More than just a TV show: What the loss of Good Game means for us

Australian gamers have lost more than just a TV show following the shock cancellation of Good Game. While Spawn Point, the show for younger viewers remains on air, Good Game’s other spin-offs have been axed.

The brainchild of Janet Carr, the programme recently celebrated its 10th year on air. Taking games and gamers seriously, it was an independent, mainstream voice in the Australian videogaming landscape.

The show was beloved with fans #puttingouttheircontrollers following its cancellation. Social media grief aside, the loss of Good Game comes with other flow-on effects – including some that directly impact the videogame industry.

“One less avenue for showcasing local games. One less reason for publishers to bring out key triple-A developers (“we can get you on national television” was a good reason to make the trip) and one less avenue for those looking to get into writing and content creation for screen,” said game developer and formal journalist, Dan Hindes.

Good Game also launched many careers of games writers and presenters – with former team members now working with the Oceanic Pro League, Polygon, and the LA Times. Good Game also galvanised large and thriving fan ­­communities like the Pocketeers and played host to a range of events and conventions. The Good Game production team also hosted a series of casual podcasts that spanned talk about behind-the-scenes work, food, online dating and growing up Asian. Not only are the Good Game community quite diverse, but so are the Good Game staff.

In its official statement, the ABC said the departure of two presenters was a “major setback” that influenced its decision to cancel the show. However, fans on social media have accused the broadcaster of being disingenuous. They claim that ABC management no longer wanted to support Good Game – and that the departure of Hex and Nichboy gave the network an excuse to cancel it.

Host Stephanie ‘Hex’ Bendixen posted about her departure from the ABC on Facebook.

“When I made this decision […] I was also confident in the knowledge that the team I would be leaving have wonderful talent that would of course easily continue the show’s legacy without me.

“Never, in a million years did I think the ABC would cancel the show after it had already been commissioned.”

“A show does not hinge on one person,” she said.

It’s a sentiment echoed by others in the Good Game team.

“Whilst it was unprecedented to lose Hex and Nichboy from the presenting team 3 weeks out from air, we still had Bajo, Rad & Goose to take the helm and usher the show into a new era. Good Game will always be more than its singular parts, it had survived presenter changes in the past and there was no reason we couldn’t do it again,” said the Series Producer and Director of Good Game Spawn Point, Lin Jie Kong.

Regardless, the show will be missed –and continues to occupy a special place in the hearts and minds of Australian videogame fans.

Good Game helped make video games normal: their enthusiasm was totally genuine and utterly infectious. Kids in particular loved Good Game, and they have the best bullshit detectors for fakery going around,” said Dan Golding in an article for VICE.

“Virtually no other country in the world has had any sort of popular video games show that has lasted more than a couple of years. Good Game lasted 10, has a (still continuing, we’re told) kids spinoff, and several YouTube endeavours. At its strongest, it was a machine, single-handedly dominating several demographics at the ABC and nation-wide,” he said.

Janet Carr reflected on the legacy of her show on a podcast and used it as an opportunity to thank Good Game’s fan community.

“I think the greatest Legacy of Good Game will be that the ABC will have been seen to have been forward thinking for its time,” she said.

“I’d just say thank you […] I hope for gamers, that they remember that the ABC was there for them, thank you, thank you for everything.”

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