|Neils Schuurmans (Pilot)|
Phil Moore (Series)
|Fran Gauchi (Pilot)|
Andrea Lively (Series)
(Reruns until 9/28/1997, then reran on Nick GAS from 1999-2007)
Nickelodeon Arcade (most commonly known as Nick Arcade) is an American game show created by James Bethea and Karim Miteff and hosted by Phil Moore, with Andrea Lively announcing, that aired on Nickelodeon in 1992. The first-season shows were taped in December 1991 and aired in early 1992, airing originally during weekend afternoons.
It was taped at Nickelodeon Studios at Universal Studios Florida in Orlando, Florida. The show was the first in America to regularly intermix live action with animation using a bluescreen; Knightmare was the first show worldwide. Two teams of contestants (the first team played red, and the second team played yellow; in the pilot, it was blue against red) played two initial rounds, with the winner advancing to play against the "Video Game Wizard" of the day. All of the custom games used on Nick Arcade were implemented on Amiga computers.
- 1 Gameplay
- 2 Celebrity Specials
- 3 Prizes
- 4 Set Pictures
- 5 Spanish Version
- 6 Trivia
- 7 In Popular Culture
- 8 Rating
- 9 Music
- 10 Inventors
- 11 Additional Pages
- 12 References
- 13 External links
Each round would start with one player from each team playing a video game for 30 seconds. The games here were designed specifically for the show and are listed below.
|Meteoroids||This was a space shooter game where players moved crosshairs trying to zap the most flying targets, which included asteroids and ships. The player with the higher score won.|
|Laser Surgeon||This was the same shooter-type game as Meteoroids, but with an inside-the-body theme.|
|Brainstorm||In this game, players tried to defend a brain's neurons from an electrical impulse that ricocheted from side-to-side (comparable to a sped-up Pong). The team whose side took the fewest hits won.|
|Battle of the Bands||This was the same dodge-game as Brainstorm, but with an on-stage concert theme using speakers and a sound wave bouncing from side to side.|
|Star Defenders||This was the same dodge-game as Brainstorm, but with players protecting their spaceships from a comet.|
|Post-Haste||This was a side-scroller race-type game where players controlled a mailman trying to dodge obstacles (thus, inspired by Paperboy). The winner was the player whose mailman moved the farthest. This game only appeared in Season 2.|
|Jet Jocks||This was the same side-scrolling game as Post-Haste, but with players controlling jet skiers avoiding obstacles along a river. This game only appeared in Season 2.|
|Crater Rangers||This was the same side-scrolling game as Post-Haste, but players controlled ATVs, avoiding obstacles on the moon. This game only appeared in Season 2.|
These custom Face-Off games were developed by Bethea/Miteff Productions in conjunction with Saddleback/Live Studios and Psygnosis.
The winner of the face-off scored points (25 in Round 1, and 50 in Round 2) for their team, and received control of the show's cartoon mascot, "Mikey the Video Adventurer". If the face-off ended in a tie, a video game-based toss-up question was asked.
In the main rounds, Mikey would be navigated over a thematic game-board by the teams. The game-board was divided into 18 squares, and Mikey was moved around the board in every direction (except diagonally) toward a "Goal" space on the board. When new squares were landed on, various events would be uncovered, including trivia quizzes, video-based puzzles, bonus instant-win prizes, automatic point-adding squares, enemies and "Video Challenges." The latter involved one player of the team playing one of five video games in an attempt to beat a certain score or accomplish a certain objective within 30 seconds. Regardless of the outcome, both teams kept any prizes won during the first two rounds of the game.
The following home systems were used in the Video Challenge:
- Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
- Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES)
- Sega Genesis
- NEC TurboGrafx-16
- SNK Neo-Geo AES
The object was to get Mikey to the Goal, as discussed above. More often than not, the round would end prematurely due to time constraints. In such cases, Mikey was moved directly to the goal, and a question was asked; the first team to buzz in with the correct answer received the "Goal" points. Round 2 was played the same way, but with point values doubled.
