Western Animation / Video Power
is an early 1990s show that attempted to take what kids supposedly liked about Captain N: The Game Master
while having segments talking about actual game tips and reviews to make it clear they knew what they were talking about
. It was hosted by the exuberant Johnny Arcade (played Stivi Paskoski), and made up of various segments:
- The Power Team: The heart of the show was an action cartoon about the heroes of various games released by Acclaim battling evildoers in the real world. Led by an animated Johnny Arcade (voiced by someone other than Paskoski in these segments), who commanded the group from the safety of his bedroom, the group was made of Max Force from NARC, Tyrone from Arch Rivals, Kuros from Wizards and Warriors, Kwirk from Kwirk the Chilled Tomato, and Bigfoot the monster truck. Most of the time they fought Mr. Big, Spike Rush and Joe Rockhead, also from NARC, but occasionally other villains, like the Evil Sorcerer Malkil, appeared as well. Was eventually split from Video Power into a separate show (Sometimes called Acclaim Masters) following the season 2 overhaul, likely because the live-action footage giving hints and advertising for games several years old would be too dated for reruns.
- Video Power Edge: Johnny would provide tips and secrets for recent console games.
- Video Power Review: Johnny reviewed newly released or upcoming games. He tended to get extremely into character when doing so, such as acting like a valley-speaking surfboarder when doing Heavy Shredding, or an over-the-top Zen master when doing Conquest of the Crystal Palace. These personas tended to be more memorable than the actual content of Johnny's review, which were usually a very basic retelling of the game's features. Plus one only has to watch a few to realize he never reviews a game he doesn't recommend.
For its second season the show was completely overhauled to be a game show where contestants earned points by playing a game of the day well, or answering trivia questions about current video games.
The First Version Provides Examples Of:
- Adaptational Attractiveness: Max Force is no longer The Faceless, and Joe Rockhead is no longer a deformed zombielike freak.
- Adaptational Badass:
- Kwirk, who joined the others in taking on villains in spite of coming from a block-pushing puzzle title which had none.
- Malkil was also far more threatening-looking than his video game counterpart (where he was a stereotypical white-bearded wizard in a bright blue robe and pointy hat with stars all over them).
- Adaptational Wimp: Max Force, who instead of blowing people away with dual SMGs and rocket launchers relied on unconventional and mostly defensive gadgets.
- Adapted Out: Max's partner Hit Man and the rest of Mister Big's gang were apparently never brought to the Real World. It's at least justified with Kinky Pinky, who would have been highly inappropriate for a kid's show.
- Berserk Button: Kwirk would flip out whenever someone pronounced it as "to-MAH-toe." To a slightly lesser extent, Tyrone's exasperation whenever Kuros starts talking about his home world.
- Blessed with Suck: As a video game villain, Malkil was seemingly bound by Suspicious Videogame Generosity: Every time he changed into one of his elemental forms the spell needed to counter it would spawn nearby.
- Canon Foreigner: Rowdy Roddy Radish and Patricia Parsnip were made up specifically for the show since there were no enemy characters in Kwirk's game. Ditto for Bigfoot's rival Burnt Rubber, despite the presence of fictional rival monster trucks in his NES game.
- Cool Car: Bigfoot. Also tricked out with a bunch of gadgets like laser guns, an extending front fender, and the ability to extend upward off his frame, which also functioned as a spring allowing him to launch into the air. Also, he can talk. Mr. Big and his gang had their tricked-out limo and in a couple episodes had the help of an Evil Counterpart to Bigfoot called Burnt Rubber.
- Covers Always Lie: A weird aversion of this, in that the characters looked mostly like they did on their respective games' packaging art, rather than what they looked like in their actual games. (Most notable with Kuros and Malkil, which used the box art's barbarian warrior and shadowy sorcerer designs rather than the game's armored knight and white-bearded wizard).
- Double Vision: In the process of most reviews Johnny would start arguing with a clone of himself over which feature of a game was better, usually graphics vs. audio.
- Evil Is Petty: Probably thanks to censors more than anything, but the NARC baddies in this are out to make money by doing things like creating an embargo on tomatoes to hold up pizza parlors, taking over a water park or ski resort, or stealing a dinosaur egg.
- Fish out of Water: All the Power Team members to an extent, but Kuros in particular. In one episode Max Force seems to have no concept of the film industry despite coming from one of the games most akin to regular Earth; weirder still, the NARC villains do know about making movies.
- Full-Name Basis: Max Force is almost never simply called "Max".
- I'm a Humanitarian: Roddy Radish powers up by eating produce. He gets an okay amount eating regular vegetables, but specifically wanted to eat Kwirk to become superpowered. Who knows what he's like back home...
- In Medias Res: It is never explained how the Power Team or Mr. Big ended up in the real world, or how Mr. Big got a hold of weapons that could send them back to their game worlds. The closest the show ever got to an origin story was in the opening intro, which shows the five game heroes coming out from Johnny's TV screen.
- Large Ham: Johnny when doing the review segment, as he'd put on a different costume and persona in almost all of them. When reviewing Werewolf: The Last Warrior, he was morphing into a werewolf himself over the course of the review and would stop to snort and growl every few seconds.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Whenever Malkil would appear and transform into an elemental, some kind of cosmic law of fair play would cause a treasure chest containing the magic spell Kuros needed to beat him to appear somewhere nearby.
- Lighter and Softer: Obviously the characters from NARC are, with no mention whatsoever of the villains' drug empire, Max Force relying on a Batmanesque utility belt to fight crime instead of his heavy ordinance from the games, and Mr. Big being lacking his giant bionic head Final Boss form. Tyrone didn't even punch anyone, he attacked by throwing his basketball, even though that was the one thing making Arch-Rivals unique.
- Massive Multiplayer Crossover: Between NARC, Wizards and Warriors, Kwirk the Chilled Tomato, Arch Rivals and the Bigfoot NES game.
- Never Trust a Trailer: In several episodes Johnny would give a brief rundown of the plot of the animated segment. The actual episode they showed tended not to be the one he'd just described, though.
- Off Model: While the cartoon never reached Captain N levels of sloppy, it's obvious the episode "Turf Wars" was done by a less experienced team: Joe Rockhead's walk cycles are poorly looped, and Bigfoot's "Mouth" is animated strangely.
- Sentient Vehicle: Bigfoot, as is Burnt Rubber.
- Totally Radical: Boy did the producers want kids to think Johnny Arcade was the coolest dude around.