Definitions

GameCentral

GameCentral

GameCentral (or GC) is a Teletext magazine broadcast in the UK, focused on video games. It replaced Digitiser on March 10th 2003. GameCentral can be found on Channel 4 analogue Teletext on page 690, on digital Teletext (on ITV, Channel 4 and E4) at Pg 805, and online.

GameCentral is currently edited by its third editor, David Jenkins, with contributions from Roger Hargreaves. It was first edited by former Edge magazine editor Tony Mott (currently editor-in-chief of that publication) whose team comprised of Anthony Burgess and Chop. Steven Bailey became the second editor after Tony Mott left, with continuing contributions from Anthony Burgess.

Content

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The content of GameCentral varies from day to day. The contents page lists the page numbers and headlines the content featured for that day.

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During the week, this page features the latest news from the video game industry. It is normally four pages long. At weekends, the page is used to round up the week's news.

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This page is usually a seven page review (Gametest) or preview (Gamewatch) of a video game. Scores are given out of ten, or, for Virtual Console/Xbox Live Arcade games, a 'retro score' is given out of five. Specialist reviews for specific genre games (eg. Football) are provided by an outside contributor such as Mr. Pinkerton or Nigel Humdrum. At weekends, this page features the '4-Players' article; a 400-word article written by a viewer of GC. They always vary in content, from 'Why graphics are more important than gameplay in games' to more recently 'Overlooked 2D Shooters'.

Nigel Humdrum is a fictitious satirical character that represents the video game buying demographic who purchase due to association, rather than content. This character came about at a time when a high proportion of games were released with very poor content, yet still managed to sell well due to the "because I enjoyed the movie then I must enjoy this game, too" attitude. In addition videogame representation in the mainstream press and TV, at that time, catered towards this demographic (often, incorrectly, referred to as the casual gamer) with equally vapid reviews and nonsensical conclusions. In this vein, Humdrum is often seen to unquestioningly laud a game with high praise simply because of a game's movie tie-in, or "AAA" Star endorsement. Such praise is often very sarcastic in nature: "The way I can use just one button to beat everything in the entire game is cool! I mean, who wants to memorise all those buttons, there must be at least four of them!?". Nigel Humdrum only reviews the most bland of videogames.

Guest reviewers, such as Mr Pinkerton, are enlisted to review games which the usual staff have little interest in or knowledge of. These games are usually football titles such as games in the Pro Evolution Soccer and FIFA Football series as well as massively multiplayer online role playing games

Due the sheer number of games that the GameCentral team review their preference for innovative games is clear. Fans of a specific genre may enjoy a game that has received a less than glowing review because they have not had to play through a lot of similar games.

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This page is usually a review page on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. On Wednesdays it is home to the 'In the Middle' feature, an editorial piece written by either David Jenkins or Roger Hargreaves, more often than not pertaining to an issue raised in a review on the previous page, and very often written by the opposite person to who wrote the review. On Thursdays they use it to present a list of release dates for forthcoming games, with a line or two of comment for games released on the next day.

On weekends the game charts are featured here, these are currently; the individual-formats UK chart, the Japanese chart, the US console chart, the GameCentral top 20 (a list of the editorial staff's favourite games of that year) and the viewer's top 20 (viewers can vote for their favourite games for this list, but only once a month, and votes are reset every month to make it fairer for games released at the end of the year).

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This page is the 'Inbox' and contains e-mails and text messages sent in by readers. The messages sent in are usually on any subject related to video games, although some 'off topic' correspondence does appear from time to time, such as the recent trend for at least one person in the hot topic to mention the Sega game Shenmue (usually asking for a third game in the series) even leading to letters of complaint when Shenmue fans were unable to mention it in the Hot Topic due to its subject. Other off-topic trends include discussion about ninjas, Transformers, the Umbrella Corporation and ladders (e.g. the GameCentral team stating that they prefer wooden ladders to aluminium ladders.) The discussion on ladders came about after a viewer wrote in to say how a ladder in the game Skies of Arcadia (on Crescent Isle) was one of the longest they had come across in a game. The Umbrella Corporation jokes often take the form of announcements to employees, playing on elements of Resident Evil gameplay, such as reminding employees not to leave glowing objects around the workplace. This trend of writing in as a games character has also included apparent letters from Mario and Luigi looking for work and Organisation XIII from Kingdom Hearts 2 looking for recruits

During the week the GameCentral staff set the readers a topic and replies to that are featured at weekends, this is known as the 'Hot Topic'. For example, recent topics have included the price of the Playstation 3, viewer's favourite video game characters, and also more recently people's favourite game to play at parties.

