Charlie Brooker’s Gameswipe

By: Xander

On: September 30th, 2009

Charlie Brooker is a not-quite-well-enough-known-as-he-should-be british writer/telly person in the employ of ‘The Guardian’ paper. He also produces some brilliantly wry programs acting as commentary to society’s relationship with TV, the news media and most recently games.

Embedded is the first part of the 50-minute episode which covers everything from Street Fighter II to Perfect Cherry Blossom. The rest of the program is also online on youtube as well as on the UK-Accessible BBC iPlayer. Similar to the ‘Rev Rants’ of Destructoid’s Anthony Burch, only with a somewhat bigger budget, it’s an interesting and entertaining deconstruction of videogame culture. Whether viewed from the mind of an indie games developer, a general enthusiast or simply someone fed up with half-hour, half-arsed sensationalist pieces on gaming addiction featuring at least one fat guy who has customised his chair to double as a toilet, I cannot recommend it enough.

  • Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen

    You had me at Charlie Brooker ;)

  • Autonomous

    As descriptions of Touhou Project games go, “firework display being sick” is quite apt IMHO.

  • Malefact

    Charlie Brooker is pretty ace. It’s a shame that Gameswipe got stuffed into a single 50 minute episode vs. getting made into a full blown series unlike Screenwipe and Newswipe, but maybe it’ll be picked up in the future. Unfortunately that does mean the whole episode is a little bit all over the shop as a result, but it’s worth it for the cameo appearances alone. The Consolevania guys were great, as ever.

  • Epiméthée

    Did he mentionned the somewhat Edmund’s gaming experience that somehow leveled escalation in laste middle east crisis? This kind of detail is by large understimated by game developpers nowadays.

  • Adamski

    wow, I saw this last night but presumed it was quite old.

  • FISH


  • MisterX

    This is really fun to watch, but at least I got the impression that this is somewhat ment to show a non-gamer that videogames aren’t so bad, which I think this is not likely to achieve at all. Still, very entertaining :)

  • maanto

    “Suck it. No, don’t!”
    Great hosting. But like someone said, it’s kind of all over the place, trying to cover 50 years of game history in 50 minutes. That’s hard to do when you’re audience may be 50% completely in the dark about game history.

  • Alex

    Who wants hugs?! <3

  • Anthony Flack

    “Similar to the ‘Rev Rants’ of Destructoid’s Anthony Burch, only with a somewhat bigger budget”

    …and a vastly more entertaining presenter.

    Apparently it attracted more viewers than either Screenwipe or Newswipe, so with any luck we might get a proper series out of him yet.

  • salade

    “That’s hard to do when you’re audience may be 50% completely in the dark about game history.”
    and another half who knows all this already. I hope there is a sort of sequel to this. one where he addresses more pressing issues in games. still, pretty funny.

    I knew I wasn’t the only one who wondered where the media got all the “average gamers” they interviewed.

  • salade

    Also, it’s so suprising to see how delicately Britain deals with video games, since they apparently will show anything on T.V.

  • Blake

    3:50 Crystal Castles! Hell yeah.

  • Xion

    Jason Lytle music distracts me for its familiarity

  • Xion

    Oh cool. That was cool. I liked it. I just wish the video ha’nt kept messin’ up.

  • Julian

    Now somebody absolutely HAS TO make a game about counting pebbles on the beach.

  • X_Sheep

    Is part 1 the only upload with all those errors? If it is I’ll just wait until someone uploads a better quality one

  • The Monster King Ren

    Gaaah how could he put fighting games and beat’em ups in the same category NOOOOOOOOO

    That was one nice show though! Really enjoyed the witty British guy. In the end we learn that neither news media nor video games have really grown up… or did they????

  • !CE-9

    this is something groundbreaking for someone like me, who only used to watch tv when he absolutely had no other choice (for reasons I’m not quite ready to speak of yet).

    there were just too many brilliant moments to list, with just the right mixture of predictability and freshness. Dara O’Briain, Graham Linehan and Rebecca Mayes is genius, too.

  • Dracko

    Too bad Rebecca Mayes completely misunderstood Mad World and decided to advertise her ignorance in jolly song form, a skit which is no doubt still amusing to people who thought playing a lounge cover of Down with the Sickness in a zombie film is the height of clever comedy.

  • Sandcrab

    Why did he make up a game about waving to neighbors when they could have just shown Animal Crossing instead?

  • cookies

    great, i’m looking forward to this.

    “Similar to the ‘Rev Rants’ of Destructoid’s Anthony Burch, only with a somewhat bigger budget”

    does that “rev rant” guy really bother anyone else? he seems culturally dangerous to me, sort of like a video game version of glen beck.

  • ssp

    I’m not sure but my mental response to most of his videos is “lighten the fuck up and stop stammering”

  • Firesword

    The lines effect frames transiction in this video is similar (not identical) to when on commodore 64 a game was about to execute (after a shit load of time loading).

    I am not very interested in games history, i am more curios about future of gaming in 100 or 1000 years from now…

    Who knows maybe we will play in some kind of matrix…

    Hmm ok ok, gj Charlie Brown xD

  • Anarkex

    Depressing that the most entertaining thing in the video was a couple of hipsters bragging about how some shitty indie game from 25 years ago about mowing lawns is better than Super Mario Bros. HURRRRRR

  • Synnah

    “Why did he make up a game about waving to neighbors when they could have just shown Animal Crossing instead?”

