“Here’s something I made earlier,” Dave Perry says to camera, a Union Jack bandana wrapped around his head and a smirk on his face. He looks to our left, as if a newsreader waiting to watch a film they’d just introduced. Then we fade to… bikini babes waving their breasts around for a minute and a half to a song whose lyrics are limited to: “bikini babes on beat ’em-ups. Up and down. Up and down.”
No, you’re not reading about a 90s video game TV show. You’re reading about Dave Perry’s debut on YouTube, episode one in the GamesAnimal TV Show series, which comes nearly 20 years since the UK’s most famous gaming “expert” left the video game industry.
Perry, who’s best-known for walking out on an episode of GamesMaster because he lost at Super Mario 64, asks his viewers what they want from the series. Do they want him to play Super Mario 64, or “this fucker” as he puts it, for the first time in 22 years, for the first time since he fell off that slide during the GamesMaster Christmas special? Perhaps they want him to tell old stories sparked by memorabilia he’s kept instead? Either way, Perry is back, and he’s bringing the 90s and all its cringe with it – in 480p resolution.
“Dave, you were an absolute legend back then, the first I would say ‘cool’ person on TV that understood gaming and talked about it comfortably without nerding it up,” reads the top comment on the video, from one Martin Hinson. “Easily my favourite guest on GamesMaster.
“But, drop the bikini babes. It’s not the 90s anymore. It’s cringe and immature. We’ve stepped out of the basement and into the forefront of media.”
Is Perry going for a parody of some kind, a clever, funny send-up of the era in which his celebrity shone? “I get what you’re trying to do – a somewhat parody of the old non-PC days,” says fellow YouTube commentator Martin Harder, “but it doesn’t come across right. Not to me anyway.”
“Waffle and sexism in 480p?” Mudstuff asks. “Enjoyed seeing you at the last two Revivals and was a die hard GamesMaster fan back in the day. None of that passion comes through in this though. Better pacing, editing and production value (minimum HD quality) would be good.
“And lose the women unless they’re actually going to contribute something, times have changed! Stunned you’re still not over Mario 64, genuinely my favourite game to this day and still play it. I personally think you’ve really missed out there, surely you played it a bit before that fateful episode? If it’s always been a little sour though, just leave it be. Happy to hear some more stories from back in the day (bearing in mind the aforementioned constructive criticism).”
Like so many who have commented on Perry’s YouTube video, I was a big GamesMaster fan back in the day. It remains, for me, the best video game TV show of all time, a formative series for 90s teenagers across the UK.
And I was a Dave Perry fan, particularly for his Street Fighter 2 prowess. And while I’ve always thought he threw his toys out of the pram after that Super Mario 64 moment, whenever I’d heard the name Dave Perry, I thought of cool moments from GamesMaster.
And so his video, which is awful in so many respects, puzzled me. It made me feel depressed. It made me feel sad. It made me feel angry. And it worried me. Then I thought I’d interview Dave Perry himself about it and find out if I had missed a trick somewhere. It turns out I hadn’t. Perry’s video is just proper grim. The interview, conducted via Facebook, is below. It is… well, it really is something.
Well, first off, I was wondering why you’re doing this now?
Dave Perry: Well, when I left GamesWorld during the filming of Season 4 it was to help raise my daughter. I figured the games industry had had enough of me and I had had enough of it.
I swore not to do anything else until she was an adult.
So… 19 years later here I am.
The guys that run Revival and the visitors to those conventions, convinced me that the retro world would love for me to come back, so I thought… why not?
Ah cool. So, why try do the YouTuber thing?
Dave Perry: Well, everyone told me that this was how everyone was making shows these days. I thought it was a pretty amateur thing to do but, eventually people convinced me otherwise. Lots of people wanted to make a show with me… but they were dragging their heels a bit. We filmed lots of footage this year… but in the end I decided to just do something more personal on my own. I’m bloody minded like that. If I say I am going to do something I do it.
Thanks. So, what were you trying to achieve with your first episode?
Dave Perry: I just wanted to say ‘hi, I’m back’. A lot of people had subscribed but there had been no product. So I thought I’d keep it nice and easy. Learn how to record the visuals, audio etc. And how to edit it. And then get the ball rolling.
Keep the 90s attitude that people were familiar with. And add a few things to get people talking… without being too clever.
That Mario 64 GamesMaster thing still seems to be bothering you!
Dave Perry: Ha, ha. Well, whenever I go anywhere or take part in any games related chat or conversation online… it only takes a few posts before someone tries to be clever by bringing it up. It still gets shown on Bad TV of the 90s. I am between Shaun Ryder and Oliver Reed.
