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Good Game Cancellation Shocks Fans and Industry

Yesterday the beloved ABC2 programme Good Game was cancelled, along with bite-size online shows Pocket and Well Played. The good news is that ABC3 ME children’s show Spawn Point will continue production, albeit “in a new format”. What this format change entails remains to be seen.

The ABC have credited the departure of two main hosts as a “major setback” that prompted the decision. Good Game host Stephanie “Hex” Bendixsen and Pocket host Nich “Nichboy” Richardson announced they will be moving on to other opportunities. The statement also referred to “changes in the way audiences are choosing to get their information about gaming” as another reason to axe the show.

Good Game spin-off Pocket is a daily news and entertainment programme broadcasted on ABC’s iview and Youtube. Produced and uploaded daily, Pocket has been able to create more agile, relevant content than the main show. However Nichboy has claimed in the closed Pocketeers Facebook fan group that the ABC “did not see the value in Youtube or a ‘new media’ audience’”.

Other workers within Good Game have joined fans in expressing their concerns for the implications of the managerial decision. Producer Lin Jie Kong lamented that the show was due to air in only three weeks, and had “survived presenter changes in the past”. Presenter Gus “Goose” Ronald has called the decision a “huge misstep”, noting that the show services a demographic that is highly sought by the ABC. With Good Game taken off air, there are no free-to-air programmes dedicated to Australian gamers.

Perhaps what is most shocking for fans is the lack of alternatives to Good Game. There are plenty of great online sources of games news, reviews and gossip, such as Australian programme Player Attack.

However, Good Game is not about getting “information”, but entertainment and community; it is a cornerstone of the Australian games industry and culture. The audience did not watch Good Game just to hear reviews, but for its celebration of games culture. Have a look at #putoutyourcontrollers on Twitter, and you’ll see what I mean.

This news follows the December 2016 announcement of Executive Producer Janet Carr’s departure after 10 years with Good Game

Bajo, Goose and DARREN will be continuing their roles in Spawn Point, with Angharad “Rad” Yeo stepping in as a permanent host. We wish the best for the team and departing presenters, and await the return of Spawn Point in 2017. 

May all your games be good ones.