This series may be new to TV, but it has been running at the Edinburgh Fringe for a few years, much like fellow Dave success Taskmaster. The first few episodes may seem to indicate another hit.
While the series may have Dara O Briain’s name in the title and him as host, the original creators are the Go 8 Bit’s team captains – double act Steve McNeil (who is a big games fan) and Sam Pamphilon (who is a “games muggle”). Each show features them and a team mate take on a series of five video games, guided by Dara and resident gaming expert Ellie Gibson. The games played are one classic, the favourite games of the guests, a big modern hit, and a bizarre take on an already more unusual game. The points on offer are decided by an audience vote.
The guests in the first episode were comedian Susan Calman and former England goalkeeper David James, where they played blindfolded Tetris, Susan’s favourite Chuckie Egg, David’s favourite Tekken, Star Wars Battlefront (Luke vs. Darth) and Bust-a-Move played using Makey Makey – a device that allows you to turn anything into a console.
While the show partly works due to the interaction between all the guests, the best element of the show is the competitiveness between the teams. This is made even greater by the live audience. While on Taskmaster only one of the task is live, in Go 8 Bit they all are – so you have the audience cheering their favourite team on. It makes for a much livelier affair.
The comedians may be the centre of the show, especially O Briain who seems to be conquering the market in geeky programming after hosting Robot Wars (at his current rate I was surprised he didn’t get The Crystal Maze too), but of the regulars my personal favourite was Gibson, with her expert knowledge of games and wonderful wit.
Among other things to look forward to in this series include Gina Yashere and her love of Snake and controversy when Jason Manford plays FIFA.
On the downside, the revolving stage does feel gimmicky at first, along with everyone’s attempts to mime travelling at great speed. You do however eventually get used to it.
Dara O Briain’s Go 8 Bit is on Dave on Monday nights at 22.00.