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Series / Video And Arcade Top 10

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Children's Game Show on YTV that lasted from 1991-2006. Two groups of four contestants played against each other at simultaneous single player modes of a video game (generally from Nintendo consoles, Sony on occasion), with the highest scoring one moving on to the Top 10 Bonus Wall, where they would pull a ball out of a drum to randomly pick a grand prize. Additional segments aired each week that profiled other video games and new home movies & CDs, with a heavy dose of home viewer giveaways and contests for good measure. A fond memory for many 1990s kids in Canada, it's one of the very few English-language Canadian game shows to last 15 years on the air in first run. Reruns have aired on the Canadian cable channel GameTV in the early 2010s.

Game Show Tropes in use:

  • Bonus Round: The Top 10 Bonus Wall, as held twice each episode for each contestant group. The winner put his/her hand in a container to pull a ball out that whose number matched one of 10 grand prizes (usually toys from show sponsors.) If they pulled the elusive red ball, they could pick their prize.
  • Carried by the Host: Nicholas Picholas and V&A Top 10 go hand in hand for many 1990s kids in Canada, especially as he lasted the show's entire 15 year run, 14 of those years as it's main host. None of his co-hosts came anywhere close to that.
  • Consolation Prize: In the later seasons, passes to the Medieval Times restaurant in Toronto for second place contestants, and Video & Arcade Top 10 t-shirts for the third & fourth place contestants
  • Game Show Winnings Cap: While V&A Top 10 (like most kids game shows) didn't have returning champions, there have been contestants who have been on the show on multiple separate occasions. For example, this kid was on the show three times, winning twice.
  • Home Game: Any video game played on the show. They were all available in stores, and round winners won their own copies
  • Home Participation Sweepstakes: Viewers had plenty of opportunities to mail in postcards to win prizes. A mailed in postcard could make you a "home player" assigned to a contestant (if they win, you get the game they played), or you could mail in the answer to trivia in the movie/music segments to win Blockbuster Video passes, a CD, or a home movie. You could also win a prize by mailing in the answer to a question about a code/trick given each week, or by having your letter read by Nicholas during "Letter Time".
  • Personnel:
    • Game Show Host: Gordon Michael Woolvett (a.k.a. Gord the PJ Man) in season 1, Nicholas Picholas (is that his real name?) thereafter, and the various co-hosts that rarely lasted more than a couple of seasons
    • The Announcer: None, but Nicholas read the copy at the end to credit that the show was a production of The Robert Essery Organization.
    • Lovely Assistant: The secondary co-hosts who only reviewed movies & albums, or provided the V&A Updates, though they were generally billed equally as part of the "V&A Crew." Nicholas Picholas started off here in season 1, doing the music reviews.
    • Studio Audience: 8 studio audience members on each episode were assigned to a contestant, and if they won their game, the audience member won a copy of that game.
  • Retired Game Show Element: Early seasons saw winning contestants spun around before pulling a ball for the bonus round, but they dropped that later on, possibly because the contestant was already blindfolded, so it wasn't really needed
  • Rules Spiel: Averted, as the games changed every episode, so new criteria for winning & breaking ties was given for each round. This trope was only maintained if a game repeated in a later week.
  • Undesirable Prize: Often occurred in the bonus round, where one random ball choice could be the difference between an action figure playset or passes to an educational museum. One could argue that the main round prizes were like this as well, especially if you didn't like the game you played, or own the console that the game you won was for.

This show provides examples of:

