Beat the Baker

Tom Baker's Interactive Sci-fi Quiz cover

Ta to Jonsmad for telling us about this one: the Tom Baker’s Ultimate Sci-Fi Quiz interactive DVD. Competiton for Beat The Geek?

The following thoughts occur, roughly in chronological order:

  • The cover does not exactly betray the care and attention so obviously festooned on the Beat The Geek cover.
  • But that is a very Dwarfian ellipse around the logo.
  • What the fuck is Tom Baker wearing, anyway?
  • The trailer on the Play entry includes a clipĀ from Red Dwarf!
  • “over 500 questions”? Beat The Geek promises “more than 1,300”. So the release has less than half the lifespan of BTG.
  • It’s actually the same price as Beat The Geek on Play – £14.99. Hmmm.
  • Excellently though, it is Region 0.
  • So, Tom Baker will do shit like this, but won’t do anything for Big Finish?

It’s released on the 6th November 2006 – a couple of weeks after Beat the Geek. In all fairness, it actually looks quite good, with some excellent choices in the clips especially – but I hope that it doesn’t take sales away from BTG, as I think it’s obvious which product has had more attention lavished onto it…

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37 Responses to Beat the Baker

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  1. Poor old Tom. He’s so much better than this and narrating that bloody Little Britain. Somebody needs to give him a proper job soon.

  2. G&T Admin

    Join him, in this, his Inexplicable Fading Career*.

    *WARNING: obscure Lee & Herring reference.

  3. >Excellently though, it is Region 0

    It will be interesting to see if it remains so – often these things are initially listed as having no region and then change later on.

    However if it is region 0, it immediately becomes more clear as to why Tom Baker is involved. To many across the pond he is Doctor Who and still one of the most recognizable faces in Sci-fi lore. BBC Kids Canada for example regularly repeats only two of all the incarnations of Doctor Who; Baker’s and Davison’s.

    As to buying it, in the absence of Beat the Geek in Region 1(cough, cough) I will definately be looking at this for Christmas and might I suggest that the dimwits who are GNP’s suppliers over here may wish to closely follow the sales figures in North America. You never know, they may yet see the light (although after May releases and 6 month gaps between DVD’s and various other abominations, I can’t say I’m terribly optimistic…)

  4. > Somebody needs to give him a proper job soon

    He could have done Big Finish audios as mentioned.

  5. Well it says on play that it’s region 0 at the top of the page.
    and it say Region 2 in the technical details further down.
    So work that one out? Maybe that makes it region 1 when you
    calculate it as an average?

    That trailer did make it look more interesting than the cover suggests.

    On the cover he is holding up his hands and saying “look the cheque was this big!”

    Jon

  6. >How many ridiculous and ill-informed comments can you get on a comments system?

    I don’t have a definite number, but I’m sure you’ll let me know when I close in on it.

    UltraMegaEdit: After looking at the page you linked to, I hafta say…I never in all my puff wanted to smack so many people upside the head. Not too hard, mind, just hard enough to teach ’em not to be dumbfucks.

  7. Support Beat the Geek and Red Dwarf on DVD – respond to the comments!

    I’m (marginally) serious. If you believe in BTG, don’t just come back to G&T and make fun of them – get in there and mix it up. It’s the only way word will get out that maybe this isn’t just a tacky knock-off…

  8. G&T Admin

    A fair enough point. It’s just I usually avoid provoking arguments because I can’t be arsed with them.

    But what the hell – it’s for a good cause.

  9. >Somebody needs to give him a proper job soon

    He could have done Big Finish audios as mentioned.

    I’d hazard a guess that if you spoke to Tom’s agent and/or accountant, Little Britain would be seen as a “proper job” far more than Big Finish.

    (not that I think like an agent and/or accountant now that I’m an accountant for an agent, of course ;-) )

    But whether or not you like LB, you can’t deny that by doing that job he’s suddenly put himself right back in the public eye again. And that’s something that doing Big Finish plays wouldn’t do. I don’t think he’d be doing this DVD, or have done that BT thing, if not for Little Britain.

    And besides, if he’s not enthusiastic about Big Finish and what they stand for (in the way that Baker C, Davison, McCoy and McGann are), I wouldn’t want him doing them. Better some fantastic performances from interested ex-Doctors than a half-hearted one from the one who happens to be the most famed.

  10. G&T Admin

    Seb is, of course, completely correct. LB very much is a “proper job”. And agreed that there’s no point doing Big Finish stuff if he’s not keen on it.

    Anyway, I’ve answered on DVD Active…

  11. G&T Admin

    I’ll chip in later if the need arises, but you’ve covered everything worth saying for now, I think!

