TNB Night Owl – Starcade

Galaga Video Game circa 1981.

Video games are fun. Game shows are fun. What do you get when you combine the two?


Today, “e-sports” are a growing international phenomenon and people like DanTDM make a personal fortune by releasing videos of themselves playing video games. There was a point in time, however, when video game arcades were cropping up in malls and shopping centers and the games people could play on their home consoles were sketchy imitations of the coin-op models. Streaming video was a thing of cyberpunk fiction.

From 1982 through 1984, TBS harnessed the video arcade craze for a syndicated game show called Starcade. Contestants answered video game related questions and played games against each other to receive prizes.

The prizes, of course, tended to be electronics. Coin-op games, home consoles, televisions and things which had less to do with gaming like metal detectors.

The notion of watching people play video games didn’t have a wide appeal, but it did have a devoted fan base. The show lasted for more than 130 episodes before being cancelled… and it was then brought back in repeats for the fledgling G4 tech & game show network.

It may have been a novelty item when it debuted, but it was the harbinger of e-sports to come.

Curious as to what it looked like? Luckily, it’s the weekend, and the idea of linking to a long-running video seems perfect for some insomniacs. So here you are, a three hour block from the early days of G4.

Question of the night: What’s a game (video or not) at which you excel(led)?

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About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.