Last week, we began our look back at the 20 worst American game shows to air in the last 10 years. In that article, we covered shows where contestants squeezed themselves through styrofoam walls, watched prizes tumble off a so-called “skyscraper”, have victory spoiled on the last clue, and suffered through William Shatner’s ham-handed hosting style. This week, we’ll be crossing four more shows off the list, but first, here’s a little bonus for you:
The past 10 years have not been very good for American game shows as a whole.
Since 2003, a total of 65 traditional (or at least, semi-traditional) game shows have made their debuts on television for national consumption. Of those 65 shows, only three are still in production today: CBS’ revival of Let’s Make a Deal, ABC’s summer obstacle course show Wipeout, and Hub’s surprise hit Family Game Night. Even shows that debuted at the end of last year have already vanished from the airwaves.
Let’s not beat around the bush: a lot of the reason why so few shows have survived the decade is because a lot of them were outright trash. In fact, there are a lot of shows that you can probably think of that could conceivably be on this list of 20. But after several weeks of research and observation, I can now comfortably present to you the list of the 20 worst shows from the past 10 years.
The criteria was simple:
- The show had to have debuted no earlier than March of 2003.
- It has to be either a traditional, studio-based game show, or some other open competition that could be resolved within one episode or, if a game straddled over multiple episodes, started on one show and ended on the next. This would rule out most reality-type competitions.
- The game had to involve civilian contestants. All-celebrity shows like AMC Celebrity Charades and Gameshow Marathon were ruled out.
- It has to be a show that was especially bad. There were plenty of shows that were produced between 2003 and now that were basically throwaways: shows that neither aspired to be much more than schedule filler nor generated much attention.
- Finally, this list is not a countdown; there is no #1 worst show of the decade, mainly because a few of them are collectively among the bottom. Instead, they’re grouped based on the specific properties of the show: ill-fated revivals, for example, or shows that all originated from one particular network.
Along the way, I’ve asked a few of my friends to chime in with their own insights on these shows. In some cases, you’ll hear from people who were a contestant on the show, tried out to be a contestant, or sat in the audience for one of their tapings. If you’d like to make your opinions known about these shows (or any of the shows we’ll be revealing in the future), feel free to leave a comment.
And so, without further ado, here are the first four shows of our list:
Has it really been a year since I did anything with this place?
(A careful study of the post date for my last update would indicate that yes, it has been a year since I did anything with this place.)
The first thing I want to do is apologize for my lack of production here on The Bloog. When I said last year that I was acquiring more free time on account of leaving the hotbed of sloth and suffering that was Commerce Casino (and the industry of third-party casino banking in general), I miscalculated a bit. Yes, I did end up having more free time now that I wasn’t faced with the prospect of nightly shifts that lasted ten hours and ran until 2 in the morning. But what I didn’t count on how much of that free time would be taken up doing other stuff. Namely, helping my roommates out with our fledgling Home Game Enterprizes business, and preparing for our thrice-annual Strategicon apperances. I’m also writing a weekly column for Field Gulls where I compile the playoff and draft rankings of every team in the league, with from the perspective of how the Seahawks rank on both lists. I’ve always been somewhat of a rolling stone interest-wise – think back to about ten years ago when this place had game show rulesheets, video game reviews, political rants, and a serial fiction about one Hogan Atwater – so my current list of projects should come as little surprise to anyone who knows me.
The downside to all this, as far as The Bloog is concerned, is that it takes time away from doing anything with the website. Hell, it’s been over a year and a half since I’ve done a video review.
Which brings me to another point – I honestly don’t know what to do with the site anymore. I think we can all agree that video games has been the site’s bread and butter for most of its existence, but being down for so long has created a measure of inertia that I’ll have to fight against in order to get started again. There are countless games that I have yet to play – at least a half-dozen of them in my entertainment cabinet alone – and the notion of plowing through them all is daunting to say the least. I was in the midst of a walkthrough for Dragon Quest VIII, but those videos don’t even have 20 views three months after the fact, and in any case I got nailed with a copyright strike for my Catch 21 episode, so that pretty much torpedos any hopes of finishing that off. (I’ve lost the ability to post videos over 15 minutes, which makes a walkthrough for a game like DQ8 prohibitively choppy.)
The one idea that I’ve had is to do a weekly livestream where I play one of those games that everyone but me has played – I even have a title thought up, “Monday Night Fubar” (I was genuinely surprised when I discovered that nobody on the internet had come up with that phrase yet). But that’s not necessarily something I could feature on The Bloog, unless I knew some way to integrate uStream with WordPress. And while I could continue rewriting all my old reviews – a project that stalled about a year ago, at about the same time my video reviews dried up – I get the sense that people don’t necessarily want to see me regurgitate my Mega Man 5 review for the fifth time.
