The first round was called "Connect the Dots". A series of dots were shown on the screen. For every question a team answered, they received $20 and chose one of the 16 panels, and the dots in that box would be connected to form part of the outline of the object in the picture. Guessing the picture correctly awarded $50, guessing incorrectly cost a team $20, and not guessing at all did not affect a team's score.
The second round was called "Dots" and was based on the classic drawing game of the same name. In this round, the corners of each panel were marked with a dot ranging from 1 to 25 in order. Each question in the round had a two, three, or four part answer. A complete correct answer awarded the team $40 and the opportunity to use as many lines as parts of the answer to connect neighboring dots on the board. Every time a box was formed, the piece of the picture it enclosed was revealed. In this round, guessing the picture was worth $75, with an incorrect guess still costing $20.
Additionally, in each round there were one or two "Power Surges", which if found required a team to complete a mini-game in order to complete the square and have a guess at the board.
The winning team advanced to the Bonus Round, "Mega Memory", for the chance to win additional cash and prizes.
Game Show Tropes in use:
- Bonus Round: Mega Memory. Teams had 10 seconds to memorize the location of nine pictures, then had 45 seconds (35 in Season 2) to correctly identify the location of the picture that matched a clue read by O'Malley. The first six questions were worth $200 each, with the next three awarding increasingly valuable prizes.
- Bonus Space: The "Power Surges," which offered the team that found it a chance at a (usually) timed mini-game for one question's worth of money. Failure at the mini-game handed the money and the opportunity to guess the picture to the other team. Especially helpful in the first round, as a Power Surge showed an actual piece of the image, and not just a dotted outline.
- Consolation Prize
- Double The Dollars: Partially; questions were raised from $20 in the first round to $40 in the second. The pictures, however, were more like 1½ times the dollars ($50 in round 1, $75 in round 2), with wrong guesses always costing $20 (except in a sudden death situation; see below).
- Promotional Consideration
- Speed Round / Sudden Death: When the time buzzer rang at the end of a round, if there was a picture in progress, it would be revealed one square at a time. The teams could buzz in as often as they wanted (with no penalty for a wrong answer) and the team that guessed the picture got the $50/$75.
- Think Music: During the Power Surges; also the 10-second timer used while the winner was given the answers for Mega Memory.
- Undesirable Prize: The grand prize was often a trip to Universal Studios in Orlando where the show was taped. Basically, this meant that if you weren't impressed with the park the first time, you "won" the opportunity to see the same things all over again. On the other hand, if you enjoyed the park, you got a return trip on Nick's dime.
This show provides examples of:
- Bait-and-Switch: Sometimes Mike O'Malley would read an overly complicated math problem and then end it with a completely different question altogether. For example: "While driving from New York to Los Angeles, you decide to stop for ice cream every 2.7 miles. Assuming that a cone costs just about 75 cents and that your entire journey will be about 3,455 miles, and that your car gets about 27 miles per gallon on the highway, 21 in the city, and if the shoe fits wear it, how many left feet do you have?"
- Celebrity Edition: One episode had two cast members from Welcome Freshmen playing against two cast members from Clarissa Explains It All.
- Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The orange team and the yellow team, each identified by matching jumpsuits.
- Nintendo Hard: Mega Memory's time limit in Season 2 was brutal. Only 35 seconds to remember nine pictures? That's asking a lot. On at least one occasion, a team got all nine answers in a row and still managed to finish with only one or two seconds left on the clock.
- Mad Libs Catch Phrase: Henry J would insert a wacky description of Mike O'Malley while introducing him as "my buddy" which changed on each episode.
- Pilot: The original pilot for the show was taped on December 10, 1990, with the ''Family Double Dare'' podiums. Niels Schuurmans was the host.
- Spiritual Successor: To Dotto, only minus the rigging.
- Timed Mission: Almost all the Power Surges were played in 30 seconds (a couple were played in 15 and 20 seconds, and one, which required putting together a jigsaw puzzle, was played in 45 seconds). Mega Memory was originally played in 45 seconds, but in season 2, it got cut to 35 seconds.