Interview with Gareth Jones (Gaz-Top) on retro games and television

Gareth Jones Interview:

Question 1 – You have worked on many television, radio and internet shows, both in front of and behind the camera. How does running GamePad rank in your career?

Pivotal, Violet was instrumental in encouraging directing the entire series, which was the first time I had the job on top of the show. In doing so, I learned a lot about how to make television, which has kept me at work for the last 10 years, and I learned quite a bit about games in the process.

Question 2: GamePad came at a time when video game TV shows were missing on the air. Did you see a hole in the market and took advantage of it?

Not exactly, Violet had hosted a game show called Game Spot on Bravo. It was a re-version of an American program, the same team tried to make an original program, already called Game-Pad, but it turned out to be more difficult for them than they thought. So instead of just being a hired host, Violet volunteered to take over the show as a producer, call me as the director, and do it all ourselves through our company WhizzBang. We felt like we could make a better and more original show, so we jumped into the slot keeping the GamePad name, but now it was a completely new show.

Question 3: GamePad was a great program created “by gamers, for gamers.” Did you purposely seek to do a more mature show than it had previously aired?

Violet really knew a lot about games back then, and she’s a smart cookie, so the whole GamePad culture was essentially Violet’s mindset, albeit a bit spoiled for me.

Question 4: GamePad lasted four series. Were you disappointed that the show was not renewed for another series?

Yes, we were disappointed because we already had plans on what the next series would entail (Violet is a very good planner), however being responsible for EVERYTHING in a production requires a lot of time at work, we had 2 very young children at the time, so in a way we were relieved when GamePad didn’t happen, we had a suspicion that it might go away because Bravo had just hired a new show commissioner who wanted to make his mark with new ideas that she had brought to the station instead of the one. commissioning of existing programs on the channel. So we got away from work a bit for a while and focused on the important things, the two little balls of energy that were bouncing off our lives.

Question 5 – Have you always been a gamer?

I started playing games in the late 80’s through my job as a children’s TV presenter, I wasn’t really a gamer before that, although my father had a TV and radio store when he was little and I remember bringing something like Pong a home. for me to play around 1970-something, I played it for a while, but I got bored, so I went to learn how to play the guitar.

Question 6 – What is your favorite video game of all time?

Drop 7, I play it on my phone every day, I love its trance-inducing zen quality.

Question 7 – Were you a SEGA, Nintendo or Amiga man?

I started playing through Game Gear and Amiga, so I have a slight loyalty to those brands. I know this is controversial, but I always thought Nintendo was not cool at all, too cute for my rock ‘n roll sensibilities.

Question 8 – Do you still play video games today?

See answer 6

Question 9: Violet Berlin became known as one of the UK’s most respected video game presenters. What is it like to be married to such a great player?

I have no idea, we’re not really married! But we’ve lived together since 1999 and we have two teenage boys, so I guess now we’re stuck, you know, like Ratchet & Clank. Violet doesn’t have much time to play these days, other than what she writes, and she usually gets our kids to try them out.

Question 10 – Do you play video games together and who usually wins?

We haven’t played games together for a long time, when we did Violet usually beat me, unless it was a driving game when I won, that was my specialty.

Question 11: How exactly did come about?

Violet and I had written a format for a children’s show called Try This, which we presented to ITV; when they showed a lot of interest in him, they asked “Who will do this?” We said we would do it ourselves, and so quickly we had to form a company. This gave us the confidence to tackle the GamePad together. In the end we never got to do Try This, due to a change of curator at CiTV (that kind of thing happens a lot), but it launched us firmly into the world of production.

Question 12: Do you have any future plans to make / host a TV show about video games?

No, not right now: Violet is busy writing interactive games and installations for museums, and I am busy on automotive-related projects right now.

Question 13: Do you think there is a current gap in the market for a television show dedicated to the video game industry?

Yes, but it would have to be a truly original version of the song, give it to Charlie Brooker, then it would be entertaining.

Question 14: What are your views on the video game industry today?

If I’m honest (and I always am) from where I am now, my view of the gaming industry is quite distant, ask me about cars, rockets, Wales or Slade and I could talk all day, all week. , the whole month.

Question 15 – What are you currently working on?

In addition to appearing on a Welsh comedy show on S4C called Caryl A’r Lleill (Caryl & The Others), I continue to make Gareth Jones On Speed, an automobile and motorsports podcast that I have produced for 10 years. I’m also doing Race To 24, a 12-part documentary series starting in March 2015 about a team choosing a driver to race for them at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. I’m also doing some stage acting for the first time in my career, playing Tommy Cooper’s manager Miff Ferrie in a touring production called the Tommy Cooper Show, which is turning out to be a hit.

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