Show Discussion: GAME Presents Rob Beckett’s Playing For Time

By | March 31, 2018

Friday, 11pm,
Channel 4

Comedian Rob Beckett and a celebrity guest are challenged to go back to the past, guided by Kerry Godliman, and make their way to the present by playing video game challenges from the relevant eras. The set and costumes are dressed up to match.

Quite fun, mainly an excuse to laugh at how big video recorders used to be.

8 thoughts on “Show Discussion: GAME Presents Rob Beckett’s Playing For Time

  1. Danny Kerner

    It’s okay not perfect. Again time should be longer due to that decade skip montage. Should not be in a graveyard timeslot & if they tighten the censorship it could qualify for a pre-watershed slot.

  2. Chris M. Dickson

    Quite a lot to like here, but it was rather a mess. It felt rather more like a games show than a game show, which is something I’ve not really been able to say since Gamesmaster back in the day. The four-episode series is a strange one; just how different will the episodes be? (It’s OK for lots of things to be the same from week to week – as Brig says, that’s what’s called a format – but there need to be different gags from week to week else it’ll all go a bit late-series Shooting Stars.) I wonder if they’ll use the same sets for all four episodes – and, if they do, will they use the same costumes, or are there other decade-specific looks that people could wear? The presentation was excellent; I liked the variety of show logos, I really liked the music during the live action Pac Man game and I especially liked the closing theme incongruously being You’re The Voice.

    But that’s all window dressing. As for the content of the show, phoo, there’s not much to it. About a year ago we heard suggestion that there might be a UK version of Korean show From Start Till Clear, which is a marathon filming session of a video game where the players “may not leave” until they have finished the game; this is not it, this is really not even nearly it – just two people trying one level of each of three different games. The “time warp” framing story didn’t add much for me, but at least it didn’t unduly distract. The 2000s montage was especially strange. Was this meant to be a longer show that was edited down to a shorter-than-expected timeslot, or did they run out of resources and just not even try to film it?

    At the risk of being pedantic even by my tedious standards, Pac Man was clearly not on an Atari 2600 as advertised. (Can’t work out what hardware it was on – there are apparently over a hundred official home computer or console conversions, and it had the screen geometry and layout of the MSX version, but I’m not convinced it was that.) Yes, Rob did end up being (surprisingly?) good at two of the three games, but I suspect something rather more like the Ask The Family technique rather than any foul play, or any more foul play than selecting easy modes; pick material where you know the contestants can excel, so that they can show themselves at their best.

    I am looking forward to seeing further episodes, but perhaps at least as much to see what they do with the show as to see the show itself, which isn’t the most glowing recommendation.

    1. Crimsonshade

      I thought when watching it that it might be the NES version, but I’m not entirely sure either.

  3. David B

    I feel this is a bit of a ‘regret’ commission by someone who probably passed on Go 8-Bit then went “Oh”.

    I think Rob has yet another show coming up soon, about people doing tasks timed by obscure clocks.

  4. John R

    It reminded me a bit of “The TV That Made Me” just with video games rather than TV shows, the trouble being both Rob and Scarlett seemed a bit too ‘young’ to have the memories to begin with.

    Based on the fact they had clips from the games of the 00’s but blasted through them I’m also guessing they were aiming for a lot longer than a half hour (20 minutes without adverts) show initially!

  5. Alex McMillan

    Must say I thought there were a fair few errors in the game details. Stuff like saying the creators of Ratchet and Clank was “Insomniax Games”, and including games from 1999 in the noughties segment. Not great given the show is sponsored by GAME.

    1. Chris M. Dickson

      I spotted the 1999 thing as well, and thought it looked weird at the time, but they did clarify that Rob (at least nominally) played one of the sequels in the series that was released in the 2000s. Definitely looked weird, though.

    2. David B

      The research on this was shocking. I mean, when they were meant to be in 1992 there’s a Big Mouth Billy Bass which wasn’t on sale until 1999 and is more associated with the 2000s than anything.


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