Jonathan Ross, Simon Pegg, Iain Lee, Chris Moyles, Snoop Dogg – the list of celebrities who openly express their love for gaming is consistently growing.
But aside from Charlie "the games journo who done good" Brooker we’ve for years been desperately short of respected TV faces with the capacity and enthusiasm to intelligently tackle gaming’s critics. Fortunately, we can now add comedian Dara O’Briain to that list.
"The depressing thing about the constant media debate that the games industry is in – whether that’s violence, addiction or demotivation from games – is that [gaming’s opponents] take people from the very extreme of the bell-curve who are just going to react badly to anything that’s put in front of them – box-sets, dope, whatever. And then they spoil the fun for the rest of us," O’Briain told CVG in a fascinating interview.
"At some point, you’ve got to call a halt to it, like. There’s a philosophical element to it: Yeah, I’m sorry, just because one guy made an idiotic decision doesn’t mean the rest of us will. Kids just occasionally will fall out of trees and hurt themselves really badly. It doesn’t mean you stop your child climbing trees.
"We’re enjoying [games] quite responsibly. It’s sad, isn’t it? It’s just sad. But the tone [in the media] should be ‘It’s awful when that happens in a pastime we all enormously enjoy and can handle just fine’."
The outspoken comic also revealed a glimpse into how his love for the hobby grew from casual interest to his current fixation.
"It’s kind of been buzzing around constantly," he added. "I describe myself as ‘hardcore/casual’, which is that I have the heart of a hardcore gamer, but I don’t have the skills or the time. So I can get as far as a couple of boss battles and then I baulk at it. I just like the virtual worlds.
"So they’ve always been around, but getting involved with BAFTA has kind of given me a good excuse to play more, which I use regularly in the house, of it being ‘research’. I play lots and lots of games now. I never saw myself becoming an advocate like I have.
"Now, I host a lot of awards. In March I’m hosting about seven different awards – including the Money Marketing awards. I don’t pay anywhere near as much attention to that as I do to video games. I’m hosting the Mothercare awards, and I’m not looking at different types of nappy in quite the avid way I’m playing Bad Company 2."