You could say that there's something wrong when the moment that got the biggest cheer at this winter's PDC Darts World Championship was the advert break. Yet, as the sounds of Planet Funk's Chase The Sun blasted out of the speakers, the fans leapt on the tables, pumped their hands in the air like Chris Waddle and Terry Butcher at Italia '90 and shouted "Oi, Oi, Oi."
The action at Alexandra Palace was electrifying as Wayne Mardle beat 13 time Champion Phil 'The Power' Taylor for the first time, only to be defeated by rookie, Kirk Shepherd. In the end Shepherd lost the final to the player with the worst nickname in the sport, John 'Darth Marple' Part. He's Canadian, see...
Step Up To The Oche
So it's a tough task to match the atmosphere of Ally Pally in a videogame and, unfortunately, PDC World Darts Championship, doesn't quite manage it. It may play a good game of darts but these days there's more to darts than just flinging arrows. There's the glamorous models who escort the overweight 'athletes' to the stage, there's the signature music that the players walk onto and there's the fans in fancy dress. PDC World Darts Championship has captured none of this, instead preferring to concentrate on the, admittedly very good, player likenesses.
It's a shame because it does slightly spoil the event, as instead of getting the full-on Sky Sports effect you sort of feel yourself slumped on a chair wishing that repetitive guitar riff would stop as you prepare to play darts.
darts Of Pleasure
In fact, both methods take some getting used to. Obviously using the Remote is trickier but to win using either method you have to hit a tiny portion of the power bar bang on to get the trebles and doubles you need. To be fair, this is the only way to do it - an easy darts game would be pointless and, as anyone who plays the game will know, the margin between success and failure is tiny and the stress you feel when going for that crucial double is heightened by the beating heart noise pumping from the Remote speaker.
So, as a darts game it is difficult to fault but, as Sky have learned, you need more than that to get the crowds in and that little bit of magic that makes darts a brilliant spectator sport is missing here. It's not, as Sid Waddell would say, "a bag of nails" but nor is it champion.