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Starcade!
January 17, 2007 9:18 AM   Subscribe

Billed as TV's frst video arcade game show, Starcade had its contestants battling each other on video game trivia, as well as actual gameplay. Originally aired in the early 1980's, the show featured games like Zaxxon, Congo Bongo, Star Trek and Journey, to name a few.

Ten full episodes are available online, for those of you who want a bit of video game nostalgia. And, if nothing else, looking at the contestants is pretty entertaining, in and of itself.
posted by avoision (28 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
I remember this show! Amazing that there is such a wealth of information on it and the contestants. I like this blurb from Vicki and Al Venturini:

In 2005 Al checked in saying, "It's me Al Venturini and Vicki. We were on (STARCADE!) vs the Sulley boys. I was horrible, I scored zero on Moon Patrol (not quite that bad, Al). My daughter Vicki beat the boys big time."

"Vicki and I had lots of fun, however, my daughter still feels the pain of us losing to the Sulley boys. Their father was a dip, he came apart in the stands when my daughter beat the boys. He was also a big cry baby in the private room you had us in waiting to tape our show. He was telling all of us what a dumb production co you guys had, and was going to tell Herb Cain (columnist for the San Franciso Chronicle) how stupid the show was, and he was ticked off that the crew had lunch before us. We politley told him to shut up ... then after his boys beat us, since I scored like zero points ... he was thanking everyone saying what a great time they all had and how he would tell herb what a great show you had. What at PUTZ ..."

Hmmmmm ... intrigue in the back rooms of STARCADE!


Great find!
posted by Roger Dodger at 9:36 AM on January 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh man! What a cool find!
posted by malaprohibita at 9:44 AM on January 17, 2007


I remember this show. I always thought that I'd be a perfect contestant on it. I was/am such a frigging dork.
posted by ColdChef at 9:51 AM on January 17, 2007


Wow.
All I can say is wow.
I had totally forgetten about this show. Thanks for the walk down memory lane. I loved this show when it was on - never missed and episode. I remember watching it on WTBS (now just TBS) - was that the only channel it was shown on? I tried to get on way back then. I sent a letter to them and got back a postcard that simply said that you had to live in California, or fly out there just to try-out with no promise of getting on the show. My Dad wasn't about to spend that kind of money... Bummer