Bits (Channel 4, 1999-2001)
I have been interested in computer games for over 25 years now, ever since I got a Commodore 64 for my birthday in 1989. I must admit I’ve never actually been that good at them and would consider myself to be something of a casual player, but I’ve always enjoyed magazines and TV shows about gaming.
In the late-90s Channel 4 began a late-night strand called “4Later” where they showed all manner of strange shows in the early hours. I noticed that these included a show about computer games called Bits so I decided to set the video as it was usually shown around 1am.
Bits ran for four series and gosh, was presented by three women! Aleks, Emily and another Emily (who joined in the second series) would tell us all about the latest happenings in the games industry in their rather crazy style. There would also be features, reviews and competitions for viewers to take part in.
I remember series 4 the most. I had just got a PlayStation 2 at the start of 2001 so I was interested in the features on the games for that console and there were lots of other things to enjoy too as the presenters clearly knew their stuff. So is Crazy Taxi any good?
When Bits ended Channel 4 replaced it in 2002 with another late-night gaming show hosted by Iain Lee but that only lasted for one series, and there’s barely been anything like it since. I know that there have been a few attempts at gaming shows on TV including GamesMaster which I will be reviewing soon, but it’s a shame that there’s currently nothing like this on TV.
I know that of course the world of gaming is constantly changing and you can easily get lots of news on websites and magazines, but I do feel that there should be more programmes on TV about games, there are ones about other genres like films, gaming isn’t a niche hobby any more and I think that there would be a sizeable audience for a mainstream show.
Bits was a low-budget show and is now fairly obscure as incredibly it began over 15 years ago but it was a good attempt though at talking about games in a knowledgeable but amusing way.