The growing popularity of video games inevitably prompted the creation of a television series showing and telling viewers what was new and different in the world of video games. The weekly half hour Game Nation was created and produced by Romano D’Andrea and Jeff Preyra, and pitched and sold to CTV in 1995. Its pending scheduling on the Network was heralded with a front cover on the Globe and Mail’s Broadcast Magazine in July of that year.
Sidney Cohen was hired as Executive Producer. The host was Jeff O’Connell, assisted by Joanna Bacalso and Ted Ludzik as two people trapped in television sets with nothing to do but play video games. The set was a derelict hi-tech control-room. Using a fast-paced shooting style reminiscent of music video shows, Game Nation each week introduced viewers to what was new in the video game market There was no rating system; the number of new games coming on the market each week made it easy for the producers to choose and feature only those games which they thought were worthy of viewers’ attention.
The series was shot in the CTV studios at the Eaton Centre in Toronto. It was scheduled on CTV on Sundays at 9:00am starting in the fall of 1995. It was not renewed for the following season, but the enterprising producers bought back the rights and sold Game Nation to CTV Sportsnet, where it ran for several more years. The show subsequently ran on Global, and then on Tech TV, and spawned more than one website.
Written by Pip Wedge - June, 2003