The '90s was a booming decade. There were excellent tunes on our stereos, and we wore the brightest fashions. Television was a bright landscape, and a cornerstone of that brightness was a resurgence in game shows.
Whether the family gathered to watch together, you watched while home sick from school, or you stayed up late to sneak in your favorite, game shows were front and center. Odds are you watched every week, completely convinced that if YOU had gone on the show, you'd have won the cash and prizes, which were usually a really cool Casio keyboard or a Swatch.
This Throwback Thursday, let's remember some of the game shows we dreamed of being a contestant on!
American Gladiators pitted regular athletic folk up against the greatest athletes in America, the “Gladiators.” Through a series of competitions, the average guys and gals did their best to beat the Gladiators and earn points that would take them to The Eliminator, the final round.
There was a big payday ($25,000 was a lot of money at the time,) for the the little guy if they beat the Gladiator. Watching from home, it looked easy, and we were all convinced that we could take down Nitro, Turbo, Ice, Laser, and Hawk. But truth be told, we probably would've failed miserably.
Legends of the Hidden Temple
Kirk Fogg hosted (with the help of Olmec, the giant rock head) this popular Nickelodeon game show where teams like the Silver Snakes, the Green Monkeys and the Blue Barracudas were all vying for a chance to win a run through Olmec's temple.
The teams first competed in obstacle course challenge over a moat, then moved on to the Steps of Knowledge, where they answered Olmec's history questions, all the while collecting half pendants of life which would save them from the extra-scary temple guards, as they swung on a ropes and put together a monkey, somehow trying to navigate that temple in just three minutes. Contestants almost never won the big prize, but they did walk away with a Nestle Quick Gift Pack or a Duncan Yo-Yo.
Think you can get Mikey to the goal? Nick Arcade was the dream for a video gamer in the '90s. Contestants answered video game trivia, faced off using systems they had at home, and competed to actually have the chance to play in a virtual reality game in the “Wizard's Challenge,” or Expert as it would change to in later seasons. With vacations on the line you never wanted to see GAME OVER pop up on your screen!
Marc Summers hosted this one, in which teams faced off in messy challenges, which sometimes included filling containers with gross liquids, or picking a giant slime-filled nose for prizes.
There were many iterations of Double Dare; Family Double Dare, Super Sloppy Double Dare, and Double Dare 2000, each one just as fun and gross as the original.
Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?
She sneaks around the world from Kiev to Carolina, and put the “mis” in misdemeanor when she stole the beans from Lima. On the educational PBS gameshow that remains a '90s nostalgia icon, Gumshoes faced off as the Chief, Lynne Thigpen, gave them clues about Carmen Sandiego's location.
Through a series of historical and geographical questions and challenges, the Gumshoes tried to capture the infamous lady in the red hat. The prizes were big for a Gumshoe who successfully put Carmen behind bars... a trip anywhere in the United States, and later, anywhere in North America.
Before Chris Hardwick built the Nerdist empire, he co-hosted the MTV game show that put 50 potential daters into categories based on, ahem, physical attributes, and the “Picker” chose what type of person they were looking for.
The next round, Keep 'Em or Dump 'Em, gave potential dates the chance to answer questions, in a Dating Game style. The final potentials left went on the The Final Cut, where they were asked a series of questions that enabled them to move forward or stay put. The contestant who made it to the Picker first won the date. If you were watching MTV in the '90s, you had a crush on Hardwick, Jenny McCarthy, or Carmen Electra, all of whom took turns hosting, and though you wanted the chance to play along, you really just wanted to date them!