Web Original / The Pokémon Game Show
created and hosted by Greg Wicker, usually known as "Greggo
," which began in January 2013. It doesn't air on TV, however, but rather is played at Anime-themed
conventions. Various episodes can be viewed on Greggo's YouTube channel.As the name might suggest
, it's a game show themed around Pokémon
(both the anime and the games). Four contestants enter, with three eliminated as the game progresses, leaving one to face the Champion and possibly have himself programmed into the game software
So how does it work? Well, every round is played on a board of 30 numbered squares:
- Round 1 is one of several games. Usually, the first three players to earn one or two points move on. Players earn points by playing the board, but to play the board they have to correctly answer a jump-in question (general trivia, identify a Pokémon from its Pokédex entry, or a series of clues to something related to the franchise). Games used in this round have included:
- Super Effective: Given a Pokémon, find a move on the board that in the games is, well, super effective against that Pokémon. First three to do that twice move on.
- Who's Whose?: The first question is always to identify a Pokémon by its silhouette (cue audience shouting "Who's that Pokémon?" in unison). Then, given that Pokémon, find its trainer on the board (four different ones, each showing up roughly the same number of times). First three to get two move on.
- The Fast Track: Six Pokémon appear in each of the five rows of the board, with each instance of the same Pokémon connecting either vertically or diagonally with the previous. Find all five of the same Pokémon once to move on.
- Make Your Move: Find two words that, together, create the name of a Pokémon move. First three to do that twice move on.
- Voltorb Sweeper: Essentially Minesweeper in reverse - in up to two picks, try to find one of seven Voltorbs. Blank space ends your turn; a number indicates how many Voltorbs touch it orthogonally (but not diagonally) and gives the contestant one more chance to find a Voltorb. First three to find two Voltorbs move on. (Unlike in other games, the board will remain open until a Voltorb is found; when a Voltorb is found, all squares opened to that point are locked off.)
- Hot Potato: No, not the Bill Cullen show of the same name, this is more akin to Pass the Buck, another Bill Cullen game show. The player in first position selects one of the squares to pick a question with multiple correct answers. Greggo reads the question (giving an example answer), and the contestants, in turn, give answers until one of them commits an error by either giving a wrong or no answer, or repeating an answer (they may give the example if they so desire). Whoever loses a question gets to select and start the next one; the first player to lose three questions is eliminated. (If all of the answers are given, nobody loses the question, and the next contestant in line picks and starts the next question.)
- Round 2 is always Evolution Match. As before, buzzing in with a correct answer to a question allows that person to play the board. In this round, 25 Pokémon are on the board, all in groups of their evolution chains: five chains of two Pokémon and five chains of three. Within each evolution chain, all Pokémon touch either horizontally or vertically on the board (so a group of three can also be in an L shape). While playing the board, that player keeps picking so long as they continue matching Pokémon in the same chain, and upon completing the chain captures those Pokémon. The other five squares contain the Team Rocket "R" symbol, which costs that player a Pokémon if (s)he has any. The first two to get six Pokémon move on.
- Round 3 has the last two players challenge the Elite Four. The right to begin for each bout is determined by a question. The object is to find moves that are super effective against each of two Pokémon (in order). The players alternate turns until someone manages to do that, winning the bout. The first player to win three bouts wins free admission to that convention next year, and plays the Championship for the right to be programmed into the game software.
- The Championship is played by the last remaining player. The board now contains 23 moves and seven K.O. squares (originally 24 moves and six K.O.'s). The Championship takes the form of a mock Pokémon battle, three-on-three. Finding a move either does 1 HP of damage to the Champion's current Pokémon (if it's not super-effective against that Pokémon) or beats that Pokémon outright (if it's super effective; seven of the moves on the board will be super effective against at least one Pokémon, and each Pokémon will have at least one move on the board that will deal them a One-Hit KO), with each of the Champion's Pokémon having 4 HP. Finding a K.O., however, removes one of the challenger's Pokémon. The first side to K.O. all three of the other's Pokémon gets or keeps the championship — and in the case of the challenger, that person gets his/her likeness programmed into the game software for that convention, complete with their own selection of three Pokémon for the next challenger to face. (Originally, if a convention did not have a champion as of yet, Iris from the Unova arc in the anime was the default champion; Greggo later updated his software to the XY era, which means the default champion is now Diantha.)
- Bonus Round: The Championship.
- Bonus Space: In Round 2, Pikachu appears on the board. If a player finds him and makes a match on the same turn, that player is protected from his or her next Team Rocket selection (however, Pikachu will not count towards the requisite six). While Pikachu is active, the player he is protecting will have a crocheted Pikachu doll next to him or her. Pikachu debuted at San Japan 2015; the first episode uploaded that featured him on the board is Tsubasacon 2015.
