Commentator ("The Pundit"): Charlie Brooker
[.tv], 19 August 1999 to 2000
Imagine Gamesmaster meets any basic "we ask the questions, you give us the answers" quiz show. Et voila, Games Republic. Hosted by former BBC favourites Trev and Simon, this Egyptian-themed game show offered prizes for gaming skill and knowledge. "Trevorpatra" and "Tutansimon" delivered the questions in the first half of the show, aided by "Mum", who introduced the contestants.
Known as the Punch-Up Quiz, both contestants would start with three "lives". A question on gaming would be asked, and the fastest finger would get the chance to answer. If they got it right, they hit their opponent (their opponent lost a life), and if they got it wrong, guess what? They lost a life. If you lost all your lives, you lost the round.
Winning two rounds was good enough for victory, at which point the Gamesmaster element came in. The victorious pugilist would be offered the chance to take a video gaming challenge. If they succeeded, they were rewarded with a prize, which increased according to the difficulty of the challenge. And, just like in Gamesmaster, an industry pundit (you'd seen them all before) came on, clothed like a monk (they called him "The Pundit") and shouted commentary throughout the challenge which frankly probably hindered the contestants more than it helped them.
A contestant could only win three times before being replaced, thus they got three goes at winning prizes. The challenges were graded at three levels of difficulty - gold, silver and bronze. Success at bronze level meant they could try a silver challenge next time, which was obviously harder, but the prize was also better. If they fail a challenge, they would be given the chance to try again at the same level next time they won the Punch-Up Quiz. Thusly, they could take two goes at a bronze challenge, then their third and final go meant they could only walk away with silver at best. Or, if they were especially useless, they could flunk three times at bronze and leave with proof of their vast knowledge, but no evidence of them being any good at games at all.
As the series progressed into the quarter and semi finals, the format changed slightly. The Punch-Up Quiz was dropped in favour of awarding one point for each correct answer. BOTH contestants then contested a gaming challenge with a fixed number of points awarded for significant events in the game. For example, both contestants would play FIFA (poor souls, shoulda given them ISS) and be awarded 5 points for every goal they scored. So a contestant who was 9 points behind could win the game 3-1, and come out on top overall.
Alas, we never got to watch the final (they showed the semi final and the final on the same day, but no-one told me), so we can't tell you who won. We can also say that Games Republic quickly disappeared from the [.tv] website so we can't say for sure whether it'll be back. Which is a shame. 'cos we wanted to be on it.