things that we're sad to see go
April 23, 2012 2:34 PM   Subscribe

At the Gameological Society, John Teti eulogizes Dick Clark the game show host by waxing rhapsodic about Pyramid, including his all-time favorite run in the Winner's Circle.
posted by eugenen (21 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I love Clark's "YEAH!" at the climax of the Winner's Circle vid. He's not often pulled into the drama of his own proceedings but that cheer sounded totally heart felt.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:40 PM on April 23, 2012

I figured the Gameological Society was just about video games, but this article made me take a second look. Seems to be... just about video games, except this one article.

When did "game" become synonymous with "video game"?
posted by blue t-shirt at 4:10 PM on April 23, 2012

Probably due to the immense popularity of video games. However, this is a newish site so I'm hoping we will get more non video game writing as well.
posted by josher71 at 4:14 PM on April 23, 2012

That explains why... but that's obvious, and not what I half-rhetorically asked. (I said "When...?")
posted by blue t-shirt at 4:17 PM on April 23, 2012

Longtime lurker John Teti here. Josher71 has it right. The bulk of the site will always focus on video games, but we're working on expanding our coverage to include discussion of board games, game shows, all types of games. Building out the site's voice is a pleasurable process but a slow one. Thanks for reading the Clark tribute. Hope you enjoyed it.
posted by johnteti at 4:22 PM on April 23, 2012 [7 favorites]

best game show theme song ever.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:27 PM on April 23, 2012

Great clip too. Obvious they are ahead of time and Clark smoothly stretches it out by giving them "silent time" to think it over, heightening the drama while making sure they hit the running time.

A fucking pro.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:33 PM on April 23, 2012

One of the things I love about watching Dick Clark's Pyramid: I've never known another game show host to lend the game as much seriousness as he did. Pyramid under Dick Clark was a thoughtful show for thoughtful people.
posted by Apropos of Something at 4:40 PM on April 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Hey Blue T-Shirt, I figured I was answering the same question. When exactly that balanced tipped, I don't know but I'm going to say sometime around the time when kids really started getting into Super Mario Brothers.
posted by josher71 at 4:42 PM on April 23, 2012

I'm thinking that it happened a lot later than the 80s, which is what you seem to be implying when I look past the sarcasm in your latest reply.
posted by blue t-shirt at 4:50 PM on April 23, 2012

The writing in this article is so solid, and it explained why i loved the pyrmaid shows so much, the language.
posted by PinkMoose at 4:55 PM on April 23, 2012

Sorry you feel that way, there was no sarcasm meant. I'm being serious.
posted by josher71 at 5:00 PM on April 23, 2012

blue t-shirt, I'm guessing that it happened slowly, with the generational shift from those who's children grew up with video games to those kids themselves. Calling them "video games" implies that they are a specific subset of games, new games for a new digital age which was somewhat foreign to the boomers, and treated somewhat dismissively or even demonized. Calling them simply "games" now that the generation who grew up with them have control over the message, as it were, legitimizes them, makes them mainstream. To better explain myself, take these two statements:

"Tonight, at 11, are video games corrupting America's youth?"

"Tonight, at 11, are games corrupting America's youth?"

The first is histrionic, but the second just sounds off. Now, modern games aren't exclusively video games, but that's the largest segment of the industry. The most mainstream. The one people spend the most time with. While D&D is in a major renaissance period which is lifting up all sorts of tabletop games, and the German Invasion following Settlers of Catan has brought board games into an exciting new era, they have mostly appealed to a broadening geek ciulture rather than the culture at large. And even then, a Settlers player is stillprobably going to spend more time playing Skyrim or WoW. So the focus remains on video games, though as Teti stated here, that's not all he's going to focus on.

Don't know if that answered your question.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:12 PM on April 23, 2012

Answered, no, but you raise some interesting points, intermingled with some curious assertions (e.g. "a Settlers player is stillprobably going to spend more time playing Skyrim or WoW"? I'm inclined not to accept that at face value).
posted by blue t-shirt at 5:15 PM on April 23, 2012

I got to this article via the AV Club, and really enjoyed it... the writing felt smart and spot-on, and that Winner's Circle clip was terrific. I love to see a close analysis like that, especially of something that would otherwise fly by me--it's an interesting question, for instance, what makes Shelley Smith's clue-giving (and general rhythm in the game, and way she subtly cues her partner with tone and timbre) so good.

Man, I used to looooove Pyramid. We had the home board game version, super old-school, back in the 70s.
posted by theatro at 5:27 PM on April 23, 2012

That's fair. I was considering the 18-40ish demographic. A Settlers player might love the hell out of Settlers, but they still have to get others into one place in order to play it, while video games can be done solo (or remotely with others.) As there is (and here's an anecdotally-based assumption on my part) a general overlap between board-game-enthusiasts of that demographic and video gamers, and video games are logistically a lot easier to spend ones free time on, this gamer will probably spend more time on video games, is all I was saying.

