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The Untold Truth Of G4

Before sites like YouTube made it possible for almost anyone to post a game review — as long as they had decent recording software and a microphone — many relied on websites and magazines to keep up with gaming. It was rare to find TV shows dedicated to video games, but one channel dared to focus primarily on the topic: G4.


The channel took a gamble on video game-centric programming and flourished, at least until it shut down. However, G4 is ready to make a comeback in 2021, complete with Attack of the Show! and host Olivia Munn, as well as X-Play.

However, the original G4 is a relic of a bygone era. When G4 was at its peak, Blockbusters were in every town, and Netflix was nothing more than a mail-in video rental service. Aside from the recent resurrection news, you might know little to nothing about the network's history.

If you want to hear the untold truth of G4, continue reading.

G4 wasn't all fun and video games

Even though G4 is best known for its video game-centric X-Play and the more pop- and-nerd-culture-based Attack of the Show!, the channel sported plenty of original non-gaming content. For example, G4 aired several animated shows, such as Code Monkeys and Spaceballs: The Animated Series.


Code Monkeys was a satirical, pixel-art show about a fictional game company, its employees, and their misadventures. The show played like a video game (each episode opened with the words "Player 1 Start!" and closed with a "Game Over" screen) and referenced real video games and game debacles. Meanwhile, Spaceballs: The Animated Series was a cartoon parody that loosely followed the continuity of Mel Brooks' Spaceballs. The show lampooned movies such as Jurassic Park and Pirates of the Caribbean, but more importantly, most of its cast members reprised their roles from the original movie. Oh, and Mel Brooks helped create the show, as well.

While many G4 shows died with the network, the popular American Ninja Warrior still lives on. However, the show might not have ever premiered on G4, let alone existed, had the channel not introduced audiences to Ninja Warrior, a translation of the Japanese sports competition Sasuke.


After the flagship show sank, so did G4

Olivia Munn hopes to seal a "multiyear deal" for the relaunched G4. While she has starred in movies such as X-Men: Apocalypse and Iron Man 2, she still has fond memories of co-hosting Attack of the Show!. However, she also thinks the show was G4's downfall, if only because she believes it held the channel together.


During an interview with IGN, Munn stated that she misses Attack of the Show! every day. According to Munn, the chemistry she had with Kevin Pereira was "lightning in a bottle" and helped turn the show into G4's flagship program. However, that quality was a double-edged sword, as Munn believes the cancellation of Attack of the Show! damaged G4, which could have resulted in its death spiral.

While Munn tried to stay with G4 in a different capacity after Attack of the Show! ended, she claimed the channel made it "difficult" for her. She eventually left, as she put it, "to try to make some other dreams come true," but her departure was somewhat reluctant.

X-Play existed long before G4

Even though many people associate X-Play with G4, the show — and its long-running host — predate the channel.

In 1998, X-Play originally aired on ZDTV as GameSpot TV (not to be confused with the GameSpot TV Xbox Live app), co-hosted by none other than Adam Sessler. Much like the show it would become, GameSpot TV focused primarily on video game previews and reviews. However, ZDTV didn't stay the same for long, and neither did GameSpot TV. In 2000, ZDTV was rebranded as TechTV, while GameSpot TV followed suit a year later and was reborn as Extended Play. Even though the show's name changed, Adam Sessler's hosting duties did not. However, that wasn't the end of the show's rebranding.


Extended Play was relabeled as X-Play, while still airing on TechTV. Meanwhile, Comcast founded a rival channel in 2002: G4. While G4 didn't have its own X-Play competitor, it didn't need one since Comcast bought out TechTV in 2004 and absorbed its properties, including X-Play. From that point, X-Play was part of G4, as was veteran host Adam Sessler. He stayed with the show and channel until 2012.

Wil Wheaton worked under the producer from hell at G4

G4 tried to get the esports ball rolling with the show Arena. Two parties entered the arena (which was just a LAN party), and one exited the winner. It sounds exciting, especially when you consider the show was originally hosted by Travis Oates and Wil Wheaton. However, according to Wheaton, the show's producer was the boss from hell.


In his Slashdot journal, Wheaton detailed some of his producer's unprofessionalism and dishonesty. According to Wheaton, Arena's producer treated everyone on the show with "shocking contempt and disrespect." He acted as though Oates and Wheaton just stepped off the bus to Hollywood, and loved to tell people they were "lucky to even be on the show."

Wheaton believes this behavior made the show toxic in the eyes of the gaming community, so the producer was rarely able to scrounge together full teams. Instead of changing his tune, the producer just filled out the empty competitor positions with G4 workers, which meant that many Arena matches starred pro-level players going up against casuals. Wheaton confronted his producer about that problem, which resulted in a slew of sudden, unprecedented technical issues as well as an unexpected and sharp pay decrease.


Coincidence? Wheaton didn't think so, which is why he and Oates ultimately quit.