There were times in my childhood where I was unable to make it to the local arcade or the local corner store just to play a game for a couple minutes. There were even times when I couldn’t make it down the street to play pinball at one of houses of a friend of my parents. And sometimes, I just didn’t feel like I wanted to play the Atari. But I was still wanting that outlet of exposure of video games.
So, time to turn on the tv to see what is on. I don’t remember what channel it was on, and I don’t remember what time it was on either. It might have been part of the Saturday morning cartoon lineup. You know, the good one with Bugs Bunny, Popeye, Dragon’s Lair, Pacman, Q-Bert and don’t forget the Smurfs or Snorks. But by accident, I came across a show called Starcade. And it was awesome for a kid in the 80’s. Out of all of the game shows out there, before Nickelodeon came into play, there really wasn’t anything out there for the younger generation to watch or even be lucky enough to get on the show.
A thirty minute game show with two players that answer video game trivia to see who plays the games first. Each player would get a certain time limit to try to get the highest score possible. After the second round, the player with the highest score got to play the video wall where he/she had to identify what the game was on the screen. At the end of the game, the player with the highest score got to play the bonus round where he/she had to get a certain score based on an average of a group of players to win the grand prize. Most of the time, the main prize was either a high tech robot or an actual video game. That was the coolest part..
What was fun, was to see not only the kids go up against the adults and win, but to see the “team” episodes where the parents had to play and they had no freaking clue how to play Buck Rogers or Zaxxon. But I of course was always jealous, and really wanted to be on the show. So when I went to the arcade, I was thinking that I was on the show. Of course I always beat the scores. I just wished I asked my parents to try to get me on the show. I would have rocked it!
The show went through a total of two hosts during the 73 show run. First was Mark Richards from 1982-1983. Then Geoff Edwards from 1983-1984. It was sad because it seems like sometimes Edwards would talk down to the contestants. But the real comedy was watching him try to explain some of the hints of the games as well as saying Galaga. Each time he changes it and pronounces it with a ja or ya.
Why is this memory even here? Why am I even talking about it? A few years back, there was a channel through Direct TV called G4. It was the best channel for your outlet on anything tech and video game. I really wish they would bring it back. But there were a few weekends where they would do a one to two day marathon over the weekend.
But now, because of the internet, we have some of the greatest moments in history preserved in cyberspace. And for that I am grateful. Someone in one of my Facebook groups put a link to 6 hours of the show in there. After yesterday, I was able to finish all of the episodes. They even had a episode dedicated to nothing but Cliff Hanger, one of the many great laser disc games of the 80’s. But how they handled the episode was pretty lame. But I believe the reason they did that was to celebrate the technology of the game.
As of now, there are rumors that someone wants to re-launch the show. With all, and I do mean all of the retro machines that are out there, it wouldn’t be a problem re-creating it. And I am sure someone could build a “prize” of a certain game or multicade. I mean come on, nowadays you can create an entire machine with a chip/computer the size of your hand. Man I love technology today!!!! But I still miss the outlets of the good old days. It gave me a reason to go to the mall, sneak into the arcade and…….
Keep Calm and Insert Coin