Mikey's World had 11 different areas of exploration. These areas included the following:
|Pirate's Cove||An old-fashioned port area including a skull-shaped island.|
|Cape Cosmos||A space center that transported Mikey into outer space, where his adventures began for the players.|
|Camelittle||A medieval-themed area where knights, princesses and dragons roamed and fantasy came alive.|
|Specific Ocean||An underwater exploration area where the denizens of the deep abound.|
|Forgotten Desert||An Egyptian-style area that harbored mystery and intrigue.|
|Slurpy Gulch||A traditional lawless Wild West town with a southwestern feel.|
|Volcano Jungle||A rainforest jungle with a live volcano and a village nearby.|
|Creepyville||A haunted mansion near a spooky swamp.|
|Mikey's Neighborhood||A normal suburban neighborhood, home to Mikey as well as a bully nicknamed "Game Over" (more info about him can be found in the enemies section).|
|WeGot'Em Mall||A shopping center near Mikey's neighborhood.|
|Time Portal||A vortex that Mikey traveled through, visiting his neighborhood both in the past and the future.|
There were eight different types of spaces Mikey could land on:
- The Four Ps (Points, Puzzles, Pop Quizzes, and Prizes) – Note that all point values listed below were doubled in the second round.
- Points – The team that moved Mikey was automatically awarded 25 points and kept control.
- Video Puzzle – Different puzzles were played. The team that solved the puzzle received 25 points and control of Mikey. Video puzzles included the following:
- Video Repairman – Identifying the artist in a music video with a scrambled picture.
- What Was That? – A video of an object being destroyed was rewound, and the objective was to identify it.
- Credit Crawl – Credits appeared identifying a person, place, or thing, and the object was to identify it.
- Fast Forward – A sped-up video clip was shown, and the object was to predict the outcome beforehand. Season 1 teams were given three possible answers, with each team using a Magna Doodle (yellow for the yellow team, red for the red team) to write the answer they thought was correct. In Season 2, this puzzle was played in a manner similar to The Price is Right. Each team used their Magna Doodle to predict how much of a certain activity could be accomplished, within a set time limit, by the person in the video. The team that came the closest without going over received the points and control of Mikey. If the teams were tied in prediction, they both scored the points, but the team that moved Mikey last would get control.
- Robot Vision – A thermographic video clip depicting an activity.
- Hyper Channels – A montage of original TV-style clips identifying a celebrity.
- Video Text – Season 2 only. A basic rebus puzzle, usually forming a phrase.
- Flash Frame – A montage of images was flashed rapidly, and the object was to recall three of the five themed objects.
- Hidden Camera – Season 2 only. A miniature video camera was placed somewhere, such as in a trash can or a grocery bag, and the object was to guess the camera's location.
- Instant Replay – Season 1 only. Contestants were shown a short video on the monitor, and when it ended, they were asked a question about what they had seen in the video. The team that correctly answered would get the points and control.
- Split Screen – Images of an activity being performed, initially arranged in a "matrix" of very small tiled images on the monitor, were shown to the players. The pictures would gradually become larger, and the first team to correctly identify the activity would get the points and control.
- Mixed Signals – Season 2 only. Video images of one activity would be presented onscreen, while the audio of another activity would be played simultaneously. The object was to identify the latter activity.
- Pop Quiz – A question was asked relating to the area Mikey was traveling. The teams could buzz-in during the middle of the question. If a team guessed correctly, they received 25 points and control of Mikey. (In early episodes, the team in control of Mikey would choose one of four categories.)
- Prize – The team that moved Mikey won a prize and kept control. Any prize the team received was theirs to keep, regardless of the game's outcome.
- Video Challenge – One of the contestants from a team chose one of five video games on stage to play. The goal was to meet or beat the "Wizard's Challenge" (renamed "Expert's Challenge" in Season 2), which was usually to achieve a certain score within 30 seconds for the game chosen. The other team member then had three seconds (although it usually was not enforced) to write, using a Magna-Doodle, how much of their score they would wager that the partner could complete the challenge. If the player could meet or beat the challenge, the wager was added to their score, and the team kept control of Mikey. If not, they lost the wager and the other team gained control. Teams could wager any amount from zero to their current score or the value of one question in that round if the team had less (similar to the "Daily Double" on Jeopardy!). In the event the other team member wagered more points than their current score, the wager was rounded down to their current score, but only if the challenge was won. Each game could be played only once during an episode, and when it was chosen, the marquee light was turned off (though the game continued to run in attract mode).
For obvious reasons, only games with constantly visible on-screen score displays were used. In a manner similar to Starcade, a telestrator box was placed around the score display, to make it "stand out" to the home audience.
Each mock-up arcade cabinet actually had two systems inside, each powered on and playing the same game: One had the game running in its "attract" mode, and the other was cued up to and paused at the point where the producers wanted the game to begin. When a contestant chose a game, the input was simply switched onto the monitor (this action was edited out). With rare exception, the consoles' stock controllers were used for gameplay.
