Nick Arcade is a Game Show that was produced for Nickelodeon in 1992. It was hosted by Phil Moore. The main part of the show consisted of a game board divided into 18 squares. Two pairs of contestants controlled a kid named Mikey, leading him to the goal to get points and avoid the enemy.
The most notable part was the "Video Challenge" squares, where one of the teammates got up to a wall of "arcade machines" (which usually had NES, SNES, Sega Genesis, TurboGrafx-16, and Neo Geo games) and participated in a timed challenge on that game. Viewers could be treated to kids failing hard at collecting rings in Sonic the Hedgehog, or the poor sap who chose Super Ghouls 'N Ghosts.
This show is notable for not only being one of Nick's many game shows that they created during the late 1980s and early 1990s, but having Joey Fatone as a contestant.
On October 26, 2014, a copy of the original pilot for the show, courtesy of series co-creator Karim Miteff, resurfaced.
Game Show Tropes in use:
- Bonus Round: The Video Zone, essentially taking the players and putting them into a video game. There were three levels, the first two had random themes, while the third was one of three "bosses". Each teammate took a level, while both tackled the third. In each level, the team had to collect three items while avoiding pitfalls that would take one unit off their power meter; losing all five units causes the level to end and the player(s) would have to "reset". There was also a hidden powerup which might restore full power, freeze the action briefly, destroy all the enemies, or allow access to certain pathways. Collecting three items moved each teammate to the third level, completing that won the grand prize. The team also won a prize for each level completed, and each item collected won them $50. The team had a total of 60 seconds to get through all three levels; if they ran out of time, Game Over. This was much harder than it sounds.
- Bonus Space: "Prize" on the game boards, and technically the Video Challenges.
- Double The Dollars: The second round with Mikey, like in several other game shows, doubles the point values.
- Golden Snitch: The Video Challenges could have been, but most teams only ever bet 5 or 10 points.note
- Losing Horns: The time buzzer in the Bonus Round was a series of short descending notes resembling an Evil Laugh. As the background goes red and the word Game Over flashes.
- 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.
- Whammy: The "enemy" square on the game board would automatically give control to the other team.
This show contains examples of:
- Abhorrent Admirer: The Smooch Aliens of the space stages, a pair of aliens that cover Mikey with smooches whenever he lands on an enemy space.
- A Winner Is You: Beat the game wizard, and the message "You did it! You beat the game" flashes on the screen.
- Big Bad: The Game Wizards. Merlock, Scorcha, and Mongo. The winning team takes one of the three on in the Video Zone for the grand prize.
- Big Boo's Haunt: Creepyville as well as the Haunted Museum in the Video Zone.
- Celebrity Edition: On three occasions in Season 2, cast members from then-running Nickelodeon sitcoms would compete against each other. One episode had cast members from Salute Your Shorts competing against each other, another episode had cast members from Welcome Freshmen, and a third celebrity episode, which was the final taped episode, featured cast members from Clarissa Explains It All.
- Chroma Key: The Video Zone was made possible as part of a soundstage separate from the main set with ladders, platforms, and steps all painted in one color to overlay the platform elements of the game screen.
- Crossover: Moore cohosted the "Nickelodeon All-Star Challenge" that aired during The Big Help in 1994; crossing over with Double Dare, Legends of the Hidden Temple and What Would You Do?
- Early Installment Weirdness: Early tapings had the Pop Quiz consist of a choice between several categories that were related to where Mikey was currently at. This was later changed to just going straight to a question related to the board Mikey was currently in, and the choice between categories was now exclusively for the Goal.
- Epic Fail: Joe O'Connor played Super R-Type on the Grand Finale's last Video Challenge, scored less than 1,000 points... and lost the game before time ran out.
- Fake Difficulty: The Video Zone is made considerably harder because the players can't see the obstacles they're facing directly, and only see an empty, monocolor stage. They have to look over at a monitor to see what obstacles are being projected onto them digitally. If you've never tried to perform coordinated actions by watching yourself on a live monitor, give it a shot with a webcam to see just how hard it is.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: A few of the questions were about R-rated media, such as Stephen King's Misery. They also gave us this gem:"Which of the following has the shortest average life span? A) A tree shrew. B) Adult mayfly. C) New York City cab drivers.
- Grand Finale: The last taped episode was a Clarissa Explains It All celebrity special, featuring Elizabeth Hess, Joe O'Connor, Melissa Joan Hart and Jason Zimbler.