  • Alliterative Name: "Turbo Tips", where Nicholas gave gameplay tips to the home viewer for each of the games played during that episode's rounds.
  • Announcer Chatter: Sort of, as Nicholas Picholas and his primary co-host spent the entirety of each round explaining how to play the game rather than commentate the action or remark on who's winning. This worked as a device to help sell the game and explain the instructions to viewers, but it was atypical of the running commentary that might be expected for a game show based around video games.
  • Artifact Title: By later seasons, the "Top 10" countdown of top-selling video games was cut down to a "Top 3" countdown. Also, with contestants only playing games on home consoles or Game Boy converters, the only direct link to an "arcade" was the Armor Attack machine featured on set (which was never even turned on, let alone played.)
  • Ascended Extra: Nicholas Picholas was just the music review host in the first season. When Gordon left, he was promoted to hosting duties, and is far more recognized for his involvement with V&A Top 10 today.
  • Captain Obvious: Much of the copies read by the hosts during gameplay rounds featured plainly obvious facts and hints relating to the game, such as basic controls and general plot points. Also, the movie/music review segments' home viewer contests essentially amounted to listening to what the co-host says, than writing in what they said in the form of an answer. Even though these were geared to kids, the only skill required was paying attention for a few seconds.
  • Enforced Plug: Each show had numerous plugs of the address to send in contest entries, letters, postcards, and audience ticket requests. In the show's latter years, they also frequently plugged their now-defunct website,
  • Gamer Chick: Arguably most of the female co-hosts, who rarely came across as legitimate video game players (granted, some of the male co-hosts were like this as well.) Averted with the co-host who profiled new albums and VHS/DVD releases, as it didn't usually seem like a stretch for them to like pop music or family movies
  • Grand Finale: The last episode saw Nicholas invite all of the kids in the audience onto the set after the last round. Other than that, the show was essentially a normal episode, albeit with contest and studio audience ticket plugs removed.
  • Jingle: "It's letter time, it's letter time..."
  • Large-Ham Announcer: Nicholas Picholas arguably counts, as he always came across as overly enthusiastic and into the action, even when simply telling the home audience what buttons to press to execute moves in a video game. His radio background likely helps with that.
  • Licensed Game: Most of the games featured on air, especially in later seasons, were based on licensed properties from TV, movies, and toy lines.
  • Lighter and Softer: In a 2016 interview with Vice, Nicholas admitted that games featured in later seasons were intentionally E-rated, child-geared titles that were "less stabby", as new mainstream video games became more violent and the internet became more widespread.
  • Nonindicative Name: The movie & music review segments weren't actual reviews, as the featured CD & movie weren't actually reviewed or judged by the co-host (each was just briefly summed up or profiled before a preview clip was shown.) The same reality applies to the "V&A Update" segment, which profiled a video game in a similar fashion, rather than providing any sort of video game "update".
  • Product Placement: Tons of it. The game show format was essentially a clothes hanger to promote the video games and show sponsors and display their products (common non-video games ones included Medieval Times, Air Hogs, and Timex.) Certain episodes even had special additional prizes for the first place contestants, like KFC meals or Toronto Blue Jays prize packs.
  • Quietly Performing Sister Show: Clips, another Robert Essery Organization-produced kids game show that aired on YTV from 1993-1996. It featured similar prizes and home viewer contests as V&A (along with sharing some co-hosts from that era), but it's format was based around trivia questions culled from video clips.
  • Revolving Door Casting: Nicholas aside, V&A Top 10 swapped out co-hosts very frequently, with few lasting more than a couple of seasons.
  • Running Gag: Nicholas Picholas' name, which was always subtitled with "Is that his real name?" when introduced on camera. So what IS his real name? Nicholas Schimmelpennick.
  • Serious Business: The contestants often appeared to be all business when playing, but when you're concentrating on a video game you may have little experience with to try and win prizes, that may be a given. Contrast to the hosts, who were almost always overly cheerful and upbeat.
  • Stage Name: Nicholas Picholas, though averted with his co-hosts, who were all identified only by their first name.
  • The Show Must Go On: Even though the show was pre-taped and edited in post-production, you could occasionally hear a flub or mispronunciation from the hosts that was left in the final broadcast.
  • Status Quo Is God: Aside from the co-hosts, on-screen graphics, and newer games, very little changed about Video & Arcade Top 10 from season to season, and the set basically looked the same in 1991 as it did in 2006.
    • Even with upgrades to what games were played over time, V&A Top 10 episodes tended to feature games that weren't newly released at the time of filming, and it was common in later seasons for contestants to play games a few years old without trying to stay current to newer game releases. In fact, the last game played on air (X2: Wolverine's Revenge for the Game Boy Advance) came out in 2003.
  • Transatlantic Equivalent: Nick Arcade, which began taping in the fall of 1991, shortly after V&A debuted. While Nick Arcade was only on the air on Nickelodeon in the United States for two seasons (and didn't air in Canada at all), it was formatted more like a full game show, themed entirely around video games save for the trivia, and featured running commentary during video game play itself.