  12. G&T Admin

    It’s an interesting point this, actually. I remember on the Caitlin MORON thread that Andrew pointed out that we should actually try and argue *against* people being idiots, not just withdraw to our own corner of the web and slag them off.

    It’s an entirely fair enough point. It’s just based on the fact that I’ve never once managed to convince anyone who is being unreasonable enough to annoy me to change their mind. Maybe I’ll strike lucky this time…

  13. G&T Admin

    It gets me thinking, though. Obviously we know that all that was said there was a load of bollocks. Not because we’ll support anything the franchise does – but simply because we know the right information to have an informed discussion.

    But what kind of things do *I* say that really piss other people off? I hope I don’t say much… but there are subjects I don’t know a huge amount about that I enter into discussions about. I’ve probably said some things that have made people want to go and shoot themselves too. It’s slightly disconcerting.

  14. > It’s an entirely fair enough point. It’s just based on the fact that I’ve never once managed to convince anyone who is being unreasonable enough to annoy me to change their mind. Maybe I’ll strike lucky this time…

    I think it’s important to also remember that it’s a public message board. You’re unlikely to win over a specific opponent – and if that’s all you’re after, it’s off to the world of PMs and email – but you CAN win over some of the readership, most of whom never comment. You may be addressing one person, but you’re doing it for the public forum. Y’know, like Question Time.

    Say 30 people read that thread. 5 negative posters put off ten otherwise mildly-interested readers. Without offering them an alternate viewpoint – “I’ve seen the quiz in action and it’s not a last desperate release” – some will take their cash and spend it elsewhere.

    Is that a bit mercenary? Maybe. But the survival of a franchise IS financial. And a fanbase can aid that survival – with simple, vocal action as well as purchase power.

  15. I suppose the secret is to shut up until you know what it is you’re talking about. Altho’ if I really did that, I’d never say a word…

    Whoops, Andrew got there before I did. Sorry.

  16. G&T Admin

    Good point, well made.

    Wish I’d said I’d seen it in action now. Ah well, I’ll say it if I get a reply.

    EDIT: In reponse to Andrew’s post, obviously.

  17. G&T Admin

    I suppose the secret is to shut up until you know what it is you’re talking about. Altho’ if I really did that, I’d never say a word…

    The only thing I know enough about to state things confidently is Red Dwarf.

    That’s not even a joke.

    And even then, I still get things wrong…

  18. Go on Jon, Eye of the Tiger. Son.

    Alternatively let me at ’em uncle Scooby. As Ian and longer ago Cappsy (and even Seb) will know I relish a good bit of passionate debate.

  19. It’s beginning to look more like a G&T user outing, than a DVD forum……
    A G&T ‘Have-Your-Say-Away-Day…

  20. Mr. Ellard, you have avoided tackling the issue of Tom Baker’s DVD with great adroitness and perhaps just a little redirection(!)

    So, two questions sir:
    a) Do you rhink this DVD constitutes legitimate competition for the excellent looking BTG?
    b) If (and I agree this is still a big if) this DVD is sold as region 0 / 1, would you yourself or GNP’s North American suppliers take note of its sales performance?

    I believe GNP’s suppliers have made a big mistake in not marketing BTG over here, especially given the superb attention devoted to the project; after all, if interactive DVD quizzes are a ‘new’ market in NA (and they are not by the way – I have seen various Disney and Trivial pursuit DVD games marketed aggressively here), what better advertisement for them than BTG?

  21. G&T Admin

    It’s beginning to look more like a G&T user outing, than a DVD forum……
    A G&T ‘Have-Your-Say-Away-Day…

    So, any ideas for our next trip out?

    I hear Ain’t It Cool News is particuarly dangerous this time of year.

  22. > Mr. Ellard, you have avoided tackling the issue of Tom Baker’s DVD with great adroitness and perhaps just a little redirection(!)

    Oh, sorry, really? I don’t remember anything being asked of me! So, to answer what you asked…with some points that were probably bordering on the bleedin’ obvious:

    > a) Do you rhink this DVD constitutes legitimate competition for the excellent looking BTG?

    Do I think a SF DVD quiz hosted by a much-loved SF actor consititutes competition to our own SF DVD quiz which comes out only slightly sooner, stars TWO much-loved SF actors and is aiming for the self-same Christmas market?

    I’m going to say….yyyyyyyyyyyyyy-no.

    Was that a trick question?

    > b) If (and I agree this is still a big if) this DVD is sold as region 0 / 1, would you yourself or GNP’s North American suppliers take note of its sales performance?