- Enemy – An animated enemy, which changed with the setting of the game board, "attacked" Mikey, and the team that moved Mikey and was run over by an enemy would lose control to the opposing team. The Enemies included the following:
- Game Over, the town bully in "Mikey's Neighborhood" who would yell, "Hold it right there, bean brain!" and hit Mikey in the face with a cream pie. He also appeared in the "WeGot'Em Mall", the "Time Portal", and on the beach in the "Specific Ocean".
- Silly the Kid – An outlaw from Slurpy Gulch, who was a spoof of Billy the Kid as a baby armed with baby-bottle pistols. After saying, "Dance, partner!", he would lose his balance and fall from the shooting.
- A Witch Doctor in the Volcano Jungle, who would blow up a voodoo doll of Mikey and then let it fly off and deflate.
- Giant Smooch Aliens – Two creatures with pigtail wigs and big lips, found in Cape Cosmos, who would surround Mikey, kissing him until he became dizzy and powerless.
- A Fire-Breathing Dragon in the medieval realm Camelittle, who would burn Mikey by breathing fire on his shorts, causing him to fly off-screen with a yelp and only leave behind his shoes.
- A Ghost who would scare Mikey away in Creepyville.
- A Djinni (Genie) in the Forgotten Desert who would cast a spell on Mikey, turning him into a chicken by yelling "ALAKAZAM!" and laughing. (NOTE: He reappeared in the Enchanted Flight stage of the Video Zone in Season 2, casting lightning bolts on the player.)
- A Hammerhead Shark, found in the Specific Ocean, who would flatten Mikey with his hammerhead, turning him into a coin with his face on it. He also appeared in the underwater areas of "Pirate's Cove".
- Blackboard the Pirate – A spoof of Blackbeard as a pirate shaped like a chalkboard, and found in "Pirate's Cove", who would attack Mikey with a ruler sword while yelling, "Walk the plank, ye scallywag!".
NOTE: Blackboard the Pirate, Silly the Kid, and Game Over the Bully actually faced the screen, thus showing their attacks from Mikey's perspective.
- Time Bomb – In the rare occurrence that Mikey moved to a space that had already been landed on, a "Time Bomb" would occur. The team controlling Mikey had 10 seconds to spell a word, alternating letters back and forth between team members. If a team correctly "pong-spelled" a word, they kept control; otherwise, the other team would gain control. Regardless of the outcome, no points were awarded. The "Time Bomb" occurred only on a couple of occasions (one episode had at least two uses of the "Time Bomb"). In an attempt to prevent this event from occurring, host Moore would dissuade teams from choosing to move to a square that had already been occupied, or simply tell the team that they could not make that move.
- Goal – The Goal worked in two ways. If the team that moved Mikey moved him to the Goal, they alone were asked a question based on a category their opponents chose from a list of four (three in Season 2). A correct answer earned 50 points and the Goal for that round. If they answered incorrectly, the opponents got ½ the points (25) and the Goal by default. If time ran out before Mikey reached the goal, a sudden-death Pop Quiz question was asked for 50 points. Usually, because of time constraints, the Goal was not reached by teams on many occasions, and so the sudden-death situation was played frequently.
The team with the most points at the end of the two rounds won the game. If the game ended in a tie, a 100-point tiebreaker question was asked. The winning team advanced to the Video Zone.
Bonus Round: The Video Zone
The Video Zone was a live-action video game with three levels. Using a video monitor to see themselves, the contestants would be backstage, climbing ladders, throwing "snowballs", and using a boat in front of a bluescreen attempting to achieve previously explained goals (which was always to obtain three objects) for each level of the game.
As in a traditional video game, players could be "damaged" by hazards and enemy characters. If they lost all power (five units, as shown by an on-screen gauge), the screen would fade to grey, and they would have to start the stage over and repeat its objectives until successful (two Season 1 episodes showed a message that read "Try again. Press START to continue."). In addition, each level contained a 'power-up' that appeared periodically and, when touched, gave the player an added advantage in that level (destroying all onscreen enemies, freezing enemies for 5 seconds (rendering them harmless), restoring the team's power meter to maximum, etc).
The team had 60 seconds to clear all three levels (Moore simply referred to it as one minute, although the on-screen clock in the top-right of the screen displayed 60 seconds) Each item touched awarded the team $50 to split, and each level cleared won a prize of increasing value. If the team successfully beat the Game Wizard in the final level, they won the grand prize (usually a vacation). If time ran out before the team completed the game, a "laugh"-like sound played, the screen faded to red, and the words "GAME OVER" appeared on the screen.
- Jungle Fever – A jungle setting where the player climbed palm trees to obtain three bunches of bananas at the top while avoiding coconut-throwing monkeys, as well as toucans, piranhas (seen once the player was above the waterfall) and snakes. The player could go behind the waterfall, or touch a golden monkey idol to cause a rope to appear to help cross the waterfall safely.
