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Go 8 Bit! Dave’s Retro Gaming Comedy Show

Go 8 Bit Daves Retro Gaming Comedy Show

Video games are fast becoming a major spectator sport these days with games like League of Legends and streaming channels like twitch.tv. And now the UK has Dara O Briain’s Go 8 Bit! I caught the 4th episode of this comedy video game show on Dave (a Dave Original) at 10pm on Monday. Read on to find out more.

How to describe this unusual show? It’s a bit like 8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, but with more video games and less anagrams and maths or as Dara puts it:

“Put a video game controller in the hands of a nun and she’ll turn into a trash-talking bloodthirsty monster. Give a controller to a comedian and they’ll do that too, but be funny.”

(If that doesn’t nail it, go watch it for yourself and do your own summary in the comments, I dare you!)

The show started life in the 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe where it was called McNeil & Pamphilon Go 8 Bit! so it’s only fitting that the stars of that show form the team captains for this show. They also get a different celebrity each week to hinder them in showing off their video gaming prowess (or lack of!).

Dara O Briain (Mock the Week) is the host who gets his name in the title.

He’s aided by Ellie Gibson, the resident expert, full of interesting facts about the games they play.

Red Team: Steve McNeil (Gaming Wizard) + celebrity. This week it was Rachel Riley (Countdown)

Yellow Team: Sam Pamphilon (Gaming Muggle) + celebrity. Russell Howard (Good News) was this week’s lucky victim.

Spoiler Alert: Sorry for the following spoilers, but the show is less about who beats who and more about the comedy and the games themselves.

First game was Capcom’s Street Fighter II Turbo. Interesting fact is that the designer, Yoshiki Okamoto, wanted to make Chun-Li’s health bar shorter because she was a woman.
Rachel (Chun-Li) blows Russell (Guile) away in seconds… twice! He doesn’t land a single hit, which makes doing the replay summary a bit short, lol!

Followed by Imangi’s Temple Run (Rachel Riley’s favourite game) which it turns out, she’s not very good at! Her opponent, who’s not good at games, manages to beat her only because she sucks so badly.

Then comes Sensible Soccer on the Amiga (Russell Howard’s favourite game), which he does manage to win, but only 1-0. Fair play for walking away from his controller, even if there was only 8 seconds to go before the end of the game.

Dara gets to try out Virtual Reality in the form of Longbow on the HTC Vive and wants to live in that world he likes it so much. It’s all quite stylised in a 3D Mario kind of way, using a controller in each hand to simulate drawing back the bow, similar to the Archery in Wii Sports. A nice touch is being able to set the arrows on fire by holding them in the nearby flames.

The fourth game is Nidhogg – I’ve never seen this game before but it’s crazy! Stick-figure sword-fighting on clouds where the winner gets eaten by a giant snake! What’s not to love?

The final game is based on Konami’s Track and Field, complete with oversized buttons for running and help from a random audience member for jumping via their smart phone. The red team gets Kriss Akabusi to press their jump button. However, the version they play seems to be designed especially for the show and the hurdles appear very quickly so the character falls over them again and again. (I won’t tell you who wins in the end, you’ll have to watch the show).

So if you like a bit of comedy to go with your video game nostalgia then this should feed that itch. I’m off to watch the earlier episodes of Go 8 Bit I missed on catch-up TV.

Kevin Ayre

Kevin is a veteran gamer, coder and artist with a love of fantasy, horror and sci-fi. He's been involved in all sorts of computer games since the 80s, from Trivial Pursuit: A New Beginning to Super Mario Pinball Land, by way of Warzone 2100. He now works remotely from beautiful Pembrokeshire in the UK with his beachcombing other half, Jen.

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