    Well those figures won’t likely be made public, so unless both DVDs chart (very unlikely) we won’t KNOW how well it does.

    That said, a Region 0 release isn’t the same as a North American release, and I doubt the overseas sales percentage would be massively different from ours. (Certainly almost anyone who considers importing is already able to play multi-region anyway – it goes with the, ahem, territory.)

    > I believe GNP’s suppliers have made a big mistake in not marketing BTG over here, especially given the superb attention devoted to the project;

    But the quality isn’t (sadly) what counts. Money talks, and if Geek doesn’t sell well in the UK over Christmas (and hey, I dunno if it will, this is new territory for us and I’m seeing a LOT of antipathy) the U.S. distributor will be completely justified in patting itself on the back.

    If it does megabucks…well, that’s the kind of thing that might make them think again and take the risk. But let’s be clear, it WOULD be a risk.

    > after all, if interactive DVD quizzes are a ‘new’ market in NA (and they are not by the way – I have seen various Disney and Trivial pursuit DVD games marketed aggressively here), what better advertisement for them than BTG?

    That’s not how it works, though. We could have released Dwarf DVDs three years sooner than we did – hey, it’s a great advertisement for DVD players! – if our goal was the propping up of someone else’s market, rather than making a profit in our own. We would have sold less than half as many DVDs. Charting well, sure, but with less turnover.

    If you’re Star Wars, or any large franchise, maybe you you can take that risk. And a studio will go to bat for a new technology because it belongs to their sister company or whatever.

    We are not a major studio.

    As a small franchise, we have to be guided by what’s in place to be ‘exploited’. You won’t see HD releases until/unless the market gets large enough. Just because it’s being heavily advertised now, just because the consumer is aware of it, doesn’t mean it’s ready for Red Dwarf. Sure, you’ve seen some DVD games around, but the USA is at least a year behind the UK so far in this area – you don’t have the numbers. Not in quantity and variety of product, and certainly not sales.

    Seriously, we’re neither Disney nor Trivial Pursuit. Those are mainstream, and in the States we remain very niche. Say we get 1% of all the UK DVD market with the usual releases (we don’t, obviously, cos that’s a huge number, but let’s pretend). Say we get 0.2% of the States’ DVD sales (again a crazily high number).

    Now say the USA only sell a TOTAL of a million interactive game DVDs in a year. We can only, at best, get our same slice – 0.2%. Which is 2,0000 units. Not even enough to cover the production cost.

    Yous see my point? It’s not that they don’t want it out there. It’s that they don’t want to lose money. It’s a damned shame, I’m with you there, but we’re still a long way from knowing if this experiment will pay off.

  23. G&T Admin

    Money talks, and if Geek doesn’t sell well in the UK over Christmas (and hey, I dunno if it will, this is new territory for us and I’m seeing a LOT of antipathy)

    You see, I think the problem is – there’s been very few interactive DVD games released so far that has been worth a huge amount. Having seen it in action, I think Beat The Geek doesn’t just set a new standard – it pretty much redefines the DVD game genre. All these people who aren’t excited about it is purely because they aren’t excited about DVD games – because most of them are crap, or at best mediocre. Not because they’re not excited about Dwarf.

    So back to what you were saying yesterday – fans need to spread the word…

  24. > Mr. Ellard, you have avoided tackling the issue of Tom Baker’s DVD with great adroitness and perhaps just a little redirection(!)

    >Oh, sorry, really? I don’t remember anything being asked of me!

    I apologize, you are quite correct. I suppose I should have said that I was surprised, given the competitive nature of this other game, that you chose to focus on the dim-witted comments on DVD interactive as opposed to discussing the actual game itself. I thought that this article being on this website with the commentary by Mr. Hoare posed a sort of implied question. (Ok, I f***ed up!! Sorry…)

    >Do I think a SF DVD quiz hosted by a much-loved SF actor consititutes competition to our own SF DVD quiz which comes out only slightly sooner, stars TWO much-loved SF actors and is aiming for the self-same Christmas market?

    >I’m going to say….yyyyyyyyyyyyyy-no.

    >Was that a trick question?

    No and for the following reasons:
    -Traditional, aminstream ‘pop’ sci-fi is not necessarily dwarf (although I acknowledge there was a quick RD reference in the play trailer)
    -As you have previously mentioned, BTG is aiming for a broader audience by the inclusion of a substantial general knowledge questions
    -This game has 500+ questions. BTG has 1300+ questions and I seriously doubt that the competition has anything as elaborate as the numerous bonus levels to be found on BTG, hence I hoped that GNP would be confident in kicking the buttocks of any competition
    -Given the excellent marketing of BTG on the RD website, the ?5000 competition etc., I was curious as to how you thought this would stack up well against the marketing (or lack thereof) of this DVD

    There are other reasons, but I’m too lazy to put them down…

    Finally, your points on North America and the DVD gaming market – superb sir and it helps to clear up any misconceptions I may have had concerning the availability of product, how these decisions are made and so on.

