A Day in the Life of Ginx TV
Before I begin, let’s make one thing clear – April Fools’ Day? I hate it.
Maybe it’s following a childhood stuffed with pranks at my expense. Maybe it’s because I hate forced hilarity at stupid, humourless japes – or maybe it’s because April 1st is my mother-in-law’s birthday. Whatever it is, April Fools’ Day never fails to bring me out into a greasy sweat of panic, and 1st April 2011 is certainly no exception.
It’s typical then, that my much coveted invite to Ginx TV headquarters falls on this, my most loathed of days.
The day doesn’t even start well. I’m still mourning a disastrous visit to the hairdressers earlier that week and, for reasons best known to itself, my skin has broken out like I’m a fifteen year old grease ball. (I didn’t even have bad skin as a teen and yet today – today when I’m tasked to walk into a room of people I’ve never met before – I look like I’ve been stung by a bee in the middle of my face.) My train is inexplicably delayed. I can but hope that it’s not because of that bee-stingesque crater.
Eventually I get to London. I’m late, but at least I’m there. As instructed, I walk down the street to number 36. Uh, there is no number 36. I check again. Nope – definitely no 36. I start to panic. Oh, Christ – is this a wind up? IS THIS WHY I WAS INVITED ON THIS DATE? Are people crouching in the window of number 35, pointing and laughing at me and OH MY GOD I AM AN IDI–
I finally clock the huge building at the end of the street. The building between numbers 35 and 37.
The huge building with STUDIOS written down one side in two-foot high letters.
I’m suddenly very relieved that I’m not here for a job interview; I suspect they would’ve thanked me for my time and regrettably informed me that the calibre of the other applicants was very high on this occasion.
I stumble through the gate, accompanying what can only be a male model going to another studio (I swear I saw him grimace at the crater), and then – finally – I’m inside Ginx TV HQ. After all this – the paranoia, the fear, the sweat, the shit hair and bad skin – could the stress of getting here be worth it?
At first, it feels like I’ve stepped into any typical office; corporate white walls, rows of people stacked behind rows of PCs, cubicle toys and the click-clack of busy fingers on keyboards. Look a little closer, however, and you’ll see that it’s anything but. Yes, the walls are a corporate white – but isn’t there a fantastic video game mural burgeoning on the far wall? And yes, there’s plenty of busy people – but they’re possibly the nicest bunch of people gathered together in one place I’ve seen for some time (well, since GGS hit Gamescom en masse last year!). And the cubicle toys? Granted, they’re chiefly rammed into the, ahem “creative” side of the room, but they’re all gamegeektastic and thoroughly stealable.
I wonder if it’s possible to leave with a toy Hulk shoved up my jacket.
Nope. There’s nothing remotely typical here.
Neil Gorton, Ginxy producer, voiceover artist and all-round good guy greets me and walks me around. Once tea is imbibed from a mug that leaks, I’m told, deliberately, (oh God, is this too a joke I’m too stupid to get?) we settle down in what is arguably the heart of all things Ginx: the edit suites.
To one side there are shelves stuffed with an array of games which, I’m later informed, is just a fragment of the collective game collection. Since the advent of HD TV, some legacy gaming segments need to be re-shot in hi-def to match the quality of the up-to-the-minute links by Ginx front woman, Julia Hardy. But not today. Today, they’re recording in-game footage from Homefront and I have to confess – the temptation to pull up a chair and get stuck in was unbearable. But no sooner do I settle down and admire Adam’s considerably-better-than-mine- shooting-skills, I’m whisked off again – this time to meet the editors, all of whom are ridiculously friendly, particularly “Good Egg” Luke, who let me ruin the viewing of an unaired episode whilst Publisher Relations manager Sam and I gossiped about Final Fantasy, Silent Hill, and how difficult it is to keep cool whilst in the same room as our game industry heroes.
I feel stupidly, happily, embarrassingly, at home here.
Am I a good interviewer? Probably not. I’m nervous. I insult the insanely beautiful Aoife in about fifteen seconds after being introduced. I feel inadequate and stupid, and it’s pretty hard not feel like an awkward work experience kid that’s been plonked in the middle of the office to get in everybody’s way. But is it fun to interview them? Christ, yes. Ginx is a place stuffed with some of friendliest gaming enthusiasts I’ve ever had the fortune to meet. I calm down. The excitement for the channel’s new shows is palpable, and everyone I speak to – each championing a different programme for the new line-up – is twitchy with enthusiasm.
Take, for example, The Blurb, Ginx’s weekly flagship show. A sit down (and another rather enjoyable cup of tea) with producer David and I learn more about the show’s fresh approach, which promises to be not just another gaming magazine show but a rather more all-encompassing exploration of all aspects of popular culture, including films, music, gadgets and the general geekery that most of us gamers are inclined to fiddle about with on the side. Its objectives are clear and inclusive: touch a smorgasbord of audiences, and let said audience lead the show. From casual to hardcore and all in-between, The Blurb wants to be steered by the very people who watch it, seeking everything from user-submitted movies to set decoration ideas.
Also high on my to-watch list is Games Evolved. Whilst tasked to explore some of the world’s biggest and best gaming franchises, tracking the development of our favourite AAA titles and developers, the series will also examine some of the industry’s most interesting trends and conventions like, for example, the evolution of the FPS’ infamous red barrel. Oh, and while we’re on the subject of first person shooters … are your personal gaming preferences centered around blowing shit up? If so, Get Fragged – post-watershed and packed with with “non-stop thrills, spills and OTT kills” – just might be the show for you.
Is that it? No – of course not. With Games Games Games (magazine show for all ages), The Quest (your number one destination for action-adventure fans, Faster and Gamesport (racing and sports respectively), there’s pretty much something for everyone. And I do mean everyone; bringing up a child-sized gamer of my own, it’s heartening to know that, along with the post-watershed shows of headshots and explosions, Ginx TV also aims to cater for family gamers, bucking the ridiculous assumption that only fifteen year old boys play video games.
I’m sure you agree – this is well overdue.
The day passes in a blur. A sly glance at the clock and I realise that it’s past five. What? It’s past five – ON A FRIDAY – and not a single person has left yet. I sit, open-mouthed.
This is dedication.
This is Ginx TV.
Ginx TV broadcasts 24/7 on Zee TV (India), features on TVNZ U (New Zealand) and is now across the Adriatic. The UK channel is imminent but for now, you can catch Gameface and Ginx Files every Saturday night on Challenge TV from eleven pm.