I have long been searching for footage of Video Power, a 90s game show focused on video games and the people who play them. All I could recall about the show was haunting images of little kids in kinky velcro suits, so it was somewhat difficult to Google without breaking the law. This morning I finally remembered the title and was able to dig up this YouTube clip. There’s a lot packed in there, but I’d like to call out a few items:
1. Everyone had ADHD in the 90s. You can easily tell the medicated (the contestants) from the unmedicated (the hosts). I was kind of worried that the guy in the powder blue blazer was going to talk so fast that he caught fire. Maybe we were just really, really excited about video games in 1991?
2. Pre-teens were kept in cages. Most visible at the 24 second mark. Again, something I remembered about the show but was afraid to Google.
3. Kids were really bad at shopping sprees. So you’re covered in velcro… and everything around you has a velcro backing on it… and you manage to walk away with five games? And one of them is Batman?! Here was my fantasy strategy when I was eight years old: knock over all the isle kiosks, then just roll around on the floor. I remember screaming at the TV when contestants would just grab three copies of Bayou Billy and that’s it.
4. Poor dude won a Neo Geo. He was probably pretty pumped until he went to Toys R Us the next morning and realized his parents would have to mortgage their house in order to afford a game for it.
5. “Write to me and tell me In five words or more why you should be a contestant.” I don’t think I’ve ever seen a minimum on things like this. I’m not really sure how this could be expressed in less than five words. “I am good at video games.” That’s six words right there. I wonder if these kids took the five word minimum to heart and grew up to write the brand of long, nerdy blog entries that are dismissed with tl;dr.
I miss niche shows like this, and game shows in general. Do game shows exist anymore, outside of Jeopardy and the Price is Right? Or have they all evolved into “reality challenges” like Survivor and Flavor of Love? At least Game Center CX is keeping the dream alive.