Good Game would have only lasted another 6-12 months at ABC, according to former host Stephanie ‘Hex’ Bendixsen.
In a Facebook post the former ABC2 presenter told a fan she agonised over whether to accept a new opportunity in commercial TV, but says ABC’s cancelling the show is a “direct result” of their feelings on the show and gaming on the public broadcaster.
“They no longer see a place for it,” she wrote. “The Good Game team and I truly believe that even if I had stayed, the show would not have likely lasted more than 6-12 months. Faith in the brand seems to have disappeared – and my decision to leave, along with Nich, simply served as the catalyst for the ABC’s decision to let it go.”
Here is her post in full:
I recently received an email from a girl called Faith who was very upset and angry about my decision to leave Good Game and the subsequent cancellation of the show. I won’t post her letter, but I have a feeling it probably echoes the thoughts of many of you. So, perhaps my response will serve useful to you as well.
Thank you for taking the time to write that letter to me, I can tell from your words that you must be in a lot of pain and frustration over the cancellation of the show – please believe me when I say that I am too. I can imagine from your perspective you must feel betrayed and angry. I’m not sure if explaining my decision to you will make any difference, but I figured since you took the time to share your feelings, I can at least try to do the same.
First of all, as someone looking from the outside in, you can only make judgments based on your own assumptions. It may seem like I simply abandoned Good Game on a whim for the sake of a paycheck… however the reality is, when I was approached with the opportunity, I agonised over it for nearly six months. I understand you think I have a duty to non-commercial television, but please also understand that I had been doing the same job for seven years! It was a wonderful, glorious time in my life and I will be grateful for that experience – and the people I shared it with – forever and always. But I ask you, honestly: Am I bound to stay in the same role for the rest of my life? As a nineteen-year-old, I’m not sure what career you are considering pursuing – but I don’t think it’s fair that whatever job you choose, you should be bound to stay with that same employer, in that same role, for the rest of your life. Or at least, until it abruptly ends.
I had seven, incredible years on Good Game. So, when I was offered a new opportunity I had to really think about what leaving would mean for me: Saying goodbye to the ABC, to my partnership with Bajo, to the identity that comes with being ‘Hex from Good Game’. I had to accept that those things don’t define me, and that even if this new project failed – I could at least say that I took a huge leap and tried to build something new. Because that’s what I’ll be doing in my new job, building something completely new – and that for me is not only an exciting prospect – but an incredible opportunity for my career as a producer and television presenter.
As a woman in my 30’s, I’ll be honest – working in television is scary. Every year I wonder if I’ll soon be considered ‘too old’ to be able to forge a lasting career in television. If I lost my job suddenly – who would want to hire me? My decision to move on from the ABC not was not only about starting something new, but also trying to make sure that I will be developing enough experience across different roles and networks to carve out a strong and varied career as a presenter.
In the end, after a lot of thought, many tears and a few moments of ‘chickening out’ – I finally decided to go for it. I’m not going to pretend that a commercial network isn’t going to offer a better salary, but Good Game was a lasting brand – where as this new venture is a huge risk regardless of what they offer.
Anything new is risky. If it fails, where will I be? I don’t know, but I’m ready to find out and accept the consequences – rather than stay in the same place forever. When I made this decision however, I was also confident in the knowledge that the team I would be leaving have wonderful talent that would of course easily continue the show’s legacy without me.
Never, in a million years did I think the ABC would cancel the show after it had already been commissioned.
A show does not hinge on one person. I know you blame me for Good Game’s cancellation. But is that really fair? The show could easily have continued without me. Bajo, Goose and Rad sill remained and were excited to make the show – and I could have been replaced. I know this, because I myself replaced someone when I started on the show! Someone with a HUGE fan-following. However, the show recovered and in fact, only continued to grow.
The show’s cancellation is a direct reflection of the ABC’s feelings about the Good Game brand and for having gaming content on the ABC. They no longer see a place for it. The Good Game team and I truly believe that even if I had stayed, the show would not have likely lasted more than 6-12 months. Faith in the brand seems to have disappeared – and my decision to leave, along with Nich, simply served as the catalyst for the ABC’s decision to let it go.
It was devastating. Words aren’t even enough. But as I mourn the loss of what was such an incredible chapter in my life, I’m also excited to start this new adventure. The video game industry is only getting bigger, better and more innovative – so I’m excited to explore fun and innovative ways to celebrate games and gaming culture on an exciting new platform. I’m looking forward to building something from scratch and to expand my skills. I’m excited to meet new people and forge new working relationships – while retaining the incredible friendships I’ve made at Good Game.
Spawn Point, thankfully – will continue with Bajo, Goose and Rad – and I know it will be a fresh and exciting new chapter for the program. Bajo and I are still writing our book series together, Pixel Raiders – a collaboration that I’m now more grateful for than ever.
I’m truly sorry again for everything that has transpired, and for the part you feel that I’ve played in it. But hopefully this has shed some light on the decision I made and perhaps even eased your mind a little.
So. Whether or not you choose to come with me on this new journey is of course, up to you. I do hope you will. But if not, farewell thank you for your support over the years – it’s been an absolute joy.
In a separate Fairfax article Hex also details how a senior woman in television encouraged her to pursue a new opportunity as a 31 year old presenter.
“And then she asked me, ‘How old are you, by the way?’ I said 31. And there was silence. And then she said, ‘I would probably be thinking about doing something substantial sooner rather than later’.”