- Haunted House: The Creepyville board.
- Inside a Computer System: The Video Zone.
- It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": Whenever Sonic the Hedgehog or Sonic the Hedgehog 2 were used, Moore would always call Dr. Robotnik "Dr. Robotonik", adding an extra "o" to his name for some reason. He would also occasionally forget a "t," calling him "Dr. Robo Nick."
- Level Ate: Food Frenzy from the Video Zone.
- Mayincatec: Ancient Tomb from the Video Zone.
- Minecart Madness: Runaway Rail Car from the Video Zone.
- Nightmare Face: The floating blob creatures in some Video Zone rooms are harmless looking and almost cute until they suddenly open their mouths and charge, transforming into terrifying monsters with mouths full of Scary Teeth.
- Nintendo Hard: The Video Zone. So many Game Overs, so many crushed dreams of children wanting to go to space camp.
- Obvious Beta:
- One of the games, played twice during the run, was a very early version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 which used Sonic 1's Star Light Zone theme for Emerald Hill. The ROM was eventually dumped onto the Internet on November 7, 2006 and was even dubbed the "Nick Arcade prototype." Not so obvious during the show's original run, its appearances caught the attention of the Sonic fanbase during the repeats on Nick GAS.
- The unaired pilot also had footage from a beta version of Sonic 1, while the actual show used the final American version of the game.
- Opening Narration:
- Pilot: "Hey you guys, pause those VCRs and put down those joysticks. It's time for Nick Arcade, the show that tests your video savvy and your video game skills. Today, one lucky team will actually get to go inside a video game, for a chance to win this fabulous bonus prize: A trip to Universal Studios Florida! And now, here's the host of Nick Arcade, the best-dressed Tetris player in the free world, Niels Schuurmans!"
- Season 1: "Behind this door is the Video Zone, a place between our world and the video dimension. Waiting to challenge you for control of the Video Zone is one of the Game Wizards. Is it... Merlock, Scorcha, or Mongo?" *Camera pan over contestants* "These two teams will compete for the right to enter the Video Zone and face the Game Wizard's challenge. Who will it be? Find out today on... Nick Arcade! And now, here's your host, (insert preparatory phrase), Phil Moore!"
- Season 2: "Get ready for the ultimate Video Challenge, as these two teams go head-to-head with a maze of electronic obstacles for the right to face one of our Game Wizards in the Video Zone! (insert preparatory phrase here, like "Strap yourselves in!") Here comes... Nick Arcade! And now, here's your host, (insert preparatory phrase), Phil Moore!"
- Pie in the Face: Weapon of Choice for Game Over the bully enemy in the neighborhood stages:Game Over: *holds out a hand* Hold it right there bean brain! *produces pie from behind himself and splats the camera with it*
- Pilot: The original pilot for the show was taped in the Spring of 1991 on the Get the Picture set. Niels Schuurmans was the host, and it recycled the theme from a short-lived Nick program called Outta Here!. Schuurmans also hosted the December 10, 1990 pilot for Get the Picture, which had the podiums from Family Double Dare.
- Product Placement:
- You really think Nick went down to the Blockbuster off Vineland to get games? Nope, the developers paid good money to put their games in the Video Zone.
- Psygnosis, later to be acquired as Sony's European gaming studio, programmed the show's toss-up video games (Post Haste and the various Pong clones) which determined control of Mikey.
- Bets for points in the Video Zone were scribbled down on a poorly-disguised Magna Doodle.
- Punny Name: Possibly in Phil Moore's case; while that is his real name, one of the games featured surprisingly often on the show was Actraiser and the level was usually, you guessed it, Fillmore. The lead-in announcer also did introduce Phil with a pronunciation that sure sounded a decent bit like "Fillmore". It may just be happy coincidence, however.
- Rump Roast: A massive fire breathing dragon in the medieval levels somehow manages to sneak up behind Mikey and deliver one of these with his Breath Weapon.
- Shared Life Meter: The final level of the Bonus Round had both teammates taking on the Game Wizard together. The power meter would drain if either player got hit by a baddie.
- Shifting Sand Land: The Forgotten Desert board.
- Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Snow Slingers from the Video Zone.
- Spiritual Successor: To Starcade (1982-84), albeit with far less emphasis on playing video games and winning game-related prizes.
- Time Travel: The Time Portal board.
- Unstoppable Mailman: The Post Haste toss-up.
- The Wild West: The Slurpy Gulch board.