Recently, the Inbox has been jokingly said to have somewhat mystical powers after a number of game sequels requested by viewers led to announcements that these sequels were indeed in development mere days after the request, e.g. Deus Ex 3.

The page used to be twelve pages long and updated daily, but has now switched to being seven pages long and updated twice on weekdays at 6.25am and 5pm, and once a day on weekends.

Letters often start with the acronym LTRFTW, which stands for Long Time Reader, First Time Writer. The inclusion of this acronym is not mandatory for those to which it applies, but it became popular when, after its first use, many readers wrote in to ask what it meant. This in turn gave the acronym a large amount of publicity, resulting in its now regular appearance in the Inbox pages. The letters are sometimes edited for length, though this is never stated formally.

GameCentral's Top 20 Games of the Year

2007

GameCentral's Position Game Format(s) Viewer's Position Game Format(s)
1 Super Mario Galaxy Wii 1 Super Mario Galaxy Wii
2 The Orange Box 360/PC 2 The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass DS
3 The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass DS 3 Halo 3 360
4 Bioshock 360/PC 4 Okami PS2
5 Okami PS2 5 The Orange Box 360/PC
6 Supreme Commander PC 6 Bioshock 360/PC
7 Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 360/PS3/PC/DS 7 Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition Wii
8 Virtua Fighter 5 360/PS3 8 Final Fantasy XII PS2
9 Global Defence Force PS2 9 Mass Effect 360
10 Metroid Prime 3: Corruption Wii 10 Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 360/PS3/PC/DS
11 Final Fantasy XII PS2 11 Uncharted: Drake's Fortune PS3
12 Halo 3 360 12 Metroid Prime 3: Corruption Wii
13 Wario Ware: Smooth Moves Wii 13 Project Gotham Racing 4 360
14 Pokemon Diamond/Pearl DS 14 Pokemon Diamond/Pearl DS
15 Sega Rally 360/PS3/PC/PSP 15 Forza Motorsport 2 360
16 Crysis PC 16 Tomb Raider: Anniversary Multi
17 Mass Effect 360 17 Global Defence Force PS2
18 Virtua Tennis 3 360/PS3/PC/PSP 18 Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction PS3
19 TrackMania United PC 19 Assassin's Creed 360/PS3
20 Unreal Tournament III PC 20 Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock Multi

2008

GameCentral's Position Game Format(s) Viewer's Position Game Format(s)
1 Grand Theft Auto IV 360/PS3 1 Mario Kart Wii Wii
2 Advance Wars: Dark Conflict DS 2 Super Smash Bros. Brawl Wii
3 Super Smash Bros. Brawl Wii 3 Grand Theft Auto IV 360/PS3
4 Bangai-O Spirits DS 4 Burnout Paradise 360/PS3
5 Braid 360 5 Metal Gear Solid 4 PS3
6 Rock Band 360 6 Race Driver: GRID 360/PS3
7 Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 Wii 7 Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09 Multi
8 Zack and Wiki Wii 8 Zack and Wiki Wii
9 Devil May Cry 4 360/PS3/PC 9 Devil May Cry 4 360/PS3/PC
10 Burnout Paradise 360/PS3 10 Spore PC
11 Spore PC 11 Viva Pinata 2 360
12 No More Heros Wii 12 de Blob Wii
13 Persona 3 PS2 13 The World Ends With You DS
14 Sins of a Solar Empire PC 14 Mercenaries 2 PS2/360/PS3/PC
15 de Blob Wii 15 Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise DS
16 Castle Crashers 360 16 Braid 360
17 Siren: Blood Curse PS3 17 Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Multi
18 Wii Fit Wii 18 Bangai-O Spirits DS
19 Bleach: The Blade of Fate DS 19 Soul Bubbles DS
20 wipEout HD PS3 20 Battlefield: Bad Company 360/PS3

Other Information

During E3, each and every page of GameCentral is used to cover the event, except for the Inbox, which retains its normal use (though discussion generally revolves around E3).

As of May 2007, the Teletext website has contained all pages of GC: News, Reviews/Features as well as the Inbox (see External Links below).

David Jenkins has also made appearances on the XLeague.tv show, Games Night, and occasionally writes freelance for Eurogamer.

External links

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