  25. Such politeness! Lumberjack or not, I’m not sure you’re on the right site for civil discussion! ewhere’s the swearing, the insults, the references to female body parts?! :-)

    >-Traditional, aminstream ‘pop’ sci-fi is not necessarily dwarf (although I acknowledge there was a quick RD reference in the play trailer)

    Yeah, they cleared a clip for use. Basically, in the UK at least, Dwarf is as mainstream as…well, anything. It’s never been snotty about trying to please an entire audience. Never wanted to be cult – and never really was, despite perceptions.

    Anyway – most Dwarf buyers seem to know and like at least one or two other genre shows, and certainly movies. Which means they may well be interested in the Baker disc.

    But, well, we’re aware, rather than bothered. Just as any other comedy or SF series are competition to our series releases (everything from Little Britain to new Who), a new lighthearted DVD quiz based around SF is too close to ignore, yet different enough not to panic about.

    You resign yourself to the fact that, say, The Office will outsell you. Because it’s newer, because it’s the in thing, and because it ultimately nailed a wider audience of buyer. We see it, we don’t sweat it.

    > -As you have previously mentioned, BTG is aiming for a broader audience by the inclusion of a substantial general knowledge questions

    Weird, isn’t it? I actually think we’re still a risky thing for seeming SO Dwarfish. Baker’s screams ‘all generic SF’. So I know, as a buyer, that even though I’ll do no good with Trek questions, I’ll get some Star Wars ones too. Which is to say, within genre limits (and the big SF movies mean there aren’t many) it’s good enough for me, whoever I am.

    I DO worry that we’ve not hit the non-Dwarf sections hard enough. Maybe people won’t notice and think it’s all about RD. But hopefully we’ve nailed it. The cover copy is all achingly, painstakingly deliberate!

    Also, as an example – I don’t dig Trek. So a Trek quiz that plays a general category still won’t interest me. At all. And we may suffer from the “He likes that show, I’m not sure why – but I’ll be damned if he’s forcing it on the rest of us on boxing day” syndrome.

    > -This game has 500+ questions. BTG has 1300+ questions and I seriously doubt that the competition has anything as elaborate as the numerous bonus levels to be found on BTG, hence I hoped that GNP would be confident in kicking the buttocks of any competition

    I wish quality sold, and that was the end of it. I really do. I think it’s an AMAZING product, I’m so insanely proud of the work we’ve all done. And at the same time, I know ‘Ricky Gervais: The Tacky 10-Question Rip-Off Quiz’ would outsell us 20 to 1.

    Having spoken about the narrowness of the US market, the UK one has only just widened enough. Part of me wishes we were coming out a year from now – 2 ent alone have something like 10 quizzes out in the next month! And all the others…well, none are direct-direct competition. But when there are only six teams, everyone plays everyone, regardless what league you’d usually be in.

    > -Given the excellent marketing of BTG on the RD website, the ?5000 competition etc., I was curious as to how you thought this would stack up well against the marketing (or lack thereof) of this DVD

    They have a trailer. Thus I am jealous. :-(

    Truth is, no matter what we do to make the product fab, I always think I could be fabber. (Over 1000 questions? Why not go for 2?! …well, okay, because the DVD couldn’t do that.) No matter how great the marketing, I always think we could do more. (Man, to have the editing cash for a full trailer…and the broadcast cash to show it on TV as Baker’s will no doubt be. Rd.co.uk is preaching to the choir…and I’m not sure people are pre-ordering the way they have for the series releases.)

    And no matter how cool the ideas – Geek Chase is killing us right now, effort-wise, but it’s going to be SO much fun; it’s funny, addictive, and just-challenging-enough, it’s like another game coming free with the DVD – I always think I could have had better ones.

    Christ alone knows how bad I’d be if this was MY franchise…! :-)

  26. G&T Admin

    where’s the swearing, the insults, the references to female body parts?! :-)

    OK, you’re a fat bearded fucknut with breath that could paralyse a vagina.

  27. >’Ricky Gervais: The Tacky 10-Question Rip-Off Quiz’

    Anyone have a preorder link?

  28. G&T Admin

    Never wanted to be cult – and never really was, despite perceptions.

