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The 5 Greatest Game Show Video Games

by Danny Gallagher, posted Dec 31st 2010 1:00PM
The Jeopardy home game for the Nintendo WiiIf you're one of the lucky few selected out of a crowd of giddy housewives and Spring Break college students to appear on a game show, you've got to be ready.

You've got to have your hand ready to strike every buzzer the moment the host stops reading the question.

You've got to know the suggested retail price of everything on the market from a 2010 Chevy Volt to a box of Low Sodium Rice-a-Roni.

You've got to know where those annoying Whammies or dragons are hiding. Hell, you've got to do better than just know. You've got to be able to smell them like a great white shark sniffing out a drop of blood from 500 yards away.

Fortunately, technology has allowed mankind to prepare for these unholy battles of knowledges, reflexes and luck with the game show video game. Of course, the market is flooded with remakes of your favorites, so we've picked out the best of the best for the shows that are still around if you're headed down Contestant's Row.

'Jeopardy!' for the Nintendo Wii
The world's longest running quiz show has had a video game incarnation on just about every gaming console and home computer during the show's run. That means it is one of the few titles in any genre that have had time to develop and ferment over time and only get better with age.

The game features up to three players just like the show as they buzz through different categories on everything from pop culture TV to 18th century opera characters. It also has the most advanced learning curve in the history of the title, from AI contestants that can be dumbed down or turned into geniuses for more experienced players. It also has lots of options for answering questions such as multiple choice, a three-letter answer input or a spoken version that lets players speak their answers through the "Wii Speak" peripheral. It's the closest you can get to the actual stage without becoming a contestant, either through the proper audition process or drugging a security guard on the Sony Studios lot and worming your way into the green room.

The original 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?' for PC and Mac
There have been many reincarnations of the popular ABC and syndicated game show since Regis Philbin became a household name for the umpteenth time.

Jellyvision, the interactive software development company behind the hilarious "You Don't Know Jack" quiz game series, developed this title when the show first became a ratings smash on ABC in the late '90s. It's one of the more interactive game show video games since Regis acts the same way he does on the show. He chums it up with the contestant when he chooses a lifeline. He only utters his catch phrase "Final answer?" when the stakes are particularly high or the tension is at extremely palpable levels. He even yells at the player if they don't enter their name fast enough at the sign-in screen. It's not just a great way to test your level of knowledge and deduction, but it's also a great way to prepare for the banter you'll have to endure with the host if you're ever on the show.

'Press Your Luck' for the Nintendo Wii
This game show gem hasn't been around since the late 1980s, but its legacy and popularity has endured long enough to not only earn a lukewarm Game Show Network remake but also its own video game.

The AI on this title is a little weak during the question round since the game seems to randomly choose answers to really easy questions. This gives often gives you an unfair advantage in terms of spins, so it's a lot better when you have actual humans playing with you.

And when the meat of the game really gets going, the true fun begins. The Wii's motion control acts as the player's buzzer to stop the spinning game board on a prize, money or the dreaded Whammy. When you do land on one of those annoying fuzzballs, the game plays one of a hundred funny animations of the Whammy taking your money, the same way the original game show did all those years ago. It's a great way to relieve the game shows of yesterday or show your younger friends just how annoying those little money-grubbing Madoffs can really be. Stock up on extra controllers because you're bound to break a few out of sheer frustration.

'The Cube' for the iPhone
This little bit of physical challenge madness from our friends on the other side of the pond hasn't made it to American TVs yet, even though Neil Patrick Harris served as host in the pilot for the CBS remake. When it does, you'll want to be ready.

The concept of the show is basically 'Double Dare' meets 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?' without the Sundae Slide or the annoying host getting in your face for not choosing an answer fast enough. Contestants must complete a series of seemingly simple challenges such as flicking a small ball into a box or counting squares on a digitized floor and the farther they get through the challenges without running out of lives, the more money they make.

The iPhone is the perfect vehicle for this game since almost the entire experience takes place in the first person. You are trapped in "The Cube" and complete the challenges using the touch screen in almost the same way you would if you were in that giant, cold, glass box. It even feature the omnioous, uncaring voice of "The Cube" as he counts down your lives to your ultimate "elimination." It'll make you wish CBS would pick up the show already or that you had a pirate satellite feed to British television.

'1 vs. 100' on XBox Live
One of the most annoying aspects of playing a game show video game are the opponents the computer provides for you. They are either so smart that it feels like you are really competing against a computer or so dumb that it's a wonder how they ever got through the audition application without misspelling their name.

The XBox 360 attempted to replicate that dilemna by pitting actual humans against each other in an online game version of the game show '1 vs. 100.' Players could either compete as a member in the audience waiting for their turn to be picked for the actual game, the mob or the lucky one going for the big cheese.

Sadly, Microsoft cancelled the game over the summer after a two season run but it could pave the way for bigger and better online game shows in which humans try to destroy each other for cash and/or prizes. We've got to prepare for the eventual war between humans and their computers somehow and maybe owning them at general knowledge game shows will keep them rising against us.

Tell us: What's your favorite game show video game?

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Richard Ott

By the way, you mentioned "Contestants' Row",
yet you couldn't put The Price Is Right on this list?
It had 2 video game editions released. Whoever put
this list together, must not like Drew Carey hosting
the show, but I give him credit for including Press
Your Luck as one of the 5 Game Show Games.

December 31 2010 at 5:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Richard Ott

Poor Carrie Anne, she couldn't even give away
the top dollor value of $50,000 on her version of
1 vs. 100, and now the video game version of it got
cancelled. Better luck next year, GSN, if that show
gets renewed for a 2'nd season.

December 31 2010 at 5:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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