Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Gameshows pt. 4: Parting Gifts

We all know what the winner gets in the end of most gameshows, cash and luxurious prizes galore. It's the main reason why we want to be on gameshows and why we watch. We like to see the spoils of their efforts and take part in such. But as far as the also-rans, well, they get stuck with parting gifts. An atta-boy for participating and some lesser prizes. Now it could be like they do in Jeopardy! now and give $2,000 for second place and $1,000 for third or even better like with Wheel of Fortune and The Price is Right and keep what you won. But alas most gameshows don't follow that principle. Now I don't know if it's something contributed to production costs of the show, if the producers are just a bunch of cheap bastards, or they're really strapped for sponsorship and would want to have something, anything, to promote. But for as long as they're competitive gameshows, nine times out of ten there will be parting gifts. And what a better way to end GAMESHOW MONTH than to close with what they try to shove off for their losers. So without further ado, here's to parting gifts and all the blandness and atta-boys that they bring to the show. 

Now a big thing with most gameshows back in the day were the board game version of their show. It seemed that everyone of them had the home version of the show. Yeah, like the one thing I want to do after losing on the actual show was to go play and lose the same game at home. They really tried to make it worth the effort and it worked as advertising for them away from the television. Some of more successful ones were of course Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!, but others try to make a valiant effort. Two of which that sticks out for me were Fun House and Double Dare. Of course if advertising to kids (which I was at the time), you're gonna win with just about anything. But man, were they such a letdown. I remember I was five and it was Christmas when I got Fun House as a present. I was thrilled because the show itself was a gameshow for kids and Fox Kids (when they did have stuff for kids back then) played the hell out of that show. It was kids, chaos, slime, and prizes galore; everything that would've make me have a shit-eating grin for days on end. This board game however, was the epitome of 180 degrees. It was cumbersome to setup, the pieces would easily break or get lost, the actual activities in the game sucked in comparison to the gameshow itself, the whole friggin thing was a waste of my parents money to buy me. At least Double Dare had Gak or whatever Nickelodeon called their slime. Don't get me wrong, it still sucked in comparison to the show and all the other gripes were just about the same for both games. Not a smooth translation of the show to cardboard and plastic. And it was that way for most gameshow adaptations. I think I remember playing Name That Tune the board game and it totally bombed unless you were big into the swing and big band era of the 40's and 50's. Not to mention trying to listen to someone trying to hum a song they have no idea how; or if they do their tempo and pitch are so off that it was basically a totally different song. Basically, gameshows-to-board games are a lose-lose combination. 

Now just as you thought that that was the pinnacle of vanity, they stepped into the digital era with videogames. I still have my copy of Jeopardy! for the NES and I pretty much played the hell out of that that I was the Ken Jennings of my console. But there are many more than just that for take home incarnations. I remember when your only choice for gameshow videogames were Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune (which were lame at best). As of the past decade or so it seems that every popular show had it's own game. Ranging from Price is Right to Millionaire to God knows what else. Hell, I got Don't Forget the Lyrics and The Price is Right app downloaded. It's just inevitable that they just seem to pop up in every medium. And I'm sure we all played a modified version of Jeopardy! in school for an interactive form of a study group. Or even when placing a bet with friends at one point someone might've used the term "Price is Right rules" to add a degree of not going over your wager. They just seem to be everywhere. The true parting gifts are that the fans take their favorite gameshow everywhere. 

But there were more than just the home game that were given to the losers. They received other useless crap like small appliances like phones, microwaves, or a lamp. Like they don't already have these. It's not even top of the line stuff too. It's stuff you might splurge on at Wal-Mart. Really, a damn cordless phone set for all my efforts trying?!? What really gets me is stuff they try to translate for monitory value like flowers once a month for a year or a $100 gift card for Home Depot or Applebee's. You can't buy me with power tools and tulips. It's just seems kinda cheap while others give out cash or their earnings the also-rans made in their efforts. All I want to know is that they should put more efforts in their parting gifts. Make it worth our while, at least $500 worth of stuff. Or hell, just cash. I don't need $1000 like Jeopardy! does now, $500 will work just fine. 

And that just about it for GAMESHOW MONTH. Normal ranting, randomness, and other bullshit will continue as normal next week. But as of now, I just want to leave you with one more tidbit, a parting gift for participating if you will. Because I'm such a Jeopardy! fanatic; next time you watch the Final Jeopardy! round, sing I'm a little tea pot with it. Yeah, who'd thunk that a moment of silence to write down an answer that could cost you thousands of dollars is related to a nursery rhyme. But for now, I'll think I'll stick with my Price is Right theme playing in my head... That, and Adam Sandler getting his ass handed to by Bob Barker...

BootLeG sampler.. signing out...

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