Before Ginx TV went all in on eSports the company focused on covering traditional video games both on TV and online. One of it’s most successful shows was The First Hour, where hosts Adam Savage and Anthony Richardson play the first hour of new releases. However when the switch to eSports happened many long term fans were worried that The First Hour would be no more. Fortunately, the show was recommissioned for another season, which is on air right now, but with more of an eSports focus.
In order to find out how the show has changed, and how difficult it has been to adapt to the world of eSports we caught up with both Savage and Richardson.
eSports Pro: Why do you think the show has been so popular in the past and do you think it will remain as popular now?
Adam Savage: It’s definitely a combination of showcasing new games to our audience of hungry gamers looking to see whether there’s a title they may have missed, considered or like the look of, and the totally ridiculous nonsense that Ant and I come up with whilst playing them. The audience at home are a huge part of the show for us and we love involving them in as much of the show as we can.
Anthony Richardson: I think people always find it funny and reassuring to watch other people struggle at games. The world concentrates too much on people being good at stuff, whereas we’re the complete opposite. Also, it’s a very inclusive show. We’re keen to involve the audience, asking them to draw weird pictures or send us poems. We each have our own clans too. Mine is called Team Koala, while Sav’s fans are the Reverse Elephant Heads. Team Koala is more popular right now but it’s cool to have a bit of competition.
eSports Pro: How has the show changed to accommodate eSports into it?
Adam: Each week the producers surprise us with a mysterious “golden envelope” which beholds the game we’ll be playing each week in its papery clutches. Although the majority of these are competitive or eSports related titles compared to more triple AAA releases like in seasons previously, for us it doesn’t actually make a difference to the way we go about what we do. We still find so much comedy in playing eSports games (highlights being absolutely terrible at them and trying to chat to other players using the in-game chat and inventing eSports terminology) and look forward to whatever they chuck at us.
Anthony: It has, but not dramatically. We do play a few more eSports titles but if anything this makes the show funnier. We’re even more out of our depth with MOBAs than we are with platformers.
eSports Pro: Would you consider yourselves experts in the world of eSports or is it something you are only just starting to learn about?
Adam: Experts? LOL No, no, no, no, no. But, the thrill of each episode of the show is what we discover when playing the new games which we may not have necessarily played had they not been put in front of us. Same applies to the audience at home as our role is to show them games which often come with a lot of stigma. “CS:GO? Way too competitive. DOTA 2? That looks mental, I’m good thanks.” As a person who has played a lot of games from all different genres, I like to think I can hold my own when given something new and the audience are on board with that to. This way, they get a true feel for how the game plays if you approach it as a newcomer.
Anthony: I know absolutely zip about esports, and will continue to struggle until they add NBA Jam on the Megadrive and Micro Machines to the roster. Is that happening? If not, I’m out. Sorry.
eSports Pro: Can we expect you to try out titles that are a little more complex and not easy to explain within an hour such as Dota or League?
Adam: We’ll undoubtedly be thrown in at the deep end with a few MOBAs or FPS games which require more than just a quick glance at Wikipedia to get under their skin so expect to see us fail miserably more often than not. If there’s something that doesn’t make any sense, leave it to Ant and I to fill in the blanks, I’m sure we can connect the dots…to some extent.
Anthony: If any of those games come up, and I’m sure they will, we will be diving headfirst into the game. We are definitely not afraid of a challenge! I for one am looking forward to getting involved in the text chat. If Sav can play the game while I take charge of the team chat, that would be ideal.
eSports Pro: How do you think the switch to eSports has impacted Ginx generally? Is it a good idea or do you wish they had stuck with their old style?
Adam: I think the switch to eSports for GINX will certainly encourage a new audience to watch their programming, and although seasoned viewers of the channel may not be as inclined to watch competitive gaming, this is where shows such as First Hour, which combine the two elements, work so brilliantly - I can’t wait for the audience at home to tune in and find out what Ant & I have up our sleeves each week!