The best thing about getting home from school on Thursdays!
Bad Influence was a TV show all about the latest games, consoles and technology. It aired between 1992 and 1996 in the UK, on CITV, a block of programming aimed at kids who had just got home from school. Which included me!
The program was shot mostly in a large single studio, full of screens, bright lights, and kids having fun. Violet Berlin and Andry Crane were the presenters, with an American teenager Z Wright chipping in with reports from the States, and “Nam Rood” (Real name Andy Wear) providing cheats for games from his shed.
The games reviews were handled by a team of youngsters, who would pop up on screen and explain their feelings on the game. Each game was scored from both a boy’s and girl’s point of view, and given seperate ratings. I think it was a nice touch, as the common opinion back then was that videogames were “just for boys”.
The cheat sections were quite funny too. Sometimes a segment in the studio might get a little technical, or bowl you over with statistics. Nam Rood’s quick comedy sketches quickly reigned your attention back in, and while he was providing you with a cheat for a game, he’d slap it onto his forhead. A fantastic idea, as the cheat codes could get very long and complicated. And of course, there was no google search back then!
The show aired around the time that the SNES and Megadrive were battling it out for conosle supremacy. It’s scary to see Sonic 2 listed as a “New Release” and a price point of “£49.99.” The show continued and later documented the Sega Saturn, Playstion, N64 and all the niche hardware before it as well as the latest developments on PC and Amiga. It was a good source of factual information and honest opinions.
A nice feature was the “Datablast” – basically all the information you’d seen in the show was provided as text, frame-by-frame, squashed into the ending of each show. The only way to view this information properly was to record the show on VHS, and play back each frame individually. Very clever for it’s time!
The show was always out to get your attention. Gladiators, clowns, ghosts, Raiden from Mortal Kombat… there was always something going on. And Z Wright would send in reports from Theme Parks, conventions and research labs. Every kid watching in the Uk wanted to be in his shoes.
I look back at this as a kind of time capsule. Video Game history was happening and it’s all captured here in real-time. The music, the set, the outfits the presenters wear, it’s all so… RETRO! They actually discuss the future too. “One day, you’ll be able to play against someone on the other side of the world, using the internet!” Isn’t it amazing how far we’ve come, in such a short space of time?
There’s only so much I can describe with words. Every episode of the show is up on youtube, right here for your viewing pleasure.
However, those aren’t my streams, and could disappear at any time. I decided to put an episode up on my own channel, to preserve it and showcase it. Watch out for LOAD/ERROR favourites like the 3DO, Amiga CD32 and…. Soccer Kid! Sit back and enjoy!