You may have heard the news that broke today that Sir Patrick Moore has sadly passed – if not, then we are truly sorry that you found out from us. To many he was the face of modern day astronomy, but to many more he will forever be remembered as THE Gamesmaster.
First appearing alongside Dominik Diamond in the very first episode he appeared as a half-man, half-machine purveyor of pithy comments and sage gaming wisdom. Through the use of some Virtuality headsets – perhaps the only satisfactory usage on record – young gamers could hold court with the Gamesmaster himself in his Consoletation Zone to get some advice on a video game problem. In a time before the Internet it was entirely possible that the only way to complete some games was to hold hope for the right to ask the Gamesmaster:
Who didn’t want to go and talk to him? NO-ONE! THAT’S THE ANSWER! NO ONE WOULD TURN DOWN THE OFFER!
So, while the show changed format and the Gamesmaster himself changed design, Sir Patrick Moore was always there, even when Dexter Fletcher got involved or that time when McDonalds sponsored it.*
Obviously it would be a huge injustice to neglect to mention his work with the seminal astronomy television show, The Sky at Night. I only ever watched it because of the Gamesmaster link, but this late night gem was the source of much inspiration to me, as a kid who grew up with a much treasured pack of Top Trumps/Ace Trumps based around space craft – Saturn V for the win! He was also well known as perhaps the most famouse player of the Xylophone in history. Heck, he even managed to hold his own against Zig and Zag on the Big Breakfast:
It’s never easy to see an integral component of our childhood pass, but if anyone deserves to be put into space it’s Sir Patrick Moore.
The Lolocaust tips it’s hat to you good sir, thanks for all the
* Not that the teenage me cared about corporate sponsorship, it’s easy to forget now in this time of ever-awareness regarding the evils of some conglomerates and corporations, but back then Mick and Mac Global Gladiators, Zool with it’s Chupa Chups and James Pod 2: Robocod with it’s Penguin biscuit related shenanigans, it was just a case of ‘Wow, look!’ instead of this generation’s jaded cynicism regarding any partnership or sponsorship. I did care about Press Gang’s Dexter Fletcher mugging at the camera though. Even a young eager gamer could cut through that layer of fandom.