- Lifelines: In the Hot Potato game in Round 1, each player is allowed one "free pass", where they may pass their turn with no penalty. In addition, seven additional free passes are hidden on the board; the player selecting one then picks again until they get a question.
- Luck-Based Mission: Quickly becomes a test of memory, but at the beginning of each round there's little or no information known. More prominent in the Championship Round, where once a box is opened it stays opened since its effect happens immediately.
- The Announcer: Three-time game show contestant Josh Woo, on at least one occasion.
- Game Show Host: Greggo, who wears a white coat for these shows and was quickly nicknamed "Professor Wicker". Not too surprising, since the anime/game Professors' last names (Oak, Birch, Elm, etc.) have a tree/wood theme to them.
- Studio Audience: Usually consisting of convention-goers.
- Retired Game Show Element: The Motaku 2014 episode debuted a question type which required the contestants to guess the Pokédex number of a given Pokémon as on The Price Is Right. Said questions were retired after Round 1 of that show.
- Rules Spiel: The round explanations, which are likely the first time the contestants are told about the rules.
- The Team Rocket "R" in Round 2 (which makes you lose a point).
- "Miss" symbols in Round 3 (which makes you waste your turn).
- Starting with the Japan Expo 2013 episode, Round 3 also features a "Splash" symbol with a Magikarp. Basically, it's a re-skinned "Miss" since Splash is never super effective.
- K.O. symbols in the Championship (three of them, and you lose).
Trope examples... GO!
- Bragging Rights Reward: Not for winning the main game, since that has somewhat more immediate value (even if it's a year from then), but winning the Championship Round means your face gets programmed into the game control, and you can pick your own set of three Pokémon to be featured.
- Early Installment Weirdness:
- On the first two episodes, the Elite Four round only lasted four bouts, and the player who won the Evolution Match got the option of going first or second to start the round. On the second episode, it ended in a tie, so both players won the convention admission and played a modified version of the Championship Round: the player who K.O.'ed the champion's last Pokémon won, and each player had their own stock of three lives. Now, the right to start each bout is determined by a trivia question, and if the score goes to 2-2, Red from the games is the opponent for a fifth bout.
- Early episodes started the Evolution Match round by showing one Pokémon briefly before the first turn.
- Epic Fail:
- One contestant selected the same Team Rocket square three times during the Evolution Match. Greggo frequently refers to this occurrence.
- Another contestant in the Elite Four round also picked the same box containing Splash twice in the same round.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: What were you expecting from something called The Pokémon Game Show, a soap opera about InuYasha?
- Laser-Guided Karma: The Anime St. Louis 2013 episode had a then-19-year-old girl named Danielle who was cosplaying as Pikachu, and basically annoyed the crap out of everyone in the room. note As the game went on, she tried everyone's patience more and more (Greggo included) by saying random stuff and making sounds into the mic at various times (such as when Greggo was explaining the rules) and generally distracting the other players (she kept hitting one of them in the back of the head with glow sticks). Much to the consternation of everyone in the audience, she was the day's winner, but then karma came back and bit her hard in the Championship as she found three K.O.'s in her first three picks.
- Obvious Rule Patch: When a new Champion picks their three Pokémon for next year's winner to face, each Pokémon must have at least one weakness (type of move which is super-effective). The very few Pokémon who have no weaknesses are thus disallowed.
- Running Gag: A few that show up in the second round:
- During the rules explanation, Greggo usually mentioned that Pikachu and its evolutionary chain would not show up on the board because Team Rocket has never been able to steal Pikachu, until he started putting Pikachu up as a Bonus Space.
- He'll also mention Eevee is never on the second round board because "we'd be here all day."
- Greggo will usually do an impression of Wobbuffet if it shows up on the board.
- If Rattata is uncovered, Greggo will usually say something to the effect of, "I wonder if it's in the top 10 percent of all Rattata? Is Joey in the audience?"
- If one box gets isolated (due to the boxes touching it going across or up-and-down all having Pokémon behind them), Greggo will usually say, "Gee, I wonder what's behind #X?"
- Unsportsmanlike Gloating: Danielle, again, when she won her game, although in fairness she did give her defeated opponent a hug afterwards. Seeing as she had been annoying everyone all show long, seeing her lose the Championship round in the first three picks was quite satisfying.
- You Defeat It, You Become It: If you win the Championship Round, then you become the Champion (each convention has its own) and it's your face that stares down the next challenger with your three Pokémon they have to beat.
- X Meets Y: Concentration meets Pokémon, with a dash of the 1970s Break the Bank and a hint of Jay Wolpert.