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Child's Play

By Drew McEleney

Remember watching game shows directed at kids when you were young? They were crudely produced and talked down to their audience but somehow in the 80s and early 90s there was just enough bright splatter paint designs on the set to keep us interested. Lets take a look at some of my favorites...
Smells like a tongue slide covered in slime.

Double Dare: One of my all time favorites. This game would pit two teams of two players against each other in an epic battle to collect enough points to be eligible for the obstacle course. Players needed to either answer a question or take the physical challenge. This show was great because all contestants look dorky in a helmet and kneepads not to mention collecting little red flags while sliding down a tongue slide covered in slime. I once had the computer game version of the show for my Tandy 2000. Boy those were the days.

Carmen Sandiego: This is another show that was a game but it went the other way around. First the game came out for Apple computers then the game. The good people at Apple were brilliant for teaming up with the guys who made the travel guide to trick young children into learning. While the computer game was entertaining, the television game show was better. One word sums up this show. Rockapella. These crooners were the glue that held the show together - from the theme song to the hot beats they laid down while the contestant was looking for the warrant, the crook and the loot. The end of the show had a player place flashing red lights on the end of poles on different countries on a map. Most of the time the map would be continents other than North America but every now and then they would throw in a map of the US and do states. The kids that screwed the US map up are now all working at Burger King.

I'm Telling: I am fully convinced that this game came out of the twisted mind of a trained interrogator from the US Army. The concept of the show is very simple yet extremely sinister. Three groups of two kids compete against each other. Each group is made up of a brother / sister combo who has to "tell" on each other. First the sister is interviewed as to what the brother likes the the brother answers questions about the sister's preferences. The whole show breeds mistrust like an episode of Law and Order: Lost City of Atlantis gone horribly wrong. Both the brother and sister are encouraged to rat each other out to try and get the best deal possible. The end event in this show is the crown jewel of preteen television game shows: The Pick-A-Prize Arcade. Here the girl would decide from the dozens of cool toys what her brother would like to have and the brother picks what the sister would like. If they don't get enough matches they are sent home with NOTHING. This of course is super entertaining because the kids scream at each other "You know that I don't like skateboards, I really like the little TV I can carry around! Oh why didn't you choose the TV? WHY?"

So that is my trip down kids game shows of yore. Hope you enjoyed the ride.

Drew


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