minute online episodes began in December 2007, with three half-hour TV specials episodes also being produced. A Christmas special aired on 23 December 2007.
A fourth series of the show was announced on December 31, 2015. Series 4 began in March 2016, and consists of six online episodes and one televised special.
Series One (2005)
Each episode opened with a brief satirical mention of the show's status within the BBC and the feedback it has received. This was typically followed by the first of many discursive game reviews. These featured one of the two lead presenters walking around an indoor or outdoor setting discussing the game in question. Footage from the game was superimposed on background objects and occasionally cut to directly during the discussion.
Somewhat in keeping with the way in which Consolevania was shot on MiniDV, the majority of series was filmed on a Sony HVR-Z1U . This small scale camera made in possible to shoot series in 16:9, but without an expensive DigiBeta kit and crew; something that the small production budget would not allow.
Recurring features unique to the first series were sketches about terrible videogames pitches (for example "Black and White Minstrel Show 2006"), Glasgow hard-man Barry Anoki reporting on videogames news, and "Devco", a soap about videogame development. The "Gaiden Top 100" was ostensibly a series of talking-head interviews on the best games of all time, but in fact provided thinly veiled mockery or game-inspired jokes.
Each episode in this series ended with a brief sketch which ran over the end credits, featuring the fictional world-famous videogamer Legend (a carry-over from Consolevania) discussing his childhood.
Series Two (2006)
The second series had less of a sketch basis. While the opening comments and the style of reviews were the same and the Top 100 returned, most of the comedy was changed. This series also included a wide range of special guests, such as journalist Charlie Brooker and actor Colin Baker appearing in character as the Sixth Doctor.
Non-game reviews were featured in the style of a new games journalism panel discussion called "Eternal Pixel" (compare to Newsnight Review). More episodes of Eternal Pixel were filmed than aired, with plans to release these additional episodes online; however, these did not come to fruition. In the first three episodes there was a "funeral" for a now-deceased console, followed by recommendations of notable games. Each episode included "A Warning From History", showcasing appalling old gaming action, followed by a game recommendation from Socrates, a "games criticism robot" made from cardboard. Of particular note was the "Gaiden Guide to..." series by Robert Florence, sternly calling for change in a particular aspect of gaming culture (for example standards of journalism). Each episode of the second series signed off with a song about the series' far-from-universal appeal.
The show also ran an (apparently BBC-sanctioned) campaign to have the Shenmue series either continued or permanently consigned to history. Rab and Ryan called on gamers to produce Shenmue tributes or outright mockery, respectively. Updates on the progress of the campaign including notable comments on the internet were included in each episode. Rab won overall, with the public favouring the return of Shenmue. However, an unofficial statement from Sega warned them not to expect a new installment for some time.
The series ended with "The VideoGaiden Awards 2006" in which Rab and Ryan chose the best game of 2006. The winner of this award was Hitman: Blood Money. It was also in this episode that Rab fell on Socrates, crushing him beyond repair in the process.
Series Three (2007-2008)
Series three was broadcast online on the BBC's VideoGaiden website, with each weekly episode lasting around 11 to 13 minutes. The series generally contained two regular reviews lasting a couple of minutes each, and one shorter review comprising only videogame footage and voiceovers. These would be interspersed with short comedy sketches. Each episode would also have a bookending pair of sketches that would only rarely be returned to during the course of the series as a whole.
An ongoing serial called Hunter and Rayorg featuring CGI versions of Rab and Ryan was one of only two recurring sketches. The other was VideoGaiden Worldwide News, which had Rab and Ryan interviewing a number of correspondents: a manager from a games store in Scotland (G-Force, Glasgow) who announced that week's top-selling titles; an English correspondent who is clearly Scottish; and a woman in Japan, who would always end up reviewing Japanese cuisine, despite claiming that she was talking about videogames. Each week would also see Rab and Ryan trying to contact a representative in the US, before announcing that they couldn't get the satellite link-up working and giving up. This was changed briefly in episodes four and five, when US comedians Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim (both of Tom Goes to the Mayor fame) made guest appearances.
Series Four (2016)
On New Year's Eve 2015, Ryan Macleod and Robert Florence via Periscope announced a return of videoGaiden, after eight years. The first episode was released on YouTube on March 3, 2016. Series 4 features review segments, the videoGaiden top 100, Ryan's coverage of indie games, Rab's coverage of boardgames and segments of the two realising they're trapped in an existential prison.
VideoGaiden's 100 best games of all time
This is the list of the show's favourite games:
- Rez (DC/PS2)
- Chuckie Egg
- Final Fantasy VII (PS1/PC)
- Hired Guns (Amiga)
- Ico (PS2)
- Moonstone (Amiga)
- Mortal Kombat
- Street Fighter Alpha 3
- Half Life (PC)
- M.U.L.E. (C64)
- Star Control 2 (PC)
- Hovver Bovver
- Jimmy White's 'Whirlwind' Snooker
- Another World
- Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (PS3)
- Civilization 2 (PC)
- Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2
- Operation Flashpoint (PC)
- Duke Nukem
- Loco Roco (PSP)
- Twisted (3DO)
- World of Warcraft (PC)
- Serious Sam
- PN03 (GC)
- Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball (Xbox)
- Dark Souls
- System Shock 2
- Hotline Miami
- Sensible Soccer
- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
- BioShock Infinite
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