Here at BRWC, we don’t just live for film, often we can be found in front of that flickering box called, I think, a television. Yes, dark cold winter nights were made for television especially when it’s full of laughs and retro games. Did someone say games, you know the ones that you play on a console like….Mario and something called Minecraft?! So who better to talk to about Go 8 Bit, gaming in general and the changing role of women in the gaming world than Ellie Gibson, resident games expert on the show.
[BRWC] How would you sum up the show in 5 words?
[EG] Funny people playing video games.
[BRWC] Resident’s games expert on a tv show is a pretty cool job. How did you get involved in Go 8 bit?
[EG] I have worked in games for nearly 20 years, mainly as a journalist. Have written lots and lots about lots of video games over many years, and they needed a gaming expert for this comedy show and just so happened started doing comedy, and I got to know Steve and Sam through that. And then, yeah I was lucky enough to get an audition and get a part for the show.
[BRWC] How has the show evolved from when you first started on it?
[EG] It first started many years before I had anything to do with it, it was an Edinburgh comedy show that the guys did live. The original stage show didn’t have Dara, it didn’t have a revolving stage (which some people may think is a good thing). It didn’t have me, but I think when they brought it to TV they wanted someone to explain to people who were watching who maybe haven’t heard of some of the games, kind of how they worked and stuff – and that’s where I came in. But the basic principle has remained the same – it’s funny people playing games, sometimes perhaps taking it a bit too seriously but just having a good time with it and enjoying themselves, which I think really is what playing games should be all about.
[BRWC] What’s your favourite retro game of all time?
[EG] I do have a soft spot for Thundercats on the Amiga, because that was one of the first games I ever played. And then I was a Sonic more than a Mario girl growing up.
[BRWC] Representation of women in games has always been alarming like bit players in a male-dominated world. Will we see a better representation of women in the future?
[EG] I’m hopeful that things are going to get better, there are more women working in games now than ever before, and I think that’s really a big factor in terms of changing things. You’ve got to have people who understand women, to create good female characters and the best people to do that of course, are women. I think the games companies are starting to recognise that. If you look at the game ‘The Last Of Us,’ which has a really strong, well rounded female character, and in fact, more than one which again is quite unusual historically for games, and that game was directed by a woman. I’m optimistic that things will change and also perhaps even some of the reluctant gaming directors will realise that you can have women in video games and it doesn’t ruin them – you know, it’s alright!
[BRWC] Do you think video games can be a force for good, and, if so how?
[EG] I think they can definitely be a force for good – again, there’s quite often quite an old stereotype of video games that they are all about shooting and destruction. But actually, if you look at modern video games, there’s some amazing stuff out there. There are games like Minecraft and Mario Maker, that let you create and build stuff and let your imagination run wild. And there are games like That Dragon, Cancer that make you think about really serious subjects in a really interesting way.
Go 8 Bit airs on Dave from Monday 12th February at 10pm.
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