History of video games/Import/Twitch (Television)

Template:Infobox television

Twitch was an American cable television show which ran between 1995 and 1997, and was the first nationally-broadcast weekly video game review show,[1] pioneering various future programs of the genre. It had once been a staple program for the TV! television network (as it was known in 1995) as its chief nationwide distributor. Inspired by the "twitch gameplay" term, Twitch branded its program with the tagline, "The Pulse Of The Video Game Revolution."

Cast And CrewEdit

  • Creator; Director: Monty Miranda
  • Host(s): Larry Curry, Matt Gallant, Tomas Herrera, Don Ryan, Ronni Stark
  • Original Music: Jux County—Andy Monley (Lead Guitar and Vocals), Chris Pearson (Bass Guitar), Ron Smith (Drums)[2]
  • Twitch Logo Design: Tracy Jones
  • Production Company: Film Transition Sequences Created By Incite Films
  • Stunt Coordinator: Tim Drnec[3]

Show FormatEdit

Twitch was a video game review show that also explored the producers and celebrities that were behind the popular gaming platforms of the mid-1990s. The series mainly provided its viewers with an assortment of material related to the video game industry, such as gaming tips, product reviews, behind-the-scenes content, cheat codes, expert analyses on gaming titles, and occasional guest interviews with game developers. There were also instances of "man-on-the-street" interview segments, in which Twitch would travel to locales such as arcades and the Electronic Entertainment Expo to question local gamers about various topics. Airing weekly, each episode had a thirty-minute airtime, and was often stewarded by multiple co-hosts, each managing separate segments per episode.

The series was carried on Colorado-based tv! Network (later rebranded as INTRO Television),[4][5] and had been distributed by Liberty Media from 1995 through 1997, lasting for two seasons. Episodes were recorded on-set at the National Digital Television Center in Littleton, and featured Denver-based Alt-Punk Indie band Jux County on its original theme music. Twitch made its world television premiere on May 1st, 1995 and operated with a $500,000 budget.[1][6] Twitch's on-screen presentation was of consistent form and function to that of the mid-1990s MTV media counter-culture,[7][8] appealing heavily to Gen-Xers and Millennials, from which all of contemporary video game culture began to flourish.

The first season chiefly featured Matt Gallant, Tomas Herrera, Don Ryan, Ronni Stark, and Larry Curry taking the role of co-hosts, with Gallant featured most prominently as the main host between segments in the first several episodes. The series had a notable expansion for the second season in 1996; Larry Curry became more prominent as the series' main host alongside co-hosts Gallant and Herrera, and while Don Ryan and Ronni Stark were no longer featured on camera, the cast did expand with the additions of recurring guest analysts George and Kevin (respectively from Coastal Video Creations and Vision Media Group), and Steve Saunders was also newly brought on to Twitch as the show's on-site reporter and journalist.

Program SegmentsEdit

Twitch was notable for its iconic segments, which largely correlated to video game genres and consisted of profiling a gaming title from said genre. As the series expanded into its second season, the segments became more varied, expanding beyond specific gaming titles and becoming more immersed into the development process; additionally, during the 1996 slate of Twitch episodes, occasional trivia factoids about the video game industry were added to broadcasts, such as general production costs, market economics data, advance information for upcoming gaming titles, and other assorted media trends. Each respective segment was preceded with a unique video package involving elaborate props, cinematic sequences, and even live-action stunt work.

During the 1996 season, Twitch ended each episode by displaying both an E-mail address (intro@tcinc.com) and a mailing address (INTRO Television; 4100 E. Dry Creek Rd.; Littleton, CO. 80122) for viewers to submit their gaming tips, tricks and cheat codes directly to the show; additionally, INTRO Television would frequently provide its viewers with a toll-free telephone number (1-800-482-4101) to provide critiques and offer market research for its slate of original programming.

CancellationEdit

Though Twitch enjoyed some popularity and would likely have been renewed for a third season, the series was abruptly ended altogether after its distributing network was quietly bought out from TCI Cable by Starz, Inc. at the start of the year in 1997;[9] as a result, all of the channel's assets and original programming were liquidated, and the entire programming bloc was replaced with an all-movie format under the Encore Plex banner. Despite its success at the time, the program was never acquired by another network following the 1997 dissolution of INTRO Television, nor was its catalogue of episodes preserved for later syndication elsewhere.

LegacyEdit

With Twitch being the first national television series that focused on video games and related media exclusively, thereby establishing the television genre itself, most future programming of its type–including Attack Of The Show!, GameTrailers TV and X-Play–would go on to adopt similar show formats to that of Twitch. It had been predicted at the time that gaming-enthusiast television series such as Twitch would mark the start of a cohesive relationship between the "old media" and the "new media" that would go on to have a profound impact upon advertising, merchandising and popular culture in the years to come.[7] Few sources of the series exist online today, as the program predates the conversion towards digital television; nonetheless, Twitch creator Monty Miranda, who made his 1990s directorial debut with the television series after founding Incite Films to produce it,[10] would go on to post a partial episode clip onto his official YouTube channel on June 24th, 2020.[11]

Additionally, in the age of digital video, various other YouTube users–unofficially–have gone on to digitize select episodes from the series from their personal analog collections over the years to be posted for online viewing, with some openly stating their intent to prevent the series from being lost to history; one such user of note was able to salvage over 20 episodes in such a manner to be viewed on his channel,[8] while another user compiled every uploaded Twitch video across the website onto a single playlist entitled Twitch (Intro Television).

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