This past Sunday, November 30, 2014, whatever was left of the defunct gaming/tech/Cheaters channel once know as G4 was finally put out to pasture. Maybe you, like me, feel a twinge of heartfelt sadness about this. Maybe you have no idea what G4 is, or was; and maybe you don’t care. Still, for both educational and entertainment purposes, it’s absolutely worth taking a 23 minute walk down G4’s memory lane in this video from
GoodBadFlicks titled “The Rise and Fall of G4 TV 4 Gamers.”
G4 actually went on its first farewell tour in late 2012 when it was announced that the channel would be rebranded. (It eventually became The Esquire Channel.) At that point, G4 was a becoming a husk of its former self, but I still watched it occasionally. The news struck enough of a chord that I wrote a piece about it for my blog, which I’m sharing here today.
Alas poor G4, I knew it well.
Well, not that “well.”
Actually, I probably knew Yorick better, but this isn’t Hamlet. It’s the demise of a TV station, a TV station that’s been dying slowly of several years now, kept on life support by the sweaty fumes of college kids/all of America behaving badly.
And yet, there is something very Shakespearian about it. Though some may cry “Fie upon the death of our Lord and kinship that was once a brazen network for gamers and techheads!,” our fair Ophelia went mad many years ago and drowned in a pool of her own decay. “Out, out damned spot!” Comcast cried as it tried to reorient the network from a technology base to a “gaming” base, only to realize that the blood was forever on their collective hands.
G4 was a TV network that never really found its place in the world. A TV network that became a shadow of its former self as it was crushed by the weight of American Ninja Warriors, Four Loko, and nut shot videos. A TV network that had a few shining moments of past glories that were quickly squelched by an over-demanding, internet-ready populace. There’s nothing that G4 can offer its 18-to-24-year-old male-oriented demographic anymore that it can’t get on ye ole YouTube.
I remember, so long ago, at the turn of the new millennium, TechTV was a wonderful haven for all things new and interesting in the world of computers and technology. The Internet was still relatively fun and fresh, and clever minds in the lands of Silicon Valley were creating vast worlds, platforms for spreading, finding, and sharing knowledge across the expanse of this stony planet. In my own humble abode, we started our days with TechLive, a show offered the latest information on tech news, stocks, and events. We ended our days with The Screen Savers, a humorous and informative “self-help” show that taught us how to properly run a router and fix problems with dastardly Windows products.
During the strange, latent years of the mid 2000s, TechTV took on a new personality. Under the hefty fist and glaring eye of Comcast, it was forced to mate with another, and G4TechTV was born. And what and odd and surly entity it was. The combination of tech and gaming seemed natural, but with the seeming infinite growth of readily-available information through the steamy channels of the Internet and the different demands of its newly-conglomerated audience, G4TechTV was like a dog without a home, an actor out on loan…Riders on the Storm.
Excuse me…*searches for The Doors on iPod, finds Riders of the Storm, bobs head approvingly*
Yes. G4TechTV rode out the storm of growing pains. Some of its personality jumped ship for the Internet, where they comfortably remain at Revision3 and twit.tv. Some remained onboard to witness the morphing, the birthing of a “new” G4TV that sought out a younger audience, a gaming audience, an Internet/tech savvy audience. The Screen Savers took on a new form and became Attack of the Show. Tech news in general was fully abandoned. Shows like Call for Help were slowly run out of town. No one needed “help” anymore. (Oh but G4, if only you knew…) The ship’s mast remained solid with the gaming show Extended Play, later X-Play. It was the last bastion of hope, and even now is succumbing to the forces of a generation not in need. X-Play does remain in my aging repertoire of occasional shows. Attack of the Show has been a time waster when Jeopardy goofs around with its “Kid’s week,” or when the evening’s dinner requires an elongated rest post haste. But AOTS lost its luster long ago, and it is a now a sad reflection of things to come.
Speaking of which, what is G4 to become? An upscale Spike? A brother to the Discovery channel? A third cousin once removed to the Velocity channel? Its future remains cloaked in a boring mystery. The networks’ few remaining personalities will no doubt go on to bigger and better things. But the need for computer and gaming news on a TV network is probably a thing of the past. G4 was doomed to become a fossil long ago, and I look upon its remains with fondness and maybe a little bit of awe. It tried and succeeded, and it tried and failed, and it tried again and sort of succeeded. Much like evolution, G4’s death was an inevitable conclusion, but no fiery comet or tumultuous flood will seize its groggy heart. No, its end comes with but a mere fizzle from a community that has already moved on.
Your kingdom for a horse, G4. Prithee, do not ride that nag after imbibing strong mead, for surely you will escape neither Cops nor Campus PD.
Join us in sharing memories of G4 in the comments. C’mon, at least a couple you are a little sad…maybe?