    Because then he wouldn’t have been able to make an amazing visual gag about tipping a hat using the Wiimote.

  • Mark

    Great video.

    The fake games thrown in the middle were funny.

  • Anthony Flack

    Finally managed to watch the whole thing and it’s just so great.

    I thought the criticism of Madworld was dead-on and the review of the 50 Cent game proves that nobody can write poisonous invective quite as entertainingly as Charlie Brooker. Yes, better than Yahtzee, absolutely.

    And the discussion about game stories raised some good points. Also Charlie has been around long enough to remember Turbo Esprit and stuff like that; he knows his shit.

    Anarkex – I don’t think they were the funniest bit, but if you’re not familiar with Consolevania… well, maybe you didn’t pick up that they are kind of mocking themselves?

  • Mormo

    Are you the Anthony Flack that my sister dated? Cos you suck.

  • keyshiftKey

    Chun-Lee really does it for me with those high-kicks. When I was in high school I used to fantasize about her. Or her and that other chick, you know what I mean. Or Giles.

  • crabSand

    Pffft! Animal Crossing was a poor man’s sequel to Vegetable Crossing. That game rocked!

  • Anthony Flack

    @Mormo: I know you’re trolling for a response, but you won’t get one. This is a serious forum. If you want to annoy people, go somewhere else.

    P.S. It was your sister that sucked.

  • Paul Eres

    maybe it’s just me but i didn’t find this entertaining at all (gave up about 2 parts in) — rev rants are more interesting. the guy’s lack of attention span in part 2 while playing wolfenstein was idiotic and reminded me why i don’t like the way a lot of people play games (particularly fps players).

  • Adam

    @Paul Eres
    I think the point he was trying to make is that the game conveys the information in the wrong way, as in it could be conveyed through a cutscene. I feel the same way too, if there’s some idiotic talky bit, then OF COURSE you’re going to run around and not pay attention, you don’t want to be still in control but forced to listen, you would much rather be doing one or the other, not this hideous mismatch of both.

  • Abaleth

    The show starts off by saying that there is actually something to games, then spends the rest of its time repeating old stereotypes, like there’s never any storytelling (there is, in the best games), and then concentrating on the gaming world of 20 years ago.

    It’s guilty of what it’s trying to give voice against. Quite entertaining, I suppose, but ultimately fails to understand its medium.

  • Abaleth

    Ok, I suppose Linehan was actually talking sense, but then when it went on to ramble about violence in videogames. Well, that’s interesting, but not terribly enlightening.

  • Anthony Flack

    Ha, I don’t think it’s Charlie Brooker who is guilty of not understanding. I guess there’s no accounting for taste…

    I didn’t date Mormo’s sister by the way, and nor was it me who replied up there.

  • Anarkex

    @Anthony Flack

    There was an air of sarcasm in what I said. I understand they were goofing around, but they were still my favorite part of the video. Essentially the rest of this video only made me feel shittier about the state of gaming. Pretty much what Abaleth just said, but also regarding the guest speakers in particular:

    the first implied that books and movies don’t restrict a person from enjoying them, while games do. Disregarding how in order to read The Sound and The Fury, one must start with Fox in Socks. Video games are ABOUT challenge, and while the examples he gave were most definitely bullshit, it was because they were shallow and pedestrian game design choices, not because they were difficult, that made them hard to sit through.

    The second rambled on about how shit plots in video games are, complaining about how they were video games and not movies or books. “This is not a movie plot…it’s just too much like the plot to a video game” he says. That’s because it is a plot to a video game, numbskull.

    Basically the whole damn program pretended it “got” video games and video game culture, while still deriding video games for being exactly what they are: video games. OH THIS VIOLENCE IS CHILDISH AND SCHEWPID, WHY CAN’T WE HAVE PEACEFUL BORING GAMES LIKE SECONDLIFE. IT’S A SHAME VIDEO GAMES BEING THE GREAT MEDIUM FOR STORYTELLING NEVER TRANSCEND BEING GAMES.

    I’m sorry I can’t write a longer thing here, but suffice to say the program only enforces my fears of just how stupid people have become regarding video games.

  • cookies

    anarkex is pretty much right on, and the issues he raises are the same ones that i feel make “rev rant” somewhat irresponsible, if not “dangerous”.

    part of me is starting to feel that stories in video games are most effective as a marketing technique. bioshock, for instance, got a lot of mileage out of what turned out to be a pretty trite and pointless little gimmick. same with games like “judith”.

  • Spaced2020

    TEAM!!!! Rab n Ryan – Legends!

  • Pacian

    “Video games are ABOUT challenge”

    Maybe for you they are, but other people can enjoy them for other reasons.

    “The second rambled on about how shit plots in video games are, complaining about how they were video games and not movies or books.”

    That’s strange, because when I watched that segment I heard him complaining that plots in video games *were* taken from movies. He argued that game writers should be reading (non-fiction) books and praised the storytelling in Left 4 Dead (which is decidedly *not* movie or book style).

  • cookies

    Anarkex didn’t say he enjoys games because they are difficult, or that he enjoys especially challenging games. He said that games are “about” challenge, which is fair, if you see challenge and interactivity as related.