DAN STINEHART: Comic/Graphic Artist

G4TV: My Thoughts 102612

(via the Pocket Games PSP DVD I still have)

Recently the network decided to cancel various shows relating to video games, namely X-Play and Attack of the Show (or AOTS). I had a hunch this would happen, then again it was the very reason why I lost interest in the network several years ago. Because of the change in direction of a channel unsure whom its still trying to appeal, this particular topic will explain my thoughts regarding G4 along with the previous incarnations prior.

It was in the very early 2000s when my local cable provider included a new set of channels. One of them was TechTV. This was the first time I heard about the likes of Adam Sessler, Victor Lucas, Tommy Tallarico, among others. Before I discovered Extended Play, The Electric Playground, etc. I mainly relied on gaming magazines to get me in the know (since I was too stupid enough to not read video game news via the internet at that time, up until 2006-ish). Games such as Ico, Viewtiful Joe, etc. were many that brought to my attention from these shows. It was definitely something else. (I also enjoyed TechTV’s other programming too since I have a fondness for technology, past and present.)

I still remember watching the series premiere of X-Play back in 2004. I also remembered it aired at 11:30pm EST (if this isn’t the right time, let’s say I stayed up late to watch it). When I saw Morgan Webb for the first time, the first thing that came to mind was “Adam and Morgan look like Calvin and Susan!” (Calvin and Hobbes reference for those unaware.) This was also the time I was introduced to G4 since both networks had a brief merger prior to G4 taking over.

The shows I still loved from TechTV were still there along with new shows from G4. I also remember taking E3 seriously thanks to the network. G4 during its heyday was something special. I said to myself “Finally, a TV channel that knows me very well.”

That moment however didn’t last very long though. Probably around mid-to-late 2005 (or later, can’t remember) I began to notice a metamorphosis the network was (and still is) currently in. Some of my favorite programming began to die off left and right. G4, a network once known for its video game-based shows, was now turning into a Spike TV look-a-like. Can’t say it was unfortunate, but can’t also say I was in favor of it either. It wasn’t until afterward that my cable provider had their own metamorphosis since this was around the time digital cable became increasingly popular and dependable. (I may be wrong, perhaps it was popular prior? Memories, how I loathe thee.) Regardless, G4 moved to digital and I had no other channels to relate to my particular leisure.

And to be honest, it wasn’t a loss. Right around that time I was getting used to reading video game news via the internet and never went back. It was also around this time my interest in TV programming decreased. Again, not a loss. (Hmm, every time I mention “not a loss” I’m reminded of Elizabeth Bishop’s poem One Art. I love that poem- um, anyway…)

Even when G4 was in that state, I barely watched it. And when the switch to digital boomed years later, I practically moved on from G4 and focused my attention on online news articles as well as original webseries I’ve grown fond of since. I still watch TV here and there but not frequently like I used to. I must be getting old. Not really, but it kinda feels that way. (OKAY OKAY, back to the main topic, sigh…)

The G4 I once remembered was no longer the G4 I once remembered. And despite their dismissal of video game-based programming, my perspective on the network didn’t change because I knew there would come a day they’d abandon it altogether. And yet, they’re still in a situation on what demographic they’re trying to attract. They’re still having that identity crisis they’ve been having for years. No rhyme or rhythm. It remains to be a pseudo-dyslexic mess.

Despite all that is said, for those who enjoyed the programming that is never to be anymore, remember: the art of losing is not hard to master, and none of these will bring disaster. (Here I go with One Art again. Still, I love that poem.)

With that, this concludes my thoughts.

Dan

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2 responses

  1. While I was never able to watch either X-Play or AotS, I think certain forms of game media are running aground quicker than others. I, for one, strongly believe that print media, gaming or otherwise is going to run aground the first. Unless, they adapt smartly like Killscreen or something, I think I can see all of them going the EGM-way in the near future.

    Gaming media on TV is pretty much the same. Despite the fact that TV is fast gaining a reputation of being a medium capable of providing the same quality of drama and entertainment as movies (post Sopranos), anything related to gaming media on TV are generally the prime candidates for the “sellout” tag and they’re treated in the same manner MTV gets treated by most of us. “Too mainstream for their opinion to have any value”.

    2012/10/27 at 12:00 AM

    • Dan J Stine

      I’m impressed that magazines like Newsweek made the transition to digital sooner than later. I mean, whenever I’m at a local store with a magazine stand in place, I just think about how all of these publications feel about the changes in innovation while some remain conservative about how they do business. Not to take sides on the matter, just a train of thought is all.

      A good example would be the fact my town does not have an actual comic book store, so I use Comixology to purchase new releases (especially SAGA which I read the first six issues and intend on buying Volume 1 eventually). I find such secondary options to be a benefit given I embrace both methods, consumer-wise.

      The very reason why I hardly watch TV these days is because of the mainstream approach to things, as you previously mentioned. I recently watched an episode of Chicago Fire (from Law & Order creator Dick Wolf) and my first impressions suggest the series won’t last very long.

      As stated earlier, I gave up on G4 long ago, and I wish the best of luck to those involved in the soon-to-be defunct programming on their future endeavors.

      2012/10/27 at 12:42 AM