So I figure, if I bring it up it stops everyone else from doing it.
To be honest, it doesn’t bother me that much. But what happened that day was disgusting and I see no reason why I should just smile and say nothing. I will continue to tell the truth about what happened when asked.
It was most importantly the day decent games TV died.
Nice. Okay, well I’ve seen some interesting feedback to the video that I’d like to get your response to. First up, the video is in low resolution. Was that deliberate?
Dave Perry: Yes. Gives it a nice 90s feel.
What was the thinking behind the bikini babes section?
Dave Perry: I came up with the song while I was tattooing one day and thought it was catchy, silly and very 80s/90s, so we recorded it and then made the video for the fun of it. Which is the best reason to do anything.
My wife and four daughters didn’t mind hamming it up in the bikinis for me. We had a fun day.
I knew it would cause controversy, but I love sexism!
Bikini Babes on Beat’em-UPS is the bomb. We have been offered the opportunity to release a longer version.
They’re your wife and four daughters in the bikinis in the video?
Dave Perry: Yes.
I can’t tell if you’re being serious or joking!
Dave Perry: Why? What’s wrong with them?
Nothing’s wrong with them, I just don’t know if I’d want to film them waving their tits about in a YouTube video so pervy men could get off on it. And I say that as a husband and father of a daughter.
Dave Perry: Blimey!
Of course they are not my wife and daughters.
They are the Game Babes!
Just having fun with you.
Dave Perry: Indeed.
Okay, so, the top YouTube comment is this: “Dave, you were an absolute legend back then, the first I would say ‘cool’ person on TV that understood gaming and talked about it comfortably without nerding it up. Easily my favourite guest on GamesMaster. But, drop the bikini babes. It’s not the 90s anymore. It’s cringe and immature. We’ve stepped out of the basement and into the forefront of media.”
How do you respond to that?
Dave Perry: I thought that was hilarious. It is a retro gaming show… but they are complaining about it having retro values. Just hilarious.
Also… since when was gaming at the forefront of media?
That has always been the big problem with this hobby… it is still so ducking underground. The media doesn’t give a shit about it. Only it’s own media cares.
People need to get their heads out of the arses on this. I tried to tell people 20 years ago…
Ducking = Fucking.
So, were you serious when you said this: “I knew it would cause controversy, but I love sexism!”
Dave Perry: Yes. I miss Page 3.
Now I can’t tell if you’re being serious or joking again!
Dave Perry: Good isn’t it?
You see, the games industry needs this.
Far more interesting.
Okay, so, what do you plan on doing next?
Dave Perry: Well, I will continue to film little shows and put them ‘on the line’ and see if people want to watch. I will continue to do things my way… I have a strict ‘if you don’t like it, don’t watch it’ attitude. Nobody is paying me to do this, and I am doing it in my own free time. Hopefully some people will like the honesty of it all.
I’d love to get more collaborators and become the ‘hub’ for a bigger show or network featuring gamers’ contributions from all over the country… maybe even the world.
But in the meantime, it is just me, the camera, some good old retro feels, and the occasional bikini babe or two.
So you’re sticking with the bikini babes thing?
Dave Perry: Not necessarily… I have some great costumes…
No listen, I just do whatever comes into my head. But if it offends enough peoples’ 21st Century sensibilities then I might do… yes.
You have to admit it’s a catchy tune?
The girls are just the visual realisation of the words.
When was the last time anyone wrote a catchy tune about gaming?
You see, you are fixating on what you see as the negatives, but missing something unique here.
Sorry Dave, but I’m fixating on what I see as sexism, and something I thought had died out in the industry a long time ago.
Dave Perry: Okay. Shame.
I’m honestly surprised you didn’t see this reaction coming!
Dave Perry: What reaction?
Of course I did.
That’s why it is funny.
We all knew what people would think when we made that video and recorded that song. Everyone involved gave their time for free because they thought it was great fun. It makes everyone smile.
It’s just so silly.
As the YouTuber commenter said, in 2018 you don’t come across as being silly, you come across as being sexist.
Anyway, I get the impression you’re not bothered too much by what people think.
Dave Perry: Absolutely.
Okay, well, thanks so much for your time, Dave. I’m genuinely fascinated to see how you go forward from here.
Dave Perry: Thank you. I have enjoyed sparring with you today.
I appreciate your interest and support.
And I absolutely respect your right to an opinion.
Really, we are just having fun.
Now, I’m off to play Dead or Alive.
I hear a new Leisure Suit Larry game is out, perhaps you should try that?
Dave Perry: Thought I’d go and spank a few stripper in GTA first.