With all this talk about YouTube becoming more popular, or even taking over, mainstream TV, it makes you wonder about future of television. Some say that TV will continue to entertain viewers for a long while now. Others proclaim that we’ll be throwing away our flatscreens within the next decade. Regardless of which side of your fence you’re on, the Internet is still in its youth. It has a long way to go before it ends up replacing every aspect of televised media.
For example, what about game shows? Has the Internet produced any meaningful answers to the likes of Jeopardy! or Who Wants to be a Millionaire? It may seem like a weird question, but many game shows are quite popular, and are able to easily rake in millions of viewers every night. But they are doubtlessly expensive to produce–on top of the costs of maintaining a studio and equipment day after day, you need to have money left over for cash prizes–0therwise, you’d never have any guests! But it’ll be a long time before any corporation, let alone YouTube, will be able to acquire the funding to produce a proper game show.
Or will it? Despite obvious budget constraints, several YouTubers have produced game shows for your enjoyment.
The Game Station Trivia Show
For those who don’t know or don’t remember, The Game Station was a YouTube channel that later turned into the Polaris network. It featured a news show, a podcast, among other shows, many of which have since moved to Polaris’ channel. One show that found itself on the cutting room floor, however, was the Trivia Show, which is a shame too, because it was fairly entertaining.
The Trivia Show actually had two incarnations. The first one–which lasted nine episodes–brought on guests (who were always well-known YouTubers) to compete in a Jeopardy!-style game. Naturally, all of the questions were about video games, what with it being hosted on The Game Station. After the pivotal first round, players had compete with a mysterious, hooded man in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, who had to last as long as they could against him while answering more trivia questions.
Two episodes of the Trivia Show, however, didn’t follow this format–instead, they were “Interactive” episodes, where the viewer was the one to answer the question. Players would answer multiple-choice questions and chose your answers via annotations that either took you to the next question or a death screen. The death screens were sort of a reward in and of themselves, since they treated the viewer to a death scene from a video game or movie.
After the ninth episode of the Trivia Show, though, all of the episodes became “Interactive episodes.” Each episode had a different host and centered around a particular video game or franchise. In this second incarnation of the show, players could select easy, medium and hard difficulties.
Although the Trivia Show died with the Game Station, everything they’ve put up is still available on YouTube. Go, before they take annotations down, and they become unplayable!
Marc Apsolon, a now inactive YouTuber, was fairly well-known for making videos containing allegedly authentic ghost footage. It must have been strange for his subscribers when they saw a trivia show pop up in their feed.
I’m not sure what Apsolon is like in his other videos, but to call him a ham here is an absolute understatement. He tries to be very energetic and peppy, but can come off as a bit overbearing.
Despite that, the show itself is actually pretty okay. Much like the TGS Trivia Show I mentioned, Wiz-Fiz-Quiz is interactive and the questions are multiple choice. The only difference is that the last answer is always a jokey one, making it a little easier.
The first episode was YouTube themed, while the second one was all about St. Patrick’s Day. I did pretty well on the first one, but did so godawful on the second one that I gave up partway through.
I do have to give the guy credit–as he advertised, this was (as far as I could tell) the first time anyone tried anything like this. It probably took a lot of effort, and he risked alienating some of his subscribers. Go check it out if you want to see some YouTube history.
SciShow’s Quiz Show
Unimaginative name aside, this is probably the best game show that YouTube has to offer. Host Michael Atanda asks science-related questions to two contestants (one of whom is always Hank Green for some reason) and whoever gets the most correct answers wins the game. I know, not a very original concept, but there’s a few things that make it stand out from the other game shows we’ve seen on this list.
First is the feel of the show. The Quiz Show has such a refreshingly casual atmosphere. You can tell that the hosts and the contestants are all just friends who are just there to have a good time. Compare this with nearly any other game show–or any reality show, for that matter–where the goal is to see the contestants sweat and panic to the point where they make frustratingly stupid decisions sometimes. It’s clear that SciShow isn’t trying to sensationalize anything for views–it’s merely trying to educate its viewers.
After revealing whether the contestant was right or not about a question, the show explains the answer to the audience. For example, in one episode, one of the questions was “All sharks need to keep swimming on order to breathe: True or false?” After the contestant answered, there was a cutaway to the host in a green room, explaining that many sharks can apparently breathe by opening and closing their mouths while they sleep. The Quiz Show is filled with little factoids like that, which makes it a pretty enriching experience.
As far as I can tell, the show is on hiatus since they haven’t uploaded since October 2015. Here’s hoping they make a comeback in the near future!
The Strike-Out Game Show!
Considering all of these other entries on the list, it’s important to mention that not all game shows have to be trivia based. Sure, you have shows like Who Wants to be a Millionaire and Jeopardy!, but there are also games that require the contestants to perform challenges, like Fear Factor or Ninja Warrior.
Although The Strike-Out Game Show! doesn’t make its contestants perform any grueling physical tasks, it’s an interesting show nonetheless. It features contestants having to complete various Minecraft challenges. One player is eliminated every episode until only one remains.
Admittedly, I’ve never played Minecraft a day in my life, so I can’t say for sure how impressive or awe-inspiring these challenges are, but it’s got a lot going for it. Due to the fact that it’s inexpensive to produce since it’s filmed in cyberspace rather than on location, the show can be consistently updated. In fact, the series has been going pretty strong for around, and is now in its sixth season, effectively making it one of the longest running game shows in YouTube history.
The only bad thing I have to say about it is that the none of the contestants get their own time in the spotlight. We don’t get to see what kind of people the contestants are are behind the scenes, making it hard for me to get invested and root for some one. Still, it’s a neat show that could prove interesting to Minecraft fans. You can check it out here.
The Experts Game Show
The Experts Game Show was a weekly series that featured people who were extremely knowledgeable about a TV show or subject matter. All of the questions were tailor-made for the contestants in mind, which was pretty cool. It was filmed on location in Las Vegas, and featured average Joes and Janes as contestants.
Not much else to say about this one. It was alright, but it’s only interesting if the viewer is knowledgable about one of the subjects in question (which is probably why the episode with Game of Thrones trivia is among the most popular).
The show lasted for 34 episodes, then mysteriously vanished. It was just gone. There was no news of the show’s cancellation on any of the social media pages or anything… production just ceased. It was probably just because the show wasn’t doing as well as anticipated and couldn’t cover the costs of production. Despite that, the channel is still around, and you can still see all of the episodes here on YouTube.