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Dara O'Briain's Go 8 bit - more fun that I thought it would be


Lately I've hugely enjoyed watching Go 8 Bit, an original programme on the Dave channel. It's like sitting on the sofa watching your friends play a console game or sitting next to them as they play on a PC, but on TV. I thought it was worth checking out, but it turns out that watching people on TV play games is more fun that you might think.

It's billed as Dara O'Briain's show, but it was created by Steve McNeil and Sam Pamphilon, who have done it as a live show. They are joined by Ellie Gibson, a gaming journalist, who does a bit on the history of the games they play. Each week they have a couple of guests, usually comedians, who join Steve and Sam's teams and play video games each other.

They usually start with some sort of retro game in the first round, like Galaxians. For the next two the guests each play their favourite game against the other team captain. The fourth round is pretty random. The last one is the big finale. One week they had a level of Little Big Planet especially written for the show. Another time they were playing Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, with the team captains sitting in a plastic container with a large balloon inflating above them as they read out the bomb manual.

The games are played out on a big screen at the back of the stage, and the way they get around having to look at the back of the contestants heads for the whole show is to rotate the stage back and forward by 90 degrees between the chatty bit and the game playing bit. While the rotation is going on the teams unfortunately feel the need to entertain us by, for example, pretending that they are paddling canoes.

The audience try to predict who they think will win each round, but it's often hard to call. Just because someone played a lot of a game 20 years ago doesn't mean they'll be any good against Sam or Steve, or sometimes it does.

If you're old and you like games, then I'll pretty sure you'll love this. If you're either or neither, then let me know in the comments what you think.

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