By: Taylor Cross
G4, also known as G4tv, was an American television channel that operated as the mecca for gaming aficionados. It was the CNN for general geekery, and a pipe-bomb of nostalgia for nerdy, old me.
I remember getting a job at my local GameStop by waxing poetic about the now defunct network. Reminiscing about “Splinter Cell Co-Op Theater,” a short segment on X-Play, a G4 video game review series, where Special Agent Bob and Secret Agent Steve “quip and trip their way thru a Splinter Cell Co-op mission,” and their raunchy ripostes, penchant for trolling, and overall absurdity. I remember my frustration with Adam Sessler and Morgan Webb’s, former hosts for X-Play, consistent lambasting of anime-based games and Sessler’s spot-on mimicking of Naruto’s exuberant “Believe it!”. Although they felt the wrath of the anime fandom via hate mail, their spot-on assessments of its mediocrity never wavered. X-Play’s rapier wit and goofy sketches, some of which featured fictional hapless interns being subjected to various abuses, were enthralling to me, a tween nerdling in the early two-thousands.
Maybe it’s a bit presumptuous to say but Attack of the Show was G4’s signature program. It was a nerd and pop-culture variety act that can be credited to launching Olivia Munn’s, Kevin Pereira’s, and Hardwick’s careers. Olivia Munn’s beauty was often objectified and used as overt fan service to the predominately young-adult male nerd audience, e.g.: Olivia Munn’s Princess Leia skit. Unbeknownst to me, Olivia Munn became one of my first crushes of the female persuasion.
You see, gamers today have it easy, we have online access to a variety of interesting, personal, and profound coverage spanning from video game reviews, convention live streams, and anime analysis. Both X-Play and Attack of the Show offered excellent Comic-Con and E3 coverage that was revolutionary for its time. G4 was the only television channel to allow geeks to talk about and experience geek stuff as opposed to having such material being relegated to the internet.
Unfortunately, the channel wasted away into a hellscape in which Cops, Campus PD, and Cheaters, a cesspool of trash TV that entertains those in a sleep deprived punch drunk delirium, bombarded viewers with incessant re-runs. G4 eventually became to video games what MTV is to music or what the History Channel is to history. The channel attempted to drop its geek and rebrand itself as chic to suit a more GQ-esque audience. The rebranding flopped.
As a twenty-something, female, Black nerd, or as some of the kids say, Blerd, I felt as though G4’s eclectic television shows, ranging from its staples like X-Play to its airing of Ninja Warrior, another classic, were catered to me. I looked forward to watching G4 after school and watching the segment on Attack of the Show called “In Your Pants” where I learned more about sexuality at an age where most of the goings on in my body were an enigma. Or watching Cheat! in which I remember hastily scribbling down cheat codes onto a piece of paper to be later smashed into my PS2 controller. G4 was integral, allowed me to let my geek flag fly, and it is still sorely missed.