“You’ve played the games, now it’s time to see the people, hear the stories, and meet the Icons.” – G4 Demo Reel
Out of all the shows from the launch of G4, the TechTV shows brought over in the merger, or the post-merger and last five to seven years of the channel; Icons was arguably the greatest show G4 had ever produced. The show was a docu-series focusing on iconic games or personalities hence the name “Icons”. Like all the shows I talk about in this “Remembering G4” series, Icons was a G4 launch series. I first saw the show during the mid-2000s and later on in that decade and being utterly mesmerized by it. It really felt like you were watching a 20+ minute long honest documentary on Pac-Man, Richard Garriot, or in my case: the tragic story of the SEGA Dreamcast. I have memories of staying home from school in 2007 and watching whatever rerun G4 was showing that day. It eventually got to the point where I received a Dreamcast for Christmas a year or two later.
I will mention this in the future Filter edition of Remembering G4, but post-merger G4 was having a real identity crisis in terms of what kind of channel it wanted to be. Instead of being a channel dedicated to “Games, Gear, Gadgets, and Gigabytes” it slowly mutated into a wannabe Spike TV, which would ironically go under and be reborn as Paramount Network in early 2018. G4’s identity crisis/line-wide rebrand seemingly came at a creative cost for certain shows that were still on the air at the time. One of the G4 originals such as Filter was rebranded with Beth Ostrosky as host. Icons was another target as to where the focus had been on Icons of the video game industry, was rebranded to the Icons of pop-culture.
With the rebranding of Icons, came a very bland new show name for video game-related Icons called “Game Makers”. While the name/format change can be infuriating looking back at it, I can see what Neal Tiles (head of G4) was trying to do in a “have your cake and eat it too” sort of way by testing the waters for the format change with Icons, while at the same time keeping episode reruns from years past alive under the “Game Makers” name.
The first non-game edition of Icons would be at the end of Season 5 and focus on King Kong and the sixth season would run from June 2006 to March of the following year and would not be returning for a seventh year. Another original G4 show would, unfortunately, be canceled… Thankfully, a large amount of Icons episodes prior to the format change can still be found online if you know where to look.
Next time on Remembering G4 join me as I look back at Cheat!
You can find the previous edition focusing on G4TV.com here.