Question: These television programs feature contestants answering trivia questions or completing physical challenges to win money and prizes.
Answer: What are game shows?
Whether it is Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, The Price is Right, Family Feud or one of countless others we have all seen a game show at some point. Simply put, I love game shows and can’t seem to get enough of them.
When I was a child, I spent much of my summer mornings watching the barrage of game shows that were brought into our living room each morning. The first show I really remember was The Price is Right with host Bob Barker. Even at a young age I wished the announcer would call my name and tell me to “come on down” and be the next contestant on the show. The idea of getting to play one of its many fun games for a chance to win seemingly staggering amounts of money or amazing prizes like a new car was riveting.
Of all the pricing games, my favorite beyond a doubt was Cliff Hanger. The idea of moving the climber up the mountain slope without sending him toppling off the edge provided the perfect mix of drama and excitement while also requiring a combination of skill and knowledge.
My two other favorites were Safe Cracker and Hole in One (or Two). To this day I greatly enjoy heist movies and the idea of breaking into a safe, even a simple one like in this game, seizes my imagination. As for Hole in One, the attraction is simple. I was familiar with golf and loved to go to the miniature golf course not far from my home. I knew if I got my hands on that putter I could win.
Some of the other games I enjoyed were Bullseye, Clock Game, Dice Game and of course Plinko. Then of course, there was the Showcase Showdown. I remember watching with my parents and each of us writing down our guesses for the two prizes packages to see who would get the closest to the actual price. However, it was not enough to simply win one of the prize packages. If you were a real player, you had to be close enough to the cost to steal the other package as well.
As I grew older, my interest turned more to trivia related games like The $10,000 Pyramid, Password, The Joker’s Wild and Press Your Luck. I also enjoyed Card Sharks and Name That Tune, even though my musical knowledge is rather lacking.
But without question, the king of all trivia games is Jeopardy. Although I don’t watch it as much today, when I was in high school I watched it every day and I believe I held my own.
On more than one occasion I had my grandmother, relatives or friends tell me I should be on a game show. It was always a dream I quietly held in the back of my mind. Of course that dream did not become a reality, but it is still fun to wonder “what if?”
By the time I graduated from college and started my career, it seemed game shows had moved out of the public eye and were no longer as popular as they were when I was a kid. Sure, you could still flip through the channels and find one of the four giants I mentioned earlier. However, the variety and selection of games just did not seem to be there.
Then, something amazing started to happen a few years ago. Television networks started airing remakes of many of the popular game shows I grew up with and even mixed in a couple popular games from the 1950s and 1960s.
Of the game shows on TV today, without a doubt my favorite is To Tell the Truth. I love games you can play along with, whether it is answering a trivia question or guessing which guest is telling the truth about their identify.
I am enthralled by the idea of reading the body language of the guests and examining their responses to determine if they are trying to fool the celebrities questioning them. In concept, it is a simple game. Yet, in reality, it is fun and challenging mental exercise that can have surprising results.
For many of the same reasons, my second favorite game show currently is a new game that just started its second season - The Hustler. I liked Craig Ferguson as a late night television host and believe he is the ideal host.
For those of you that may not be familiar with this game, there are five contestants who work as a team to answer 10 trivia questions. However, one of those contestants is the Hustler and knows the answers to all the questions because they are based on his or her life. Therefore, the four other contestants are trying to identify the imposter at the same time they are increasing the grand prize.
Along the way, the Hustler is able to secretly eliminate two of the challengers. As a result, the final showdown features three contestants. If the two true players can identify the Hustler, they split the cash. However, the Hustler wins the entire pot if the other two players do not correctly identify the Hustler.
The game is set in a study that gives it that Clue type feel that adds to the thrill of being a sleuth trying to solve the mystery unfolding before you.
In terms of game shows that feature physical challenges the contestants must complete in order to win, my two favorites are Holey Moley and The Cube. Holey Moley should not be a surprise if you have ever seen it. As I mentioned earlier, I loved playing mini golf when I was young. Holey Moley pits players against each other on a supersized mini golf course filled with obstacles and challenges that are sure to provide plenty of laughs.
Meanwhile, The Cube is one of the newest game shows on television. A team of two contestants must enter the Cube and complete seemingly simple tasks when the clock is ticking.
The team has nine lives to complete seven challenges and win the grand prize. They can also walk away with their winnings after any challenge. However, once they enter the Cube, they must complete the challenge before their lives run out or they lose everything.