D&D’s ‘Invitation To Party’ Helps Cast Raise Dead On G4 TV
D&D’s new show on G4, Invitation to Party, brings live play games to television. But in the modern streaming and YouTube age, what does TV even mean anymore?
G4’s Invitation to Party is giving us a peak-2021 existential crisis. The show’s marketing method wants their Actual Play show to stand out, so they’re trying to explain why this particular AP is different. But if most of us are streaming the eons of already-existing AP content, what makes a new show on a television network so different?
What is ‘TV’ Anyway?
If you could extract time from a hard drive… You’d probably have enough to spend an eternity with Jim Croce. And still have, like, the whole Industrial Revolution or something.
Yesterday, Wizards of the Coast and G4 announced their new D&D series, Dungeons & Dragons Presents: Invitation to Party. Now, we’re in a golden age of RPG streams. Which is an incredible place to be, make no mistake. D&D and RPGs in general have come a long way from their origins.
There are so many shows, many of which feature celebrities and WotC sponsorship. Right now, you can find a video of Jack Black and Patton Oswalt playing D&D. Both of these guys are household names, and have appeared in television series and films.
But you can see why the folks at G4 point out that Party this is technically “television’s first Dungeons & Dragons series.” Okay, sure. But what is “television” anymore?
Recently folks have started using the term linear TV to talk about watching a show. We don’t really “broadcast” anything anymore. Everything is digital, and comes through broadband lines anyway. But “linear TV” defines the modern way we watch one episode of a show each week at a scheduled time.
Which is also ultimately meaningless.
Technology is blurring the lines of how we interact with media. Even if you watch Party on a television screen, you’re likely streaming it through your smart phone or watching on a laptop.
And more to the point, Party will have a traditional time slot on the G4 Channel. But show will also be live-streamed on Twitch and YouTube, allowing viewers to interact with the show as it happens.
Which won’t even be at the same time as the “linear broadcast.” The livestream premieres a full three days before the “linear broadcast” is released, meaning that G4 has found a whole new way to say “the game streams Friday, the VOD goes live on Monday.”
G4’s Invitation to Party Goes Linear Broadcast
And you’ll want to watch the livestream, because that brings you right into the action as it happens. You’ll even have a chance to affect the course of the game. Per the press release:
Viewers who watch during the show’s livestream on Twitch and YouTube will also have a hand in the action as they’ll be able to directly affect gameplay via real-time voting. Outrageous prompts, story beats, NPC characters, and obstacles will be imagined and sourced by our viewers at home (and in-studio), for the DM and Players to execute.
Which is an extremely cool move, and pretty ambitious for the soon-to-be resurrected G4. The channel was shut down back in 2013, but will be officially back in business on November 16th this year.
So, existential crises aside, this show looks like an absolute blast, featuring a cast of heavy hitters. Headed up by DM B. Dave Walters, who runs the Black Dice Society, on WotC’s Twitch channel, is lead designer for Into the Motherlands, among other things, the show collects a number of internet personalities. You’ve got Kassem G, Fiona Nova, Indiana “Froskurinn” Black, and Ify Nwadiwe, all of whom make for great watching
But on top of all that, the show boasts interactive elements. It has set up a space for players to step out from behind the table to actually improvise their role-playing encounters with each other and “a revolving roster of guest NPCs.” It’s only a matter of time before other familiar faces from the tabletop space make their way to the show.
Watch it November 22nd wherever you watch G4