The Ben Heck Show is a web series hosted by legendary console modder and ascended pinball fanboy Benjamin Heckendorn, better known on the web as Ben Heck. Sponsored by Element14, most episodes of the show takes place in Ben's workshop, where he attempts to solve day to day problems by building contraptions to do it for him, if he's not showing off his legendary console modding skills or imparting knowledge on topics revolving around electronics.
The show started in 2010. New episodes of the series appear every Friday afternoon on Youtube. They can be seen here, except for a few exclusives which can only be reached from the Element14 website.
In February 2018, Ben announced that the show is finally coming to an end in Mid-2018, with a contest now in place by Element14 and overseen by Ben to find Ben's successor and start a new show, as Ben wishes to pursue video directing as a career. Matthew Eargle was announced the winner, and the channel was shortly after renamed to a more generic Element 14 Showcase. The last Ben Heck Show episode was released on the channel on 20th July, 2018.
Ben's own personal YouTube channel, on the other hand, can be reached here, and is usually his vLog and soapbox, but bonus materials meant for the show and outtakes also ends up there from time to time, along with short films of his own creation. With his web show ended, Ben is starting to put more effort into his personal channel, which now sees content much more frequently than when he was filming The Ben Heck Show (and to prove that he's still as capable as ever, he even rebuilt a Neo Geo Mini into a handheld, and detailed the build on said personal channel).
The Ben Heck Show contains the following tropes:
- Aborted Arc: Quite a number of multi-part episodes were aborted throughout the show's run (usually when Reality Ensues and Ben realizes that the project is actually undoable or infeasible). For example, episodes centering around the designing of the America's Most Haunted machine prototype, pretty much only ran until the first half of the design stage of the machinenote , and the "GameBrain" modular console project has also become this.
- Lampshaded in the 2015 Halloween episode, where the "Ghost of Unfinished Projects" appears and haunts the workshop in the prologue.
- Artistic Title: For the final episode, Ben created The Ballet of Pie Face which pokes fun at Bond openings.
- Ascended Fanboy: Ben is one of the rare fan of both arcade machines and pinball machines. He eventually gets to design and build the world's first indie-made Pinball machine- Bill Paxton Pinball. Even later, he gets roped in to design America's Most Haunted, another indie machine in the sense that there's a limited run of 1000 units.
- Bad Bad Acting: The prologue of every episode consists fully of this to get the viewers warmed up. Lampshaded in the opening sequence that shows right after the prologue.Announcer: ... And regrettable acting
- Bedsheet Ghost: The Ghost of Unfinished Projects (and as an added bonus, is styled to look like the ghost from America's Most Haunted Pinball).
- Edutainment Show: Cannot be denied that the show is this. Every episode has Ben teaching the viewers how to build or mod something, or imparting knowledge on topics around electronics.
- Halloween Episode: There's one every year. But notably, the 2011 episode served as the thinly-veiled spinoff pilot for America's Most Haunted Pinball.
- Large Ham: One of the things that makes the show entertaining is Ben's hammy acting and random hammy quips.
- Recap Episode: Several episodes with the title Rewind and Recap revisit old failed projects to see what went wrong or if it can be improved.
- Spin-Off: The 2011 Halloween episode Ghost Hunting with Ben Heck! itself is the basis of America's Most Haunted Pinball.
- Unsound Effect: Part 2 of The Roomba Nerf Dart collector arc has Ben and Felix firing Nerf guns in the prologue- with the word "SHOOTING!" flashing on the screen every time a Nerf dart is fired.
- Waxing Lyrical: In the 2015 Halloween episode, Ben quotes word-for-word the ending rap/speech of Michael Jackson's Thriller.