    See, I have my own definition of cult telly that I think gets rid of the problem that it seems an odd tag if it’s *really*, really popular. And that is – a show can have any audience figures you like (from the most popular show in the world to only 1000 people watching it) – what gives it the ‘cult’ tag is that there’s a smaller group of people who are *really* into it. So despite the success of Dwarf, I think it also fits the cult tag.

    Cult = fandom, basically.

  29. > Cult = fandom, basically.

    Fair point. The problem comes when people use ‘cult’ as the TOTAL description. “That’s all it was, just a cult show.” We get introduced so often as “Cult comedy Red Dwarf” and never “Smash hit comedy Red Dwarf”. Cult is easier to swallow if it’s not presented as the definitive definition – although I say again, Rob and Doug were looking for success with a wide audience, not a niche. Fandom wasn’t what they went looking for, just a welcome bonus.

    It’s like…if someone introduced Sean Connery as ‘Star of Zardoz’. It may be accurate, but (unless you’re TRYING to be funny – the way South Park once introduced Spielberg as “Director of such films as Always and 1941”) it’s hardly the best one-line summation of a career.

    By the Hoare Definion of Cultdom Star Wars is a cult, too – but you’d never see an article talking about ‘the cult fantasy series Star Wars’.

  30. G&T Admin

    Agreed. It is an odd thing for people to *define* a show as.

    It’s just lazy journalism, really.

  31. Apart from Zardoz being one of my favourite Connery films, I think the world ‘cult’, like ‘underground’ when discussing music has now lost all meaning when used to describe the fans of genre.

    By definition it’s a bit vague even when applied to religions.

    As there is no clear definition when ‘something’ ceases to be ‘cult’ and becomes ‘mainstream’ it is a very lazy description indeed…

    To me the word ‘cult’ conjures up an image of a smallish group of people who want their own little world kept untouched by the masses in the belief that nobody else understands them or the thing that they follow…

    Perhaps Dwarf has an element of ‘cultish’ behaviour within its fan base, but is not a cult by definition..

    Maybe it’s possible that Star Trek does have a ‘cult’ following despite being mainstream as well.

    Unfortunately perhaps, if this is the case, any hardcore fan group could be described as a cult which may extend the myth that many fans are ‘geeks’ to a certain degree, something many of us hotly deny…

    Oh, dear…

  32. G&T Admin

    It’s a difficult area. Confounded by the fact that I’m quite happy to be part of the crowd to reclaim the word geek and apply it to myself. To me, geek has lost any negative connotations, and simply means “someone who is interested in things”.

    I don’t really see ‘cult’ as negative when applied to fans – but of course I do when applied to religions. So yeah, it has the potential to be a confusing label. I suppose it’s all about context. And a lot of mainstream journalism uses it in a pejorative one.

  33. I dont think anyone should have to defend themselves for being interested in something…
    I quite happily accept Dimension Jumps and Memorabilia being described as ‘Geekfests’ by family and friends as I know it’s only a fun description.

    There is though an element of aggression and dislike in the minds of some people though.

    One of my Brother-in-laws for instance (no longer speaking to most of his family for other reasons) once told my wife I was a ‘sad twat’ when she told him I was at Memorablia. There were other things said as well that quite frankly made me want to go and lump him. The fact is, this bloke’s entire social life consists of Coronation Street and internet porn, something he openly boasts about. Not so long ago, he used to bore everyone rigid talking about Star Trek, but this interest seemed to wane when he bought a computer, the very thing he used to say was a waste of space and everyone who had them were wankers (his words, not mine), bearing in mind all his family had them.
    Clearly the bloke is a bigot and everything he says is best ignored, he’s the typical vocal bully who feels at home putting others down. Of course, I would always
    stand my ground which often led to heated arguements and both of us being told to calm down.

    I guess, the thing is, people like this exist everywhere and tend to take things to often hurtful extremes.
    It’s people like this that I object to calling me a ‘geek’ or worse.

  34. To return to the sales question – for those who are interested in such things, have a look at the Amazon rankings, comparing quiz DVD results.

    Now, obviously, one store does not a national chart position make, and nor does it tell you how many are selling and the difference between placements, for anyone interested it’s interesting reading.

    The key thing to note is that, checking today, we’re placing higher than the DVDs I’d consider competition and/or relative sellers – Tom Baker, Empire, Barry Norman, Top Trumps, Question of Sport and, perhaps most amazingly and significantly, Little Britain. (Don’t expect THAT to say true once the shelves are stocked, mind you…)

    Still pre-sales, though, which isn’t the bulk of a purchase designed for Christmas impluse, so it’s still to soon to call. But colour me optimistic today.

  35. G&T Admin

    I believe that deserves a “Woo-hoo!”.

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