At school, I just started to get the G4 gaming channel. If you don’t have it, don’t sweat. With all of the features offered on the G4 Web site, it’s a wonder anyone needs to watch the TV station at all.
If you are not a gamer then you probably have never heard of G4. It just came out in 2002. It’s a cable channel that focuses on the gaming lifestyle. It used to be all about games, but if you have ever watched people playing games on TV (think ESPN’s Madden Nation) that gets pretty old fast. Now, G4 hosts not only talk about new games and tech news, but the channel also tries harder to cater to the male population by broadcasting shows such as Cheaters, COPS and The Man Show. I think, from a journalistic standpoint, G4 is doing a great job catering to the gaming market. Some people would disagree with me. Despite what some critics say, more people buy video games than go to the movies so the station is definitely fulfilling a need.
G4’s current slogan is “TV that’s plugged in.” On its “About” page it says, “G4 offers tons of ways to watch with exclusive broadband video on G4TV.com, heaps of VOD, mobile content, and more podcasts than any other network in America. We’re taking television to places it has never been before. Welcome to G4. TV That’s Plugged In.”
The G4 Web site is jam packed with features, but unlike sites such as TokyoPop, it has everything organized so that users don’t feel overwhelmed. Content is molded to go online. The Web site was not just an after thought, which is a problem with most Web sites. Many companies think that they can just throw information up on a Web site. Time has to be used to think about presentation and usability. I wonder how G4 offices are set up. They probably have a large web staff that just focuses on the site. BTW, that’s highly unusual in a newspaper office. While many magazines have web staff, they are still dramatically outnumbered by the editorial personnel.
Some cool things from the G4 site:
- Game reviews and previews
- Blogs that are actually updated (“The Feed” has more than 20 posts a day)
- Chatrooms and forums
- Viral video (cool YouTube finds)
- Polls (they change depending on what page you are on – you are more likely to respond to a poll about a game if you are already reading a review about that game)
- iTunes podcasts
One of my favorite features is the FLASH presentation about how much technology we are throwing into landfills. Did you know that there are more than 26 million miles of cell phone charger cords in landfills? If we tied them all together and flung it out into space we could lasso Venus. I am working on my final project in FLASH for my multimedia class so I know how long that presentation had to take the programmer to make. I also like the groovy calendar on the lefthand sign of the G4 site sections that reminds me what day it is.
There are still some areas the site can improve. Everything is such high quality that your computer may be just a lil behind the tech curve for you to appreciate the site. The videos take FOREVER to upload and they normally pause in mid-play. Plus, G4’s a gaming station; why can’t I play games on the Web site? Overall though, it doesn’t get much better than this.