Well, I’m back.
I guess blogging is a bit like professional wrestling, you have the big retirement match and then come back a few months later as if nothing has happened. That is not to say I didn’t mean it when I wrote my swansong, at the time I really did, but time and tide have moved on and I feel like I can commit to putting my useless thoughts out to the masses once again.
Plus if I’m honest I missed it, and strangely it seems some of you did to.
So welcome once again to my blog. We have a new name but basically nothing else has changed. I’ll leave the highbrow, thought provoking stuff to the smart people and just concentrate on pointless entries like “Why Skeletor still rocks” and “Ultra Magnus is the most pointless Autobot ever”. Which all rather neatly leads me to this episode….
ONCE, THERE WERE COOL GAME-SHOWS:
When I was a wee lad, before Big Brother, Survivor and Extreme Horse Fishing*, TV gave us some rather cool game shows. Two of these were aimed at kids and one was run by Richard O’brien, I am of course talking about The Crystal Maze, Knightmare and The Adventure Game. And like the true manchild I am it is my memoirs of these shows that will make up this blog.
The Crystal Maze.
Nothing before it had ever been this ambitious and in my opinion nothing has come close to recreating how great this show was. Richard O’brien had a maze, divided into zones (Industrial, Aztec, Ocean, Medieval, Futuristic) and in its centre a giant Crystal dome. The idea was to earn time crystals by completing various games (physical, mental and mystery) which would then allow them a set amount of time in the dome at the end, where you could try and win amazing prizes.
The genius of the game however was two fold.
1. The challenges were insanly hard (or the contestant galactically dumb depending on the day) so they won very few time crystals.
2. Once in the dome a fan was turned on and you had to collect more gold tokens than silver, which was also insanely hard. All this y meant that very few people won nothing more than a crystal with there name on and a tacky 90’s shell suit.
O’brien was a natural to host this show, his not so subtle mocking of dumb contestants and constant talking to the camera meant that you actually routed for the people to fail, just so you could hear him mock them.
If you can find this program on You Tube (or Challenge if you have that channel) I urge you to check it out.
I blame this show for my love of fantasy books and films. In a nutshell a team of 11-16 year olds got to play real life Dungeons and Dragons, as a kid pre Internet and games consoles you can imagine how cool this was. You had one kid in a helmet walking around a part computer generated, part real world interacting with people and monsters Meanwhile his three friend would help him from the Dungeon Masters control room. Did I mention that the helmet made the kid blind, so his friends also had to give him directions on which way to walk and what to avoid. By today’s standards it looks very dated but again it was insanely hard and very few people ever completed it.
It is my one childhood regret that my friends and I never got round to submitting our entry form to go on this show. I doubt we would have got far, or even on the show but damn it we should have tried.
The Adventure Game:
Imagine if Douglas Adams wrote a game show. That, I think is the best way to sum up this program.** Basically this show was another one in the style of the two above but had Angry plants and shape-shifting Dragons. Only the BBC could come up with something like this and only in the UK could it have exisited. If the other two shows were hard this one was impossible, in fact I don’t think it was designed to be beaten. The fun was seeing TV stars bowing to a plant and trying to win Cheeseburgers to help them cross an impossible maze at the end of the show. You had to see it to belive it., and I urge you to do just that.
So there we have it, first entry done and dusted, hopefully you enjoyed it and as always see you next time.
*actually I’d watch that
** In fact he was asked to co write it but was busy with something called The Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy.