GamesMaster was a British game show, shown on Channel 4 from January 1992 to February 1998, and was the first ever UK TV show dedicated to computer and video-games.
The show's first two series and final four series were hosted by Dominik Diamond, and the third series was hosted by Dexter Fletcher, both of whom would present the show with Sir Patrick Moore, who played a giant floating wisecracking head known as "The Games Master".
Although it featured game reviews, most of the show was about challenges where game players would compete against one another. Contestants who were successful at their challenges were rewarded with the coveted "GamesMaster Golden Joystick" trophy. Dominik Diamond usually presented the show with Sir Patrick Moore appearing in pre-recorded inserts as "The Games Master". During these challenges, Dominik and Dexter were joined by a host of commentators. These included magazine journalists such as Derrick Lynch, Kirk Ewing, Julian "Jaz" Rignall, Rik Henderson, "The Games Animal" Dave Perry, Tim Boone, Jeremy Daldry, Neil West, Frank O'Connor, and Jane Goldman amongst others.
For the third series, Dexter Fletcher became the main presenter; this change was criticised by fans, who saw the new host as over-the-top, and too "in-your-face". To balance this, Hewland International dropped all other co-presenters and gave Dave Perry a regular co-presenter slot on every show. Fletcher was better known at the time for playing an American character called "Spike" in the ITV drama series Press Gang.
Why It Rocks
- Dominik Diamond carried the show with his snarky-but-pleasant demeanor.
- The co-commentators were pretty insightful with their gaming knowledge.
- Sir Patrick Moore as The Games Master was both helpful and witty, especially when gamers visited his Consoletation Zone.
- Even celebrities appeared on the show to do the challenges.
- The set designs for all seven series were superb; Series 1 was set in a church, Series 2 was set in an oil rig, Series 3 was set in both a prison and a dungeon, Series 4 was set in Hell, Series 5 was set in Heaven, Series 6 was set in Atlantis, and Series 7 was set on a desert island.
- The Golden Joystick assistants had their own little quirks.
- The challenges were pretty fun to watch.
- While Dexter Fletcher was OK in the first half of Series 3, he soon became obnoxious in the second half.
- The final three series became less about games and more about Dominik and his constant perving on the female celebrities.
- Some of the challenges were actually rigged, much to the chagrin of contestants who earned their victories through their great gaming skills.
- Half of the reviews were biased, such as Jaz Rignall giving Street Gangs a.k.a. River City Ransom a 32% rating.
- Series 6's Christmas special involved an unfair challenge on Super Mario 64 pitting co-commentator Dave Perry against Dominik's best friend and fellow co-commentator Kirk Ewing.
- Series 7 was rushed due to Channel 4 "forgetting" to tell Hewland that they had another series of GamesMaster to make.