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Author Topic: More classic Nickelodeon game shows on Paramount+  (Read 4725 times)

Loogaroo

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Re: More classic Nickelodeon game shows on Paramount+
« Reply #15 on: March 31, 2021, 09:05:33 PM »
Co-sign. I was saying as much in some IM discussions after the episodes dropped. I'd only add that the Nick Arcade bonus round was WAY too tough for what it was -- the amount of things on screen that could hurt you was more apt for an expert level contestant, and could have been dialed back by half until kids got better. But at least I walked away as a viewer thinking "I'd love to be on this show" (and by extension, try the Video Zone) as opposed to the feeling I had watching Fun House or Legends of, "boy, I hope I can convince my partner to let me run the bonus first."

When the Nick Arcade pilot dropped last year, I noticed that the bonus round in that version was two minutes rather than just one. If a player had that extra time the game would have been easier by a pretty significant amount.
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TLEberle

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Re: More classic Nickelodeon game shows on Paramount+
« Reply #16 on: April 03, 2021, 10:43:34 PM »
Co-sign. I was saying as much in some IM discussions after the episodes dropped. I'd only add that the Nick Arcade bonus round was WAY too tough for what it was -- the amount of things on screen that could hurt you was more apt for an expert level contestant, and could have been dialed back by half until kids got better. But at least I walked away as a viewer thinking "I'd love to be on this show" (and by extension, try the Video Zone) as opposed to the feeling I had watching Fun House or Legends of, "boy, I hope I can convince my partner to let me run the bonus first."

When the Nick Arcade pilot dropped last year, I noticed that the bonus round in that version was two minutes rather than just one. If a player had that extra time the game would have been easier by a pretty significant amount.
I want to include both responses here:

Finders Keepers had not only ninety seconds for the end game but six prizes. Double Dare had eight. I forget if Arcade started the trend of three tiered prizes but if they're going to make it an actual video game give the kids ninety seconds to work with. The other thing is that I would either change it to where the kids play a game of Catch it and Keep it where prizes and cash amounts come flying in and the winners must dodge enemies that will stun them momentariy

-or-

Make it Supermarket Sweep. Play an abbreviated front game where correct answers win time for both teams in the Video Zone, and the winning team plays the Starcade end game.

As I age I think moore of Phil and less of a quarter-baked amalgam where nothing is really fleshed out and it all feels like random events resolving.
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JasonA1

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Re: More classic Nickelodeon game shows on Paramount+
« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2021, 08:00:51 PM »
Now that Tim mentions the pilot, I recall footage of pre-air rehearsals on Facebook or YouTube where the bonus was being played for 90 seconds. I think that's the sweet spot, and as Travis points out, increases focus on the big expensive cool new thing you engineered for this show.

Having watched some of the episodes again on Paramount+, I'm sure they cut the bonus down to 60 seconds for time reasons. But with fresh eyes, I think there was a better way to manage that time, and I'd be looking to prune things from the front game to get those 30 seconds back for the end. Perhaps cut the second face-off game and let the team that's ahead or behind control Mikey first in round 2.

I also think the Video Challenge was OK, but not worth doing more than once a half, so I'd be working to only see one of those per round (unless kids take a REALLY circuitous path to the Goal). The points, prizes and enemies took far less time to resolve. You'd still get all your flashy variety for the kids watching, while being able to put more focus on the even flashier Video Zone.

-Jason
« Last Edit: April 07, 2021, 10:46:34 PM by JasonA1 »
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MSTieScott

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Re: More classic Nickelodeon game shows on Paramount+
« Reply #18 on: April 08, 2021, 04:27:10 AM »
But with fresh eyes, I think there was a better way to manage that time, and I'd be looking to prune things from the front game to get those 30 seconds back for the end. Perhaps cut the second face-off game and let the team that's ahead or behind control Mikey first in round 2.

I also think the Video Challenge was OK, but not worth doing more than once a half, so I'd be working to only see one of those per round (unless kids take a REALLY circuitous path to the Goal).

I disagree. When I was a kid watching this show, the only things I cared about were the video games (toss-ups and video challenges) and the Video Zone. The video puzzles and the super-dry pop quizzes -- the latter of which showed up way too frequently -- were the boring things I had to sit through to get to the parts of the show I wanted to see.

I just scanned several episodes online -- while most had three video challenges, some only had two. It doesn't feel right for a show called Nick Arcade to spend the majority of a round with the contestants buzzing in to answer questions.

While I agree that the Video Zone would have been better as a 90-second round, doing so wouldn't require stealing only an additional 30 seconds from the front game. You'd also have to factor in the time Phil would spend describing a fourth level (because three in 90 would be won too frequently) and a fourth prize plug. And then there's the inequality of one teammate playing an extra level. There's also the fact that season one only had eight non-boss levels, so repetition would happen more frequently (and I'm guessing there wasn't enough space backstage for a fourth set anyway).

