British geeks of a certain age will have been intrigued by the recent news that the iconic gaming show GamesMaster is to return to our screens later this year. While we ponder the challenges the new series will face of balancing nostalgia for the original and relevance in a market now saturated on Twitch and YouTube, thoughts turn to fond memories of the original. Hosted (in the most part) by Dominik Diamond, and featuring the disembodied head of Red Dwarf A-Z‘s one-eyed right-wing astronomer Patrick Moore, the show brought us news, reviews, features, cheats and tips, but its most memorable segment was challenges whereby gamers and/or celebrity guests competed for a coveted Golden Joystick. And on one such occasion, very nearly 25 years ago, the celebrity guest was one Danny John-Jules.

His segment begins at 14:01, but let’s face it, you might as well watch the full episode:

Danny bursts on to the screen modelling the superb leather-sleeved Red Dwarf bomber jacket from the period, with his appearance coming after filming but before broadcast of Series VII. After some banter of varying levels of success with Dominick, he whips on his shades to get down to business – attempting to finish first in a single-player round of  Wipeout 2097 on the PS1, or as it was known at the time, the PS. We won’t give anything away, but the run has a rather spectacular ending, which this reporter found himself surprisingly gripped by.

Elsewhere on the show, the trademark mix of irreverent humour and in-depth gaming coverage is very much on display, with the iconic Dominick Diamond on fine form during a Killer Instinct Golden Joystick challenge, and on location at what’s described as the “world’s first” retro gaming festival. Retro was a new concept for video games at the time, so let’s not ponder the fact that we’re now roughly the same distance from the release of the original PlayStation, Sega Saturn and N64 as this show was from the Atari 2600.

It’s only a shame that Danny didn’t appear on the show a few years earlier – each series was shot in a different location, and for Series 2 that location was Sunbury Pumphouse.

26 comments on “G&TV: GamesMaster (31/10/1996)

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  • I’m looking forward to the new Gamesmaster far more than I thought I would, genuinely didn’t expect them to get as good a choice of presenter as what we’ve ended up with in Robert Florence (anyone who likes games and hasn’t seen them should absolutely check out his Consolevania and VideoGaiden shows!)

  • How many of the cast have been in videogames? There’s a question I could just google but I’ll put it here.

    Danny was Gex in Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko which I asked for as a youth on the strength of having Danny in it alone, didn’t play the others.

    Hattie and Norman are unofficially in Elite Dangerous as ship’s computer voices, you can add them with a voice pack.

    Did Craig have any role in the Robot Wars games? VO or clips?

    I’m sure Chris will have done some voice work for a Command & Conquer or something.

    Robert probably had a cameo as a robot in the 90s, something that confirmed his fears of being typecast as a robot were well founded.

  • The only one of those I had was Simon the Sorcerer. Grew up with just the text, so hearing Chris’ distorted, uninterested monologue a few years later was just disappointing, nothing like him reading the audiobooks.

    Some public domain Amiga games had unlicensed Red Dwarf samples, I remember “Sirs, they’ve taken Mr Rimmer. Quick let’s get out of here before they bring him back. Hahaha” at the beginning of the terrible Red Dwarf Shoot-Em-Up Construction Kit* game, before it proceeded to have fuck all to do with Red Dwarf.

    * It certainly did SEUCK.

  • Is it cheating to look it up? Apart from those mentioned already, I found these out from a search of Moby Games (it’s not a comprehensive database so there could be more):
    -Craig was in the 2000 RTS Dogs of War.
    -Danny was in the 1998 game Create a Pop Sensation. He’s also thanked in the SNES version of Wheel of Fortune, alongside Dave Lister and Arnold Rimmer (I guess watching Red Dwarf helped get the devs through their acknowledged crunch).
    -Bobby was in 1997’s The Feeble Files, same devs as Simon the Sorcerer.
    -Mac has had a more extensive VO career and has appeared in a lot of shooters, including Alien Isolation and the recent Terminator Resistance.

  • Craig wasn’t in any of the Robot Wars games, probably – at least in part – because many of them had localised versions based on that country’s version of the show, so it was simpler to just use the commentator

  • While you’re racking up wins and getting high scores

    You won’t hear my voice in Robot Wars

    *kisses fingers*

  • Enjoyed that. The first time I came across Dominik Diamond was his cameo on Ryan Macleod’s ChuckieDregs (which I only saw years after it had wrapped up). I had no idea who he was but he made an impression. I’ve been going over old Gamesmaster episodes after watching Kim Justice’s video on it. Really looking forward to Rob Florence co-hosting the revival, hope it turns out better than Spike Fletcher’s go at it.

    That interview with Danny was perfectly awkward, I like how they didn’t drop the wig discussion even though it was clearly going nowhere. Is there any actual difference between Wipeout and F-Zero? I’ve only played the latter.

  • I’ve seen references to the ‘incident’ but always avoided actually seeing it, thinking it would make me feel a bit sick and bad. But actually, having seen it just now, his little strop is actually funny. Thanks for the link!

  • It’s a great moment, maybe *the* classic Gamesmaster moment. Proper toys out the pram stuff. Perry seems a bit more good-humoured about it these days though.

  • Just watched this. I’m impressed how good Wipeout looks still considering a lot of games often look shockingly awful in hindsight.

    Danny is really impressive, and that was genuinely quite tense. Such a shame he clipped that corner at the end.

  • The Dave Perry guy is a bit of a tit isn’t he. Dominic handled it really well and just made him look more foolish.

  • Robert does indeed play many characters in ‘Discworld Noir’,and does a pretty fine job with multiple voices throughout. He clearly gave up when the time came to record the parts for Guard 2 though, where he just gave it the ol’ 523P. “Can’t help you with that, son”

  • As well as the upcoming revival, fans might want to check out the new “oral history” book on GM coming soon from Read Only Memory. I’ve read several of ROM’s books on gaming in the past, on various subjects, and they’ve all been decent.

    I’m reading this at the moment, and as well as the expected tangential Dwarf connections (Sunbury Pumphouse, staff who also worked on Robot Wars etc.) I thought this little nugget was interesting: apparently Danny auditioned to be the host of series 3 – when Dominik Diamond temporarily left the show, ultimately replaced by Dexter Fletcher – and it seems like he got pretty close:

    interesting to consider what a DJJ-hosted Gamesmaster might have been like.

  • IIRC Mac isn’t in the theatrical cut, so maybe he’s not the first person who springs to mind, but there’s not a huge number of other people it could be. Ricco Ross, possibly.

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