Weird Video Wednesday: Charlie Brooker vs “old media”

This week I had intended on featuring some of GTA V’s bizarre in-game films -the mini-movies you see when you meet up with one of your criminal cohorts, drive to the cinema, pay your admission fee, and watch (for reals) a “film”. But something about last week’s video and the comments about online video creators like the AVGN has gotten me thinking more about gaming as a weird mainstream/underground industry with a culture that is very much its own.

And nothing encapsulates that idea better than this wonderfully candid slice of UK television which shows journalist/broadcaster and game enthusiast Charlie Brooker attempting to teach Channel 4 news anchor Jon Snow about videogames. This isn’t the first time I’ve featured this video on Very Very Gaming – I actually posted this way back in 2014, shortly after Channel 4 posted it online – but now seems a perfect time to revive this hilarious and exacerbating slice of “news”.

Here’s what I had to say at the time:

Charlie Brooker is so earnest here, you can’t help but sympathise. This candid video reveals Jon Snow to be a true news reader – conservative and stubborn to the core, he appears to genuinely believe the rubbish he spews everyday on the news. Someone turn his news anchor switch off! After this interview you can imagine them heading to a nearby restaurant, only for Snow to start up his horse-meat-in-ready-meals diatribe again, while everyone sighs until Snow leaves. He then hops in his private helicopter home because he once reported that you’re more likely to die crossing the road than in a plane crash.

It’s pretty remarkable to find a grown man react to exploding Lego on-screen with “it’s violent and horrid”, “you think a child doesn’t think those are real people?”, “I’m told that people can watch these things for five hours a day!”, “they’re going through the psychological experience of killing people”. All the stereotypes are out in force then! That includes obligatory snide remarks about the number of men who play videogames in proportion to women. And Snow’s constant cynical interruptions are breathtakingly redundant: “I don’t watch videogames.” “So it’s a technological intrigue.” “You think I’ve had a sad and bereft life by not having dabbled in this stuff?” “I thought this was supposed to be state-of-the-art”. Brooker has the patience of a saint.

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3 comments

  1. moresleepneeded

    I remember seeing this on TV. I thought Jon Snow was more funny than annoying, with his complaining and attempts to play. I think I remember Jon Snow complaining about the violence of the first game, so, hilariously, Charlie Brooker instead changes to the most innocent game he could find (Lego Marvel Superheroes). I also enjoyed Charlie Brooker trying to teach Jon Snow how to play the game, it reminded me of a kid playing with his inexperienced father. It is also the calmest I have seen Charlie Brooker, who seems very animated in his shows.

    • veryverygaming

      Oh wow, that must’ve been cool to see this on TV. Was this a segment on the news then? I’ve always been a bit confused because it seems like quite a long and aimless segment for a news programme. Yeah, I’d say Snow manages to be half-funny and half-annoying… he reminds me of a little kid in a lot of ways. I’m a fan of Charlie Brooker and I stand by what I wrote in 2014: he shows the patience of a saint here.

      • moresleepneeded

        I think it was part of a segment on Channel 4 News. I think there was a story about how computer games affect the player’s health or how much time children spent playing computer games. I think Charlie Brooker functioned as an expert and John Snow decided to show the viewers how computer games worked.

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