(Obviously there are exceptions. My parents, for instance, haven't owned a console since the Atari days but love the new breed of board games, and get their friends into them. They are way outside the age demo I was mentioning though.)

But I understand your... not meaning to put words into your mouth but I'll call it "frustration." I listen to a lot of ESPN Radio, because I like Baseball, Basketball and Hockey. But something one has to get used to with that is that seemingly over half of their programming is about Football. Even now, in the springtime, half a year away from the NFL season. It's not just me saying that - people complain about it all the time and it gets brought up on the air.

Basically the answer is that Football is, by the numbers they've got, astoundingly more popular than the other major sports. As a side-effect of this, they tend to assume that if someone is enough of a sports fan to be listening to ESPN radio, they are familiar with Football, at least enough to not change the dial. So they talk about all things Football, great and small, and then also about the other sports when they've got a story.

That's sort of where the discussion of games is currently, I think. Video games are absolutely the predominant medium. They have the major publishers, the wide releases, the hype. People who would go to a gaming website are expected to have knowledge of them. D&D 5th Edition may get some hype, but nowhere near what something like Diablo III gets, for better or worse.

Most pan-pop-culture sites (like The A.V. Club) will use the term "games" to refer exclusively to video games, likely because board games and tabletop games and such are still too niche, but then, the A.V. Club is affiliated with this new site linked in the FPP, and as Teti has said, they will be branching out into the smaller subcategories as well. Video games, like football, are the mass-appeal hook.

As for "when," though, I'd say that I've seen this become cemented over the past ten years or so, but it has obviously been a slow and organic process.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:38 PM on April 23, 2012

Quick, someone write a Project Runway game so Teti has to recap it.
posted by fleacircus at 6:43 PM on April 23, 2012

blue t-shirt: "When did 'game' become synonymous with 'video game'?"

That's kind of a trick question - I'm not convinced it ever did. Look at the word in conjunction with the definite article, for example. When was the last time somebody mentioned "the game" and was talking about a video game? Another example - I used to live with some good friends of mine whom I described to those who asked as "gamers." Invariably the response would be: "oh, uh - so they're really into D & D, or video games?" Both, for what it's worth, but the point is that even the term "gamer" doesn't seem to be exclusive to video games.

The thing is that we live in a society that has a lot of time for games and other forms of play. There are many sports that don't technically involve what would be called a "game" that fit into this category - NASCAR is probably the most popular sport in the US, for example, if you go by attendance. Video games are a rapidly growing segment, so they get a lot of attention, but it seems as though board games are also played more now than any time in the past two decades; and I know more role-players than I ever have before.

If there's anything that's sort of been on the decline, it's game shows - so maybe that's what you were getting at. And that is an interesting phenomenon, it's true. I think that my generation fancies itself a bit too savvy for game shows, which seem to be largely focused on the simple pleasure of watching someone like oneself win a lot of money. I don't know; they seem kind of stodgy to me, and while it's hard to say anything too concrete about one's feelings here, it almost seems to me that game shows belong to a different era, an era in which television was still a spectacle where three networks broadcast three streams of entertainment and there was some unity of viewership. It's not as much a spectacle anymore, and everything is generally timeshifted anyway so there is not the guarantee that we're all watching together or something like that. The whole equation is different.

But then - you could say that reality television is just a modern form of game show. And if that's true, then game shows haven't actually declined; if anything, we're in the midst of a decade-long resurgence.
posted by koeselitz at 9:00 PM on April 23, 2012

This guy REALLY likes the Pyramid. Frankly I liked Pyramid better before it was elevated "genius" status.
posted by Brocktoon at 9:17 PM on April 23, 2012

Pyramid was such an iconic show, like Jeopardy in that respect. SNL's done skits on it, and then of course there's the classic Friends clip: Paper. Snow. A ghost!

I met Dick Clark in Tampa once, very briefly. I remember being surprised at how slight a man he was. Slender.

Of course, I knew from watching him on TV that he wasn't a "big" man, but his personality made him seem bigger, if you get what I mean. Larger than life.

Standing around, waiting to film a scene, with all the makeup people and the camera men around him, he'd practically disappear from view.

But then he'd go on camera and just take over the whole damn stage.
posted by misha at 11:03 PM on April 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

I suppose what I'm talking about is the self-identification of video gamers as "gamers". You see this everywhere that video game players try to form a community. Reddit has r/gaming, for instance, which is nominally inclusive, but practically hostile to non-videogame content. Ludum Dare bills itself as a "game making competition", which excited me until I realized that, oh wait, they only meant video games. Similarly, a local Winnipeg indie game design group uses the term 'game' as synecdoche for video games.

I think the shift that I'm perceiving is borne out by the evidence I have at hand, but I think it's a much more recent occurrence than others here are suggesting.
posted by blue t-shirt at 5:27 AM on April 24, 2012

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