GamesMaster 2021: The series returns to our screens (this time getting an early showing on E4’s Youtube channel from Sunday November 21st) – 23 years on from when it ended, but without what made it special – the presenting talents of Dominik Diamond. I don’t know whether he was approached for this (aside from the fact that – as he states – he’s living in Canada), but as well as none of him, there’s none of commentator Dave Perry, either.
So, this new incarnation already has a tough row to hoe, and when I saw the trio of nobodies who are in their place, I wasn’t impressed.
The only addition to the line-up who does have some authority is Sir Trevor McDonald as the GamesMaster. Back in the day, from 1992 to 1998, that role was taken by Sir Patrick Moore, but he sadly passed away in 2012, and is forever tinkling away on his xylophone up in the sky at night…
Seeing himself as the main presenter is a shouty Scot called Rab Florence. No, me neither. He’s accompanied by token female (in how the casting of this new programme comes across) Frankie Ward, plus Ty Logan. Again – to the other two – no, me neither.
Only two of these have verified Twitter ticks. Can you guess which?
For me, a better bet for female presenters would be the original Bits girls Aleks Krotoski, Emily Newton Dunn and Emily Booth. (Okay, not girls anymore, but I’m about the same age, and I’m not a boy, but you get the point)
Sir Trevor appearance with the same ‘circular head’ look that Sir Patrick also did back in the day, although our new GM doesn’t have the same robotic cap and eye-covering as Patrick did. So, that’s a missed trick.
As soon as it begins, we’re into the first challenge, where Dean has drawn on eyebrows, plus earrings from Eastenders‘ Pat Wicks, and more tattoos than Robert De Niro in Cape Fear. I’m understanding their nickname is “Shanghai’d” (that does get mentioned within their name, but without subtitles at the time of viewing this preview, it’s not clear, as normally, subtitles would indicate this). And they don’t wear socks. I don’t get why anyone would abstain from wearing socks. They make my shoes comfy. Oh well, let’s just try and get through this. It’s only an hour long (well, 49 minutes plus adverts).
They have to beat a particular level in a Mario game (I didn’t catch which one) in a speedrun of 2:30 max. The prize, if they win, is the usual GamesMaster golden joystick. Apparently, if they fail, they throw them into the abyss and they actually get killed. Hmm… can we text that on Huey, Dewey and Louie, first? Y’know, just to make sure the abyss is working 😉
I won’t give away any outcomes, but it was disturbing that Rab says he enjoys “looking at Mario’s wee arse”.
Frankie’s commentary of the challenges is incredibly bland, while Ty is occasionally amongst the audience – with his broken microphone – to get their reactions, and he’s not helping matters, either, especially when he tries to be hip and introduces himself as “Your boy, Ty Logan”. Yep, I haven’t even reached the first ad break and I’m already wanting to throw a brick at the screen.
Since the new show is sponsored by Facebook/Oculus Quest 2, there’s a single VR challenge, this week taken part by arcade employee and retro game hoarder Sam Tuff. His task is Beat Saber. Apparently, he’s aiming for a “Full Combo” whatever that is.
More challenges in search of a golden joystick are lesbian gamer couple Ems and Gabby, DJ $noochie Shy (no, me neither), plus a couple of twin brothers called Ketchup and Mustard.
So, diversity boxes are ticked not just in the presenters (man, woman and shouty Scot), but also the contestants in terms of types of condiment. I didn’t see that one coming.
There’s also a review of Cruisin Blast from Rab, which came out two months ago. For some reason, he had to film that in Scotland whilst looking at a capsized boat. Couldn’t he review something more up to date?
So, no spoilers as to who wins at golden joystick, and who dies, but the important thing is… that we survived.
On the plus side, we do get the return of Big Boy Barry (here, with his son, little Larry). So, we get one connection to the original series.
Overall, bringing back GamesMaster was a good idea. Bringing it back in this version, is awful. Okay, I wouldn’t really throw the three into the abyss in reality, but there’s just seems a complete lack of atmosphere about the entire proceedings, especially when the three presenters pretend to act like best friends. This just feels like an incredible mis-step.
How about, we just scrap the awful trio and only have Sir Trevor on this, please? Okay, you need a presenter, so get the aforementioned Dave Perry.
Oh, and there’s a post-credits scene…
Thanks to our friends at Channel 4 for the screener prior to release.
GamesMaster 2021 begins on the GamesMaster Youtube channel Sunday November 21st, and then it’s shown on E4 on Wednesday November 24th at 10pm. After broadcast, each episode is on All 4.
Episode 1 Score: CANCELLED AFTER ONE SERIES
The GamesMaster: Sir Trevor McDonald
Presenters: Robert Florence (as Rab Florence), Frankie Ward, Ty Logan
Guests: $noochie Shy, Big Boy Barry
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.