Thursday, September 24, 2009

90s Kids TV Game Shows



People grumble a lot about this current generation of children. They complain that they're too lazy, too unfocused, or overly dependent on technology. I, on the other hand, have a different theory.

Kids these days are suffering from a major shortage of children's television game shows.

I mean, think about it. Really think about it. We watched a lot of TV, too, but what was the differentiating factor that motivated us to get up off the couch and do something? I'm telling you, it's game shows. Watching kids on TV partaking in mild to moderately strenuous activities was enough to give us something to aspire to. Sure, their activities were strange, unconventional, and had little applicability in actual society, but they were real kids who were challenging themselves physically, academically, or super sloppily.

And to those of you who didn't have cable, well, you'll probably feel just as bad reading this post as you did back when you were taunted for being the only kid on the block without cable. Don't say I didn't warn you.


Nick Arcade



I might as well negate everything I just said up there about these game shows encouraging kids to be active. Nick Arcade actually encouraged them to be pretty darn inactive. Contestants battled virtual video game wizards in a green screen world, creating a mesh of animation and live action in a virtual Nick Arcade universe. You have to admit, that's pretty cool.


Finders Keepers



Now this is my kind of show. As the owner of an incredibly messy room that resisted all sorts of motherly intervention attempts, I was deeply envious of the kids on this show who were allowed to ransack the rooms in this fake house. Some kids have all the luck. The game was bisected into two rounds. In one round (the boring round, if you will), kid contestants identified hidden objects in pictures. In the second (the cool round), kids were unleashed in a makeshift simulated house environment finding object based on the host's clues. The best part was the bonus Room-to-Room-Romp round in which kids frantically and methodically ransacked rooms for cards that could grant them such mediocre prizes as a summer at space camp or a gift certificate to KB Toys.


Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?




Speaking of mediocre prizes, Carmen San Diego's offerings teetered on the brink of insulting. That didn't stop us from coveting the goods and being tricked against our will into learning the geography we so desperately needed. Plus Rockapella was there to provide us with their sweet, sweet in-house harmonious musical stylings. If you didn't take home the gold, though, your prize pickings were admittedly slim. We're talking Rand McNally atlases and Carmen Sandiego sweatshirts. Oh well. It's the thought that counts.



Legends of the Hidden Temple



Speaking of vaguely educational children's television game shows. Legends of the Hidden Temple was sort of educational, in a confusing, myth-heavy sense. It's kind of Incan or Mayan, or whoever it was that was heavy into talking stone head Olmecs. The game began with the moat, as partner-teams would race to cross a pool and ring their assigned gong. In the Steps of Knowledge round, our friends answered questions based on the tale Olmec had recounted for them. The Temple Games featured Guts-like stunt work. The real fun, however, came in the Temple Run. It was like ancient Incan Finders Keepers, but with incredibly frightening Temple Guards who would steal your hard-earned pendants. Tough break, kids.

You have to admit, just a little part of you wants to be a Silver Monkey or Purple Parrot for Halloween. Go on now. We won't tell.


Double Dare





Some things are better left unexplained. Like why exactly in the above clip these kids are pulling rubber chickens out of the birdcages perched on their heads. Really, who comes up with this stuff?
It was a nice touch to make Marc Summers the host, what with his cleanliness-demanding OCD and all. Whether it was Super Sloppy, Family style, or just plain old Double Dare, a lot of really confusing stuff went on. Confusing and messy. We didn't know why, but we just wanted to be a part of it.



Get The Picture



In the 90s, it didn't take much of a premise to get a game show off the ground. All you needed was Nickolodeon's buy in, Mike O'Malley signed on as a host, and you've pretty much got yourself a show. It was a sort of mix between a trivia game, picture guessing game, and physical-challenge filled excitement fest. All in all, not a bad run.



