After a 23 year absence, GamesMaster will be returning to our screens. The pioneering show was one of the first to bring games and gaming culture to a mainstream TV audience and, while of its time in certain respects, was never quite replaced by what followed. Twitch is fine and all, but you haven't lived until you've seen a grown man spit the dummy after falling off Mario 64's Cool, Cool Mountain slide.
The series returns in what Channel 4 insists on calling "a social-first" form, with episodes appearing first on E4's Youtube before airing on the normal E4 channel. The show will be co-produced by Future's Barcroft TV (disclosure: PC Gamer is owned by Future) and Alaska TV.
"The series will see celebrities, gaming stars and super fans all take part in challenges, races and epic fights. Through virtual battles across a range of games, the competitors will try everything in their power to claim a legendary Golden Joystick Trophy. But whilst they play, they’ll be watched over by the all-knowing GamesMaster, famously portrayed in the original by Sir Patrick Moore."
Sir Patrick Moore was inextricable from the show's original run: a monocled astronomer with a very posh voice and unusual diction, this seemingly odd fit was at the heart of GamesMaster's slightly surreal atmosphere. Sadly Sir Patrick died in 2012, and the announcement makes no mention of who the new GamesMaster will be: though it does note that Simon Amstell, a comedian and British TV personality, was on the show when younger.
John Farrar, executive producer at Barcroft, says "I grew up watching GamesMaster and feel a real sense of pride and responsibility in bringing this ground breaking brand back to life [...] Although the games have changed, the energy, mayhem and punk spirit of the original show will be unmistakably the same."
Elsewhere, the press release makes the bizarre claim that "games now look better than movies" before going on to use phrases like "fully cross platform branded deal" which I will (mostly) spare you. GamesMaster is about watching kids play games against each other and having a laugh when it all goes wrong, and hopefully this gets at least that part of it right. The release makes no mention of the show's original talent beyond Sir Patrick Moore, while former presenter Dominik Diamond (what a name!) now lives up a mountain in Alberta wrestling bears.
The new GamesMaster will premiere later this year on E4's Youtube.