Many TV shows of the 1990s included what they felt to be cutting-edge and futuristic technology, probably anticipating what the new millennium had to offer. However, in the early years of that decade, Nickelodeon took advantage of this newfound hardware to add a fascinating spin on their televised game shows.
Get The Picture
Get the Picture was hosted by Mike O’Malley, with the highlight of the show being a 16-screen video wall that displayed the puzzles and graphics. Two teams in colored jumpsuits competed against each other in tests of identification, memory, and trivia.
The first two rounds consisted of revealing hidden images by connecting dots and lines. Whichever team guessed the picture correctly earned fifty points. The final round has the winning team try to memorize images hidden behind nine squares. The host read clues out loud, and the contestants had to answer via a giant keypad.
Visually, the show was fun and modern, as the art direction gave the appearance of being inside of a computer, with motherboard patterns on the walls and various wires jutting from the background.
Presented by the energetic Phil Moore, this one-of-a-kind program had a similar format to Get the Picture that pitted two against two, but the theme was video games.
The first two rounds consisted of players controlling a virtual protagonist named Mikey. The two teams could take turns controlling him through several different settings trying to avoid a villain of the week that had plans of fouling Mikey’s day.
The most interesting part of Nick Arcade was the final round: The Video Zone. The winning team would go through a doorway that acted as the bridge connecting our world with the video game universe. And the contestants really did become living controllers in original stages made for the show. It’s basically what the Xbox Kinect tried to emulate years later.
To achieve this, the contestants were filmed in front of different bluescreens that matched the environment of the level. Their actions were captured in real-time by a state-of-the-art software program that treated their images as sprites that could interact with the virtual elements of the game.
These are only two of the many awesome 1990s game shows on Nickelodeon, and if you haven’t seen either, I encourage you to check them out. You can find plenty of episodes on YouTube. However, it’s good to note that there were plenty of other great Nick game shows from the 90s, such as Finders Keepers, Figure It Out, and Double Dare.
Which one was your favorite?