Just watched an episode of Icons on YouTube that was fairly decent-- it covered the formation of the ESRB. While I didn't learn a whole lot from the episode that I didn't already know, its political slant made it appear more professional than the usual "cowabunga dude" casual demeanor G4 typically presents in its tripe it calls original programming. Check out the full link after the jump.
I wish the episode would have gone more into the controversy with the ESRB. Not too long ago, a Punisher video game was released for the PS2. The designer of the game was greatly upset at how the ESRB insisted upon censoring the special "violent kills" in the game; originally, they were in color and showed the full kill. In the finished version of the game, they are shown in black and white and sometimes fade to white or cut out early.
In the context of The Punisher game, the character is a lone wolf of sorts who murders drug dealers/gangsters. With certain enemies in the game, the player can have their avatar (the Punisher) interrogate them for more information. If you interrogate too hard, or if you choose, you can kill them in the aforementioned grisly scenes. I don't recall whether executing them results in a punishment, but the point is The Punisher is a dark, gritty game that got an M rating; why couldn't these "mini fatalities" be shown uncensored?
G4's Icons was pretty good for a few years there, though I would of course get frustrated at the glossing over of significant facts and events (to them, it was like the 8-bit and 16-bit computer eras were blips, often not even worth mentioning). A lot of them were written by Tina Wood, the young lady who hosted a show for a few years on G4, so I can understand the ommissions. She was too young by at least a few years to really be around for those eras and who knows what kind of researchers they had there, if any. To their credit though, they did do a special on the Apple II once, which, while obviously hole-y in coverage, was still a nice surpise. Eventually it morphed into covering "Icons" like Nolan Bushnell and classic systems and games to mostly modern stuff and development studios to a more generic "Entertainment"-centric focus now. A sad, sad transition and one indicative of the whole failed G4 network.
One thing I've never understood is why the big boys think that "nerd" doesn't sell. I can't tell you how many people I've heard raving about the old Tech TV, almost (if not MORE so) than they did about Star Trek or what-ever. These are hardcore, able-bodied, often middle class technophiles who will watch every show and talk about it for years afterward. Yet, they claim there's no money in that; no audience; they have to get all MTV on us and show some stupid chihuha in a tutu and ADHD-style camera work to be "hip" or whatever.
Forget about it. Just give me some dusty looking guy in a pair of overalls and a billboard cap. As long as the dude can talk about hardware like he had a hand in building it, and software as though he's actually played it, I'm content. I need expertise to be happy. If I want to watch some big boobed bimbo, "gothic" prozac loser or a spastic idiot foaming at the mouth, I'll watch some other "channel." I'll take geek over shiek any **&*(& day of the week.
The MTV's of the world are scared to go with a straight "Gaming" or "Gaming-like" program because they don't think it will catch on without all kinds of glitz, glamour, flashing lights and other "in-your-face" action.
I remember last year there was a radio program on the weekends, late in the evening, that dealt primarily with Computers; both hardware and software. It also focused on gaming and usually had several reviews of games in the making and some retro. I could have listened to this everyday. There was no hype, only commercials. But the fact that it was on so late on a Sat night wasn't on accident. The program managers of the station decided that it wouldn't work during prime-time drive or any other time during the week and decided to only run it on the weekend (this, of course, was shared with the listeners and announced by the radio hosts). I know there are tons of others like me that just enjoy hearing about the latest tech stuff, including gaming, but the problem is with the suits higher up that "think" they know what the masses want.