Don’t get the sense that I’m euthanizing the site, though. As a matter of fact, the domain name was re-upped for another year by an anonymous benefactor, and I feel like I’d be doing a disservice by taking the site down after such a monetary investment has been made. That’s part of the reason I’m posting this, after all. I recently had a chat with some friends about the old days of the site – they were even humming the old theme to Strikeout! – and I also feel like I’d be letting them down to allow what is now 15 years worth of Loogaroo goodness to disappear. I know I’ll find some way to keep this place personally relevant.
So before I ramble on for too long, I want to thank everyone out there who is still interested in the future of the site. Who knows how long it’ll take for me to produce anything worthwhile (I don’t have “rarely updated” on the header for nothing), but rest assured The Bloog is still alive, and when something does make its way on here, I’ll be sure to let everyone know.
All the best,
-Tim “Loogaroo” Connolly
Well, more like “I finally got off my butt and did something for the site.”
In case you’re wondering what caused the massive hibernation, it was one part work being totally obstinate (2 hours overtime just about every night… when you’re already scheduled to work until midnight), one part writer’s block (no less than two reviews were started and stalled because I couldn’t come up with a good angle for a video), one part outside commitments (volunteering for Strategicon and hosting Press Your Luck therein, as you may have seen on my YouTube channel), and one part abject laziness. Things have gotten a little less hectic now; I’ve managed to escape the soul-crushing vortex that is the souther California card room industry, and my schedule has since opened up. It also helps that I have a new cell phone, one with HD video capacity, so I can start making videos without being self-conscious about resolution.
On that note, let’s stop filibustering and reveal my latest work: a swift walkthrough of everyone’s favorite game of level grinding and butthoumusting, Dragon Warrior.
Speaking of Dragon Warrior, I was playing around with Famitracker (a program that allows you to compose music using an NES soundboard), and I managed to put together a decent cover of the battle music from Dragon Warrior IV:
So there’s that.
I’ll probably start on my next review (for which I already have the footage – hint hint) in the next couple of days. See you soon!
Just a quick update on what’s going on with the site.
First of all, I want to send a shout-out to WiiViewr, the YouTube channel that exclusively reviews (you guessed it!) Wii and Virtual Console games. He’s added me to his list of “Other Great Game Reviewers!”. Considering that his videos routinely score several thousand hits after just a few days, I’d like to think that a small portion of that traffic is making its way over here. If such is the case, thanks for stopping by.
On that note, I’ve recently decided that my website content is a tad on the sparse side nowadays. The reviews are still up – they always will be – but aside from that I haven’t really done much. The game show controls are pretty much obsolete since I don’t really work with Visual Basic anymore (and I’m tired of everyone screaming that MCI32.OCX or some other file isn’t working), the rulesheets have pretty much been swallowed up by Wikipedia and TV Tropes, I had to close down the message boards because they were getting overrun with spammers, and I don’t have the stamina to go on long political rants the way I used to.
That’s where you guys come in. If anyone out there has ideas either video game or game show related that you’d like to see, let me know. I’m certainly not about to kill the website – as a matter of fact, I actually gotten off my butt and written a few more spruced-up reviews, and if you go to my Capsule Reviews you’ll notice that the Wii list is now up to date. I just think I’ve been letting this place stagnate for a while, and am looking for ways to freshen it up.
Talk to you guys soon!
Ever since I started reviewing video games for whatever web space I was using back in 1996, Hydlide for the NES has always held the record for being the lowest-scoring game in my library. When I was scoring with percentages, it rated in the low 20s; nowadays, it languishes with a total score of seven points out of 80 possible. For fifteen years, it had the infamous title of the worst game I’ve ever played.
This, folks, is what happens when a media company decides to make a video game out of one of their classic game show properties – only instead of doing a video game version of a classic game show, they do a video game of their crappy revival of said classic game show, and then give the responsibility of making this game to a company that barely did justice to The Price is Right, and turned Press Your Luck into an absolute shell of its former glorious self. (They also did the Wii releases of Family Feud and Hollywood Squares. I haven’t played either, and it this point it would take a rather sizable bribe for me to do so.) In otherwords, the short-sighted leading the inept. The result could’ve been seen a mile away.
Typically I like to do some sort of April Fools joke that is related somehow to my web presence. Last year, it was my joke review of FF3. The year before that, I did a fake Game Show Tournament bracket where the #1 ranked show was You’re In The Picture and it just went downhill from there. Prior to that, I Rickrolled all four Time Bomb videos I had recently uploaded. This year, instead of my own joke, I decided to let Ludia take care of the humor – unintentional as it may have been. Enjoy.
So the links have been renovated to better reflect my websurfing habits over the last 12 months. If there’s anything out there that I ought to be visiting that I don’t know of, feel free to let me know and I’ll check it out.
In other news, after playing 30 matches of Street Fighter IV and winning a cumulative total of two rounds, I think it’s pretty clear that either everyone else in the world is that good at the game, or I’m just that bad.