An Ode to Good Game: A pioneering force in Aussie gaming culture
It's difficult to comprehend the sheer evolutionary magnitude of a decade. 2006 was a strange time - an era where technological advancement was integrating with our social backdrop at a rate more rapid than ever. No one could have predicted how irreversibly our day-to-day lives would change. Social networking was fast becoming a viable reality, the seventh generation was in full swing, and Good Game graced Australian screens for the first time. Few could have foreseen the show becoming the longest running and most successful gaming TV show in Australia.
Looking back with our current understanding and resources, it would be easy to underestimate the importance of a show like Good Game. Gaming had suffered under the pretence of immaturity from the mainstream perspective for a long time, however - especially so in Australia. On top of a confusing tangle of circumstances that make it a much more expensive hobby over here than in our countries, it wouldn't be until the end of 2011 that we would even be allowed the option of having an R18+ rating system similar to film, stunting the options for mature content. The video game industry is currently worth nearly $3 billion in Australia alone, and there are still those that dismiss its potential and worth based on stubborn stereotype.
I was 16 when Good Game first beamed into my living room. I lived in a rural area. The internet capabilities lagged embarrassingly behind our international allies, and access to games - but, much more importantly, the gaming community - was limited. It certainly wasn't a hellish circumstance by any means - if anything, it just made one appreciate those opportunities to share and enjoy all the more - but it's frustrating for anyone who's passionate about something to face an environment that physically can't foster that. We've all been there, in one capacity or another.
Suddenly, there was a show on TV (which, again, was still a big deal) that catered to you. It got your jokes. It felt your excitement and disappointment. Most vitally, it understood that you understood - it was accessible without being condescending, and brought attention to the scale of the art through sheer exposure. All it took was for someone to actually give it a platform, and talk about it.
With the earnest philosophy of "for gamers, by gamers", Good Game was about recognition and connection in an age where that was wasn't easily achievable. It was about presenting an example to the nation - that this was a legitimate pursuit, something that normal, everyday people enjoyed. It was imperfect, but noble and necessary. The community appreciated the respect, and grew to house one of the most popular forums on the ABC website. The empire rose into podcasts, videos, and spin-offs (including the popular program for younger viewers, Good Game: Spawn Point).
Gaming, now, is a much more accepted pursuit upon a global scale. Seeing it embraced and understood on a noticeably bigger level within Australia, I can't help but think that Good Game didn't have at least a decent part in that. They have seen huge developments and no doubt have offered the catalyst for many. It was impossible to miss their many notable personalities (like Bajo, Hex, and Goose) at major events like Penny Arcade Expo, surrounded by adoring fans that wished to offer their appreciation. It's hard to comprehend how abruptly and sadly the show has drawn to a close, considering its impact. It was goofy and silly at times, but damn it, it was a sorely-needed, uniquely Australian perspective in an industry that deserves it.
Farewell, Good Game. Your importance cannot be understated, and nor can the silver lining of Spawn Point continuing under a new format. A whole new generation of kids, with a world of unsurpassed interactive opportunity ahead of them, won't ever have to go without a representative again thanks to your efforts and legacy.
Ten rubber chickens from me.
BY JACOB COLLIVER