If it were up to me and adding 30 seconds to the Video Zone were feasible? I'd ditch the goal space entirely. Let the teams move Mikey around at their whim and play a Mario-esque "time is running out" sound to let teams know the round will be ending soon. When time is up, ask a final "boss" question for points. With no goal space to play for, it's less obvious that the front game rounds are short and not much progress on the board was made.

And severely truncate the contestant interviews. Those were always a slog.

JasonA1

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Re: More classic Nickelodeon game shows on Paramount+
« Reply #19 on: April 08, 2021, 01:09:04 PM »
I think you raise a lot of good points. A fun aside; the first episodes I clicked on were an early one from season 1, and a random show from season 2. During the season 1 show, my wife butted in with, "This is barely television!" (That means, if I ever watch one of the earliest-taped Double Dare shows with her, she's just going to rip the remote out of my hand and turn off the TV.) In the middle of the season 2 show, however, with Phil in full sing-along-with-the-music-mode, she gave Phil props for what he brought to the show, and how much more coherent it felt.

That's a long way of agreeing with what I've heard from a number of people going back to watch these, including members here: Nick Arcade was a fun idea and fun to watch, but suffering in execution.

Believe it or not, I was more frustrated with the Video Challenge as a kid than I am now. My observations in first run -- in no particular order, and surely influenced by the episodes I had seen: I've never heard of these games. Why do they always wager more points than they have? Why don't they know how to play this?

The first complaint can't be remedied, because they made whatever deals they could for real games. But the rest could have been fixed if they had more time to work with the kids. A Video Challenge at its worst felt like me renting a game from Blockbuster that didn't come with a manual. So I'm left to wonder: did the kids not play them at all? Or did they only get their hands on them for a short time?

Years later, I can't help comparing this portion with Starcade. Arcade games probably lent themselves better to brief timed challenges over many of the titles on Nick. At the time, my brother and I were rapidly building our SNES library, while our friends down the street had a Genesis. I felt smack dab in the target group for the show, and yet, I wasn't bowled over by a Video Challenge. There was something missing to bridge the gap (for viewers and contestants) when the game was unfamiliar, or fairly complex for a 30-second session.

Also, I was, and still am, a fan of Get the Picture, so the video puzzles were welcome events. But I agree the Pop Quiz was not working, particularly in season 1.

I feel the same lack of practice goes for the Video Zone too. It was rewarding to see a kid trying to dodge the obstacles, even if they didn't succeed. It was the opposite of fun when a kid walked across an entire level like it was a still painting and got hit by all 9 enemies in his path. Given how many variants on Pong we saw in the face-offs, I imagine they were in an overall crunch of time and budget, but I feel like there was a way to make it better by adjusting the power bars, amount of enemies on screen, speed of the game, etc.

-Jason
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MSTieScott

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Re: More classic Nickelodeon game shows on Paramount+
« Reply #20 on: April 08, 2021, 01:54:54 PM »
When I was a kid, there were exactly two games in the video challenge area that I ever wanted to see -- and one of them was Sonic, which I didn't actually care about, but at least I had heard of it. You're right that that part of the show could have used stronger games but the producers had to work with what they could get.

I agree that Nick Arcade would have been more fun to watch if the kids had been given some time to practice the video games and the Video Zone. I shared your impression that the contestants had never seen most of the console titles before in their lives. It makes me wonder whether the contestants were selected before the tape day or whether the show was just recruiting whatever willing children they could get from families who had paid to enjoy a day at Universal Studios.

Also, Double Dare and Finders Keepers presumably didn't give their contestants practice time, so maybe nobody realized that in this case, the show would have benefited from it?

Although as I think back, my memories are telling me that the Video Zone did provide the right level of challenge. Contestants usually got at least one attempt at the final boss, at which point they completely forgot to try to avoid the obstacles and subsequently lost over and over again. It felt like only once a season or so would somebody get stuck on level one for the entire 60 seconds. Maybe it wasn't that the Video Zone was too hard; it just ended before there was time to get into it. Which we already agreed was the problem.

JasonA1

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Re: More classic Nickelodeon game shows on Paramount+
« Reply #21 on: April 08, 2021, 02:32:53 PM »
Also, Double Dare and Finders Keepers presumably didn't give their contestants practice time, so maybe nobody realized that in this case, the show would have benefited from it?

Yes. Although I'm immediately reminded of Marc (and Mike Klinghoffer) in this article describing how they'd try to help the kids with the Double Dare obstacle course (Ctrl+F on "The kids would be funny"). I'm sure there was a version of that happening on Nick Arcade.

But the whole of preparing contestants is something I've gained more and more appreciation for as I see it happen with my own eyes. There's a group we've both worked with who do their best to duplicate the stage setups backstage - tape out the same distance between podiums, sometimes with the art dept. building them a replica of what's in the studio. When a show gets as complex as Nick Arcade, and you're able to have a quasi "boot camp" where contestants get reps with all of the stuff they're being asked to do, the on-air product is better for it.

-Jason
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WhammyPower

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Re: More classic Nickelodeon game shows on Paramount+
« Reply #22 on: April 08, 2021, 02:38:59 PM »
It felt like only once a season or so would somebody get stuck on level one for the entire 60 seconds.
I found at least three occasions in season 2 where someone got stuck saving people getting sucked by the UFOs for all of the 60 seconds. They're in episodes 46, 47 and 60. I've been contemplating about whether I should make a YouTube video of these or not.

And Nadine was just slower than the demise of Flash.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2021, 03:20:17 PM by WhammyPower »

Loogaroo

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Re: More classic Nickelodeon game shows on Paramount+
« Reply #23 on: April 08, 2021, 06:28:30 PM »
Finders Keepers had not only ninety seconds for the end game but six prizes. Double Dare had eight.

Finders Keepers also made the odd decision of putting their grand prize in the front game as the reward for their Instant Prize Room, but we won't get into that.


And severely truncate the contestant interviews. Those were always a slog.

After sitting through 200+ episodes of Double Dare last summer, you would have thought at some point that kids are just too shy to talk about things extemporaneously. (The number of boys who "liked sports" was too ubiquitous to count.)
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Allstar87

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Re: More classic Nickelodeon game shows on Paramount+
« Reply #24 on: April 08, 2021, 09:07:19 PM »
I found at least three occasions in season 2 where someone got stuck saving people getting sucked by the UFOs for all of the 60 seconds. They're in episodes 46, 47 and 60. I've been contemplating about whether I should make a YouTube video of these or not.

It happens in 45 as well. If you want to add one more, it's cleared in 61, but it takes the contestant 55 seconds to do it. Easy to see why the UFO game was my least favorite.

And if you were wondering if anyone else in season 1 ever failed to clear the first level... It happened just one other time, in the Alien Moon Base on episode 17. The poor kid was clearly trying their hardest, though.

WhammyPower

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Re: More classic Nickelodeon game shows on Paramount+
« Reply #25 on: April 09, 2021, 01:20:30 PM »
This leaves a small hole yet to be filled... were there any other level 1 fails in season 2 outside of Monsters on the Loose?

jcs290

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Re: More classic Nickelodeon game shows on Paramount+
« Reply #26 on: April 10, 2021, 02:13:50 PM »
Recalling my 10 year old self that obsessed over Nick game shows of the early '90s, the only frustrating things about the show to me were:

No aggressive wagers on the Video Challenges.
Every team picking King of the Monsters first (because it was the easiest game to rack up points)
Too many playings of Battle of the Bands in the Face-Offs.
Mikey never reaching the Goal.

I didn't feel the Video Zone was unfair or poorly balanced, in fact my 10 year old self thought of all the Nickelodeon bonus rounds (DD Obstacle Course, GtP Mega Memory, LotHT Temple Run, etc.) it seemed to have the highest win percentage.

Loogaroo

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Re: More classic Nickelodeon game shows on Paramount+
« Reply #27 on: April 10, 2021, 02:59:27 PM »
Mikey never reaching the Goal.

IIRC, teams were coached not to send Mikey directly to the goal since there wasn't any real incentive to do so.

I totally hear you on the Video Challenges. Maybe giving the non-gaming teammate 3 seconds to come up with a number to wager was a bad decision - the non-gamer really doesn't have a way of knowing if the challenge is going to be doable or not, nor can they control how the game plays out, and is always going to favor conservative wagers because of it. I also wonder what would've happened if they scored the game in 5/10 point increments instead of 25. Maybe these kids are going to wager 10-15 points no matter how the scoring works so the show should have been more proactive it making the wagers more meaningful.
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MSTieScott

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Re: More classic Nickelodeon game shows on Paramount+
« Reply #28 on: April 10, 2021, 07:23:02 PM »
I don't know whether the contestants were coached to avoid it (in the handful of episodes I skimmed a couple of days ago, the older kids seemed to deliberately send Mikey on a serpentine path so they could explore the grid), but there was an advantage to landing on the goal -- your team got to play the question solo, with the other team receiving only half the points if you answered incorrectly.

I'm going to go find an episode of Finders Keepers to watch. When I was a kid, I liked that show, and I've wondered why Nickelodeon never includes it in its retro game show packages. Maybe the game isn't as compelling as young Scott thought it was at the time?

weaklink75

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Re: More classic Nickelodeon game shows on Paramount+
« Reply #29 on: April 10, 2021, 09:49:53 PM »
I think the Video Challenges might have worked better if:

-no wagering, it’s worth 25/50 points depending on the round
-instead of selecting the game, the game is selected at random from the set of 5
-after they’re told the challenge score, the team who landed on the square had the choice to play the game or make the other team play