- Alien Moonbase – An intergalactic mechanical building where the player had to turn off three anti-matter reactors, while trying to avoid steam vents and attacking robots (one resembled a spider, and the other would shoot lasers while hovering). Touching the main computer would immobilize all enemies and hazards, rendering them harmless for five seconds, and would also activate a "light bridge", which made the reactors easier to reach.
- Ancient Tomb – A Mayan temple where the player had to grab three coins on both levels while trying to avoid bats, a statue's hammer, arrows shot from the ground, fireballs, and a mummy. Touching a beam of sunlight eradicated all enemies and unlocked all doors, revealing the hidden coins. (This level only appeared in Season 1.)
Season 2 only
- Monsters on the Loose – A city besieged by alien UFOs, where now the giant player had to rescue three humans from being abducted by the UFOs, while avoiding monsters that included a giant laser-firing eyeball, a slimy earth-burrowing creature, and a monstrous cockroach. Touching a power rod released cosmic radiation, clearing the screen of all enemies and thus leaving the player unhindered for a few seconds.
- Haunted Museum – A haunted mansion scene, where the player was required to pick up three statue busts hidden inside moving bookcases, while avoiding monsters that included a gargoyle, grasping tentacles, a vampire, and the "Hand of Doom". Pulling back a curtain bathed the room in sunlight, destroying all enemies and thus leaving the player unhindered for a few seconds.
- Runaway Rail Car – The player traveled on a railway car through a Wild West town and abandoned mines; he or she had to obtain three coins while avoiding vultures, hanging timbers, cacti, tumbleweeds and rats. If the player touched a green "luck stone", he or she regained full power. (This level only appeared in Season 1.)
- Nile River Raft – The player, floating on a fast-moving Egyptian river with a wooden raft, had to grab three gems while avoiding flies, alligators, rats, vultures and a mummy. Touching the legendary "Eye of the Pharaoh" diamond restored full power.
- Mine Maze – A Mayan room gauntlet where the player had to collect three coins while dodging fireballs, spears, and electrified floor tiles. If the player touched a "Power" tile, he or she was granted immunity to all damage for a few seconds.
- Cliffhanger – Taking place on a cliff with a network of caves, the player had to clear the cave openings to find three coins while avoiding rock slides, snakes, vultures and giant lizards. Touching a TNT device blasted open the cave openings, thus revealing all the coins.
- Food Frenzy – A school lunch room setting where a food fight was taking place. The player had to grab three multi-colored textbooks scattered on the floor, while avoiding flying food and the gym coach. Opening a locker with stinky gym shoes stopped the chaos for five seconds.
Season 2 only
- Sub Search – An ocean scene with the player in a waverunner; the player had to collect three treasure chests while avoiding dangers such as sharks, eels, giant lobsters, explosive mines and squids. Touching a solar fuel cell, however, restored all power.
- Enchanted Flight – A magic carpet scene, where the player had to grab three magic rings while avoiding swordsmen, gate traps, cobras, a royal guard, a baby dragon, guard dogs, and a genie that shot lightning bolts (the same Djinni from the Forgotten Desert in Mikey's World). Touching a magic lamp restored the player's health.
- Snow Slingers – An arctic scene where the player had to hit three elves with snowballs while dodging those of the elves. The player also had to avoid hitting skiing foxes, and an ice-skating polar bear. Hitting a snowman made it play a song that forced the elves to stop attacking and dance in place for five seconds, making them much easier to hit.
Level 3: The Wizard Level
Both players, sharing one energy gauge, teamed up for this last level, which was a face-off against one of three villains that rotated throughout the show's run: Merlock a Gandalf-esque evil wizard who shot lightning balls; Scorchia a very attractive and unbearably beautiful fireball-throwing sorceress; and Mongo, a spiked armor-clad troll who tossed balls of energy. To defeat them, the players had to touch three floating blue orbs before time expired, while trying to avoid contact with the Game Wizard and the projectiles he/she was throwing, the ghostly creatures flying around the room, and the beams of lightning, fire, or energy (depending on who the Wizard was) that erupted from the ground. If either player touched a spinning hourglass that randomly appeared, all enemies and hazards would be immobilized and rendered harmless for five seconds, during which time the players could not be damaged.
Upon the Wizard's defeat (if the players succeeded), depending on who the players faced, Merlock would disintegrate into a pile of dust, Scorchia's body would burn to ashes and blow away, and Mongo would vanish in a flash of light, leaving only his armor behind. The message "You did it! You beat the game." would then appear on-screen.