Figure it Out



Sigh. If only I'd had some sort of secret hidden talent or spectacularly interesting fact about myself. I never quite qualified as a contestant for this one. The kids on this show always won. It was pretty much in the script. We were supposed to let our Nickelodeon-grade celebrity guests make fools of themselves and get endlessly covered in buckets of green slime all so we could win our Nintendo 64s and Figure It Out t shirts and call it a day.


For some reason or other, the genre faded into obscurity by the late 90s, despite the syndicated push of reruns on the Nickelodeon cable Games and Sports channel. Like I said, these kids just don't know what they've missing. Maybe once they've ransacked a temple only to be accosted by a full grown man in full Mayan sentinel garb all while wearing a helmet and kneepads, they would know what it was all about. Maybe.

23 comments:

Caro said...

My cousin used to be an actor in Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? memories...

Badass Geek said...

Those temple guards used to scare the heck out of me.

Rachel said...

I loved Legends of the Hidden Temple. It still comes on late at night, so if I'm coming from going out on the weekends I'll watch it. They had the greatest team names haha. I always want to be on that show!

Jennifer Fabulous said...

Oh gosh Carmen Sandiego was my favorite show back in elementary school...just reading the name took me back to more than a decade ago. It used to come on right after Ghost Writer...

Cee said...

I had this Carmen Sandiego computer game...it was awesome. Loved Legends of the Hidden Temple because there was triva and not just sports.

Shop Girl* said...

I LOVED Carmen Sandiego!!!!!!

You may be right... and I think kids' game shows fizzled out with YTV's "Uh Oh". Has there been one since that?

Melanie's Randomness said...

Awesomeness Pure Awesomeness!! I loved the game shows!! I always wanted to go on legends of the hidden temple!! Ohhh the tease of the Space Camp Uber Big Prize. hehe. I actually made a job the other day to a friend, I was like Watch out a temple guard will get ya!! Carmen San Diego Ruled too!! Gumshoe!! =) Yeah, love this post! =)

Lindsay said...

i love your blog so much.

i seriously begged my parents to do double dare, but im an only child so there'd only be 3 of us :o(

Maggi said...

Ah yes, Double Dare...one of my favorites!

Jaime said...

Sometimes The N/Noggin (if you get that channel) has old reruns- so hysterical to watch. Also, loved GUTS!

Shannon said...

My brother and I had some kind of home version of Finders Keepers that was completely impossible to figure out. The tv show was awesome though.

Ms. Attitude said...

Oh my god! I fully agree with you here. I loved Legends of the Hidden Temple and Figure it out! They need to bring these shows back.

Carol said...

Such great memories! I wanted to be on Legends of the Hidden Temple so bad!

Little Mrs Domestic said...

I loved most of these but Legends and Carmen were my favs! Especially Carmen! Oh how I looooved that show, I also had the game for my sega. If they have a game out for that now I would so play it! I wish that show still came on TV or they did a remake of it....They need to bring back the kids game shows!

Lil' Woman said...

I loved Carmen San Diego and I totally forgot about Nick Arcade!

ark said...

Memories! You know, once I was at home sick and I found a game network channel that showed all these old nick game shows! I watched finders keepers, figure it out and legends of the hidden temple all day! Too bad I can't remember what the network was called but they're still being showed somewhere out there on satellite!

Connie said...

Oh memories... I used to play Where in the "USA" is Carmen Sandiego on my dad's super old computer.. my siblings and I would argue over who got to play. haha!

Just Playing Pretend said...

YAY! Legends of the hidden temple! I applied to be on that show! They never picked me. I guess they had something against the chubby children.

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Janna said...

Does anyone remember the later game show, Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego?

lovelila said...

Legends of the Hidden Temple scared the crap outta me at times. I decided early on that I could never go on that show because if I made it into the final stage, I'd piss my pants if one of the guards jumped out at me, haha!
Nick Arcade, Double Dare, Figure it Out, What Would You Do...etc... I'd be all over those games! I miss them!

silent H said...

did any of you watch Bill Nye the Science guy? I passed all my science classes because of him.

alyvia hutley said...

are they ever gonna put those shows back on tv

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