Series: A*mazing

Australian kids' game show that ran on the Seven Network for four seasons (1993-98). The show had kids from different primary schools competing for points. Each day, two kids represented their school, with the aim of collecting as many points as possible for their school's final total, updated daily and revealed at the end of the week.

The show consisted of three rounds. The first and second round involved each team, separately, having to guess the answer to a what-am-I question from a series of clues given by host James Sherry in ninety seconds. Once the team had worked out the answer, they would then type out the answer on a giant keyboard, using their feet. The team was awarded one point for every second remaining on the clock when they finished typing. After a commercial break, the contestants would have to run through one of two mazes using the leftover time from the what-am-I question. Hidden in this maze were the letters that made up the word, and each letter was worth ten points. The process was then repeated so both team members could run the maze.

The third round was the Computer Challenge, in which contestants played Super Nintendo (later Nintendo64) games competitively. The player who had collected the most coins/bananas/points was awarded 50 points, with the runner-up receiving 25.

The team with the most points at the end of each day's play then competed in the Key Run. Seven keys were hidden in the maze, each worth one hundred points. Contestants had 90 seconds (120 seconds in Seasons 2-4) to find as many keys as possible. There was always a Bonus Key which gave both members of the team a Nintendo Game Boy (later a Game Boy Colour).

After the Key Run, the points scored during that episode were added to the Leaderboard. At the end of the week, the winning team won their school a major prize, usually educational software.

A*mazing was easily the most popular Australian children's show of the 1990s, and holds a similar cultural significance in that country as Legends of the Hidden Temple and Nickelodeon Guts do in America.

Game Show Tropes in use:

This show provides examples of:

  • Catch Phrase:
    • "The Game Boy comes in white, black, red, yellow, or...wicked see-through!"
    • "It's a What-Am-I question with seven letters. Ninety seconds on the clock, and your time"
  • Colour Coded Characters: Contestants in Season 1 wore white t-shirts underneath green or yellow overalls. Beginning in Season 2, this became green or yellow t-shirts under black overalls.
  • Design Flaw: During the question round, an answer with four letters (cake) could be worked out fairly quickly and spelled quickly, leaving the players with lots of time to search for the letters. An answer with thirteen letters (Kieran Perkins), however, would be harder to work out, would take longer to spell, and would result in less time to find all the letters.
    • BUT: In each round, each team got an answer with the same number of letters. The longer answer would appear in the second round.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The desks were shaped like giant Super Nintendo controllers, complete with buttons.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: The three monkeys sitting on the Jungle Walk. Upon hitting the button on the first monkey, the hands covering its eyes lowered, the second monkey had its hands on its ears and opened its mouth, and the third monkey lowered its hands covering its mouth. They were referred to as "See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil".
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: The Penguins, on the right side of the Maze, were one of the few sections of the maze to appear in every season. The Penguins' eyes lit up in a pattern which the players must repeat on the corresponding floor buttons. Matching the pattern made the middle penguin's chest open, often revealing a letter.
  • Fourth Wall: During a Season 4 letter run, one letter in the dungeon was hidden on the camera, so that most of the camera was obscured by the shape of the letter. The cameraman actually followed the player through the dungeon and got up really close to the player, at which point the player realised why she was being followed, turned around, and grabbed the letter off the camera before continuing.
  • Genre Savvy: Rewarded with points. When running through the Desert, there was usually a letter (or Key) hidden behind the cactus. Due to the position of the camera, the viewer always saw the Key hanging on the back of the cactus, but the contestant could not. This became a Running Gag, with James spending half a season saying "Ooh, s/he didn't look behind the cactus!". When the next season began, when contestants looked behind the cactus to find a letter or Key, James would explain "Ah, s/he watches A*mazing!"
  • Mercy Kill: When contestants were too dim to work out the answer to the what-am-I question at the desk, after all the clues were gone and the contestants had around thirty seconds left, James would begin spelling the answer.
    "First letter G. Second letter L. Third letter O. Fourth letter V. Fifth letter E. (beat) G-L-O-V-E...GLOVE is the answer, go!"
  • My Nayme Is: A*mazing. With the asterisk.
  • Running Gag: After players check the cactus, "He watches A*mazing!"
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: On rare occasions where a player was injured during the Maze, another player was permitted to join their team as the "runner". At the desk, all three players were permitted to answer the question, giving the team with the injured player an advantage.
  • Unwinnable by Mistake: Because only the winning team got to do the Key Run at the end of each episode, it was possible for one team to win the Monday-Thursday episodes, and end up more than 700 points ahead of the other team, meaning that even if the other team collected all seven keys they would still be unable to win the entire week.
  • You Keep Using That Word: The Maze wasn't so much a maze as it was an elaborate obstacle course.

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