In the second and final season, the appearances of the Wizards' rooms were retooled after having the same look, but the premise was the same as before.
On three occasions during the second and final season, the casts of Welcome Freshman, Salute Your Shorts, and Clarissa Explains It All competed in celebrity specials. Winning the frontgame earned cash for charity, and clearing the endgame won bigger cash for charity. On the Salute Your Shorts episode, regardless of who won, each team earned $250 for the front game, while winning the endgame earned $500. On the Welcome Freshman & Clarissa Explains It All episodes, regardless of who won, each team earned $500 for the front game, while winning the endgame earned $1,000 note: both teams played the endgame in this case, with one member for each team doing Level 3.
Typical grand prizes awarded in the bonus round included trips to U.S. Space Camp, a return trip to Universal Studios Florida, bicycles, video-game systems and Macintosh Classic computers. Throughout the show's run, precious few trips to other destinations including Jamaica were offered. Consolation prizes usually consisted of British Knights sneakers, supplies of candy, or video game cartridges.
An equally short-lived Spain version of Nick Arcade under the name Zona de Juego (Game Zone) originally hosted by Benjamin Barrington then later Miguel Ortiz as Barrington's replacement aired on TVE in 1993 until 1995. This version of the show had a different set and intro unlike the American version but it uses the main theme song, cues and graphics from the America version. In addition, the show aired shortly after the US version got cancelled and like Moore, former host Benjamin Barrington makes up his own lyrics to the cue for when the contestants wanted to play a video game.
20 episodes were skipped by Nick GaS. Although an official reason was never given, several of them circulated from way older Nickelodeon airings, and all of them featured a music video during a video puzzle (Video Repairman or Hyper Channels). This seemed to fuel the long-substantiated rumors on why they were skipped. Below is a list of episodes that were skipped, and the problematic footage:
- 110C: Get on Your Feet by Gloria Estefan
- 115E: Something Happened on the Way to Heaven by Phil Collins
- 116E/#134I: U Can't Touch This by MC Hammer
- 119F: Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice
- 120F: Gonna Make You Sweat by C&C Music Factory
- 131I: Step by Step by New Kids on the Block
- 133I: Bad by Michael Jackson (though it was cleared in an earlier episode)
- 135J: Sledgehammer by Peter Gabriel
- 201A: Missing You Now by Michael Bolton
- 203A: 2 Legit 2 Quit by MC Hammer
- 204B: Forever My Lady by Jodeci
- 210C: Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen
- 212D: Diamonds and Pearls by Prince and the New Power Generation
- 226G: Let's Get Rocked by Def Leoppard
- 229H: Thinkin' Back by Color Me Badd
- 231I: Love Me by Tracie Spencer
- 235J: Mysterious Ways by U2
- 239K: Smells Like Nirvana by "Weird Al" Yankovic
- 240K: Good for Me by Amy Grant
Season 1 had 13 Grand Prize winners; Season 2 had 9 for a total of 22.
The rare Time Bomb square was hit a total of six times.
- 119F (Twice)
In Popular Culture
In 2014, an episode of the online web series Mega64 has an "extreme" reboot of the show as Nick Arcade X.
On a March 20, 2016 episode of Robot Chicken called "Western Hay Batch", there was a parody of Nick Arcade featuring Phil Moore voicing himself where the contestants control Mikey towards some bombs, which blows him up. Thankfully, he doesn't get killed, but does lose a lot of parts of his body. In a January 14, 2018 episode called "Things Look Bad for the Streepster", The Nerd (voiced by Seth Green) becomes a contestant on Nick Arcade as he looks behind the curtain of the show and hates it as he learns that it's just the contestants standing in front of a green screen where there are no winners. Phil Moore once again returns voicing himself as the host.
On December 8, 2017, James Rolfe (a.k.a. The Angry Video Game Nerd) reviewed this show along with its early 90s counterpart Video Power.
Theme Music by Dan Vitco & Mark Schultz
Additional music by Dean Friedman
James Bethea and Karim Miteff
- Biz Buzz - November 17, 2003 by Andy Eddy at GameSpy.com. Retrieved 2008-06-26.
- Site with almost all of the Nick Arcade Video Challenges
- Nickelodeon Arcade Rules at Loogslair.net
- Nickelodeon Arcade page at Travis' Game Show Jackpot site
- Nickelodeon Arcade Review Page
- Nickelodeon Arcade Bethea-Miteff Productions, Inc
- Nickelodeon Arcade @ Game Show Garbage
- Phil Moore @ Game Show Garbage
- Nick Arcade on Paramount+