If GSN can do a 50 Greatest Game Shows Ever, then so can I!
50. Fun House
Come on – you know you wanted to romp through that thing when you were a kid.
Much like #50, every kid wanted their own arcade game.
48. The Newlywed Game
I’ve never been a huge fan of the show, but I figured it deserves some props.
47. Ultimate Fan League
The show that gave us Bil Dwyer and the “Get a Life” question.
46. Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?
Do it, Rockapella!
45. Twenty One
Now if we could just find a production company that can do this show without screwing it up in some way…
Not bad at all for an uber-low budget Canadian show.
43. Hot Potato
The steam-belching logo alone is worthy of the list.
The Super Jackpot riddles made for some very engaging television.
41. Body Language
A very worthwile adaptation of charades to the small screen.
This show probably would’ve lasted much longer if the production company hadn’t gone belly-up.
39. Idiot Savants
Very underrated MTV show. The week-long competition was an excellent touch.
38. History IQ
Who knew Marc Summers could host a straight quizzer?
37. Now You See It
Honestly, I prefer the Chuck Henry format quite a bit over the Jack Narz version. Kick-ass theme song for both.
One of the more inventive bonus rounds in the genre.
35. Hit Man
Cuteness aside, this was a fantastic test of quick recall.
34. American Gladiators
Everyone’s favorite guilty pleasure.
It helps that I have two friends who’ve both won the bonus round.
32. Match Game
Again, this is lower than many others would put it, but there’s no denying its pedigree.
31. Win Ben Stein’s Money
If only Jimmy Kimmel had stayed on the show, it probably would’ve lasted longer, and even better – we would’ve never been subjected to The Man Show.
30. Chain Reaction
Buoyed by a very watchable revival on GSN. Another classic bonus round.
29. 2-Minute Drill
Easily the best sports trivia show done on TV.
28. Name That Tune
Another underachiever, but this show’s ranking was hurt by the presence of Kathy Lee “I’m pickin’ up laa-laa-laa-laa” Johnson.
27. Tic Tac Dough
#27 on the list of shows, but easily in the top 3 theme songs.
26. High Rollers
Come on – where else would you hear Alex Trebek say, “Many moon come – that’s a niner”?
25. Three on a Match
Probably the best show that nobody under the age of 35 has ever heard of.
24. Split Second
Jeopardy! on amphetamines. Tom Kennedy’s finest hour.
The old-school version had challenging words and excellent celebrity players.
22. Knightmare (UK)
One of the most incredible technical and logistical challenges ever attempted on TV, and it succeeds magnificently.
21. Let’s Make a Deal
Monty Hall’s vamping and the eclectic costumes made you forget you were watching nothing but pure either-or decisions.
20. Classic Concentration
I never got to see the original version, but I doubt this one was that much worse.
Dumbed-down material and the Clue Crew damage the show’s once irrefutable reputation as the king of quizzers, but it’s still an enduring favorite.
18. The Joker’s Wild
Barry & Enright sure picked a great format to stage their comeback with.
Nobody outside us game show geeks know about this show, but it’s one of the most unique games ever created with its offense-defense gameplay and spontaneous strategies.
Probably Bill Cullen’s best known work after the original Price is Right.
Almost nothing like the board game, and that’s a very good thing.
14. Family Feud
Each of this show’s three separate runs have all lasted for at least five years. That’s pretty remarkable.
13. Wheel of Fortune
While we may not like all the changes WoF introduces each season, there’s no denying they’ve done the best at adapting with the times.
12. Double Dare (Nickelodeon)
By far the best kids’ show ever produced.
11. Hollywood Squares
Although the newest version is no longer on the air, you gotta hand it to them for making vast improvements in the last two seasons.
10. The Crystal Maze (UK)
This and Mastermind are probably England’s two hallmark shows. Richard O’Brien plays the anti-host role beautifully.
9. Password Plus/Super Password
While the original Password may have had better overall play, the later formats came up with a good play-along element and a classic endgame.
8. The Mole
A very controversial pick, I’m sure, since many may discredit this show for being more of the reality kind than a true game. Fact is, it’s one of the most cerebral and challenging games ever devised – both for the players and the spectators.
7. Press Your Luck
Ask any random person about game shows, and chances are their memories will center on this program. Its mesmerizing presentation and nerve-wracking gameplay made it one of the most exciting game shows you could watch.
6. Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
Although its luster has diminished from oversaturation and overuse of celebrity episodes in the tail end of its network run, you have to admit – in its heyday, it was the single most engrossing show on television.
5. Sale of the Century
The fact that it’s been 17 years since this show was last seen over the American airwaves, and there’s still not even a whisper of a comeback for this show, boggles my mind.
4. The Big Showdown
Definitely one of the genre’s biggest diamonds in the rough. A perfect mix of quiz and strategy to go along with one of the most unique scoring systems ever thought up.
3. Card Sharks
Better survey questions than Feud, more fast-paced than PYL, simpler to play than Password, and one of the best theme songs in the genre to boot.
2. The Price is Right
Any game show fan that hasn’t gone to a taping of this show is not a game show fan.
1. The $25,000/$100,000 Pyramid
Phenomenal gameplay. Excellent hosting by Dick Clark. A catchy theme song. And a tournament format that’s perfectly executed. Do I really need to say any more?