Part 2 of my G4 Remembrance Maxi-series.
Hello welcome to the second edition of LosHarrowGames’ special feature “Remembering G4” focused on Blister. And while I may not be Bill Sindelar I am a ginger who is knowledgeable about a niche video game channel that no longer exists. Now if you don’t mind let’s get
jiggy with it started!.
Prior to the launch of G4 in April of 2002 there was a game of Pong and after the inaugural program to launch on the newly formed channel was Blister, a show dedicated to action-adventure games. Compared to the revamp of X-Play later on in the decade; Blister was, simply put, a bare-bones action-adventure game coverage show. Much like most G4 shows from the early 2000s the show and everything it represented reflected the state of video game media compared to how things have changed in the near twenty years since. Now these days the show garners a nostalgia reaction more than anything else. As one of the producers for the show during its year or two existence, Jon Solin would later join the X-Play production staff and as a result of that would become a character on X-Play as the “I love Canada” guy. Since 2008 I have been accrewing a library of G4 videos from the beginning, middle, and near the end. After watching an episode around a couple of years ago I saw Solin’s name as a producer and tweeted out something along the lines of “omg @____ was a producer on Blister?!”
He responded with something along the lines of “why would you watch that?” I was stunned as G4 had a cult-like fanbase that seemingly got more culty after it went off the air. Adam Sessler said it perfectly now that I think of it when talking on Kevin Perreira’s Pointless podcast. He said “everyone seems to miss G4 now” he then followed this with “where were you then?!?!” Which says everything really about G4 and its audience. Something I just noticed is that Rick Damigella aka SVOT from the good old G4 Stickam video chats from the early part of this decade was the supervising producer. However there were certain gimmick episodes during the run of Blister that worked sometimes and in one case, was upended by TechTV merging with G4.
There were two special “Blister – Declassified” episodes revolving around Bill Sindelar trying to locate a game that at the time was an urban legend but now? Not so much. That game being Polybius. It was literally an urban legend of the new millenium as it began in February of 2000 and got to a point where someone requested the Freedom of Information Act. This seemingly pointless use of time over an alleged arcade game would prove nothing being in the vacuum of reality for this game. If you don’t believe me here’s the image.
The other notable Blister gimmick episodes were the seasonal episodes. For example, there was a Halloween episode where Sindelar was paranoid about not being able to find his games. The last two are connected in a sad way that would prove to be the future of the network. First is the “End Year Sindeletacular” which was the holiday episode which was supposed to be a traditional format for the following year. Unfortunately, the following year G4’s parent company also known as Comcast bought the majority stake of TechTV when the late Paul Allen who had said majority stake sold it and if you remember the first episode of the LosHarrowGames Podcast (which you can find here) I… mocked a dead man… I, well, am trying to reform.
There was a time period during mid-late 2004 at G4TechTV where shows were either getting cancelled or changed or even both. Some examples are the changes made to shows such as The Screensavers, Unscrewed with Martin Sargent, Portal, and others. In the case of The ScreenSavers the show (which had been based in San Francisco, CA was moved to Los Angeles, longtime hosts Patrick Norton and Leo Laporte departed, leaving Sarah Lane, Kevin Rose, Dan Huard, Yoshi, and Brendan Moran the only TechTV on-air staff and newcomers Chi-Lan Lieu and Alex Albrecht to man the fort. Unscrewed wouldn’t last to the next year while Portal and Blister would soon be cancelled to make room for the TechTV arrivals. Blister’s final episode wouldn’t have much to do with video games as it was one big parody of MTV’s “Punk’d” series but in Blister’s “Skunk’d” version it didn’t really fit and felt like something different altogether.
For some reason when X-Play did their Breakfast Club parody and reviewed classic games I got a little offended when Midway Arcade Treasures was reviewed in the X-Play voice. Not because of interest for the game but I have watched the Blister clip and I have a certain combination stuck in my head. That being Sinistar, “part sinister, star, and sindelar”.
Now let us all bid Blister entry into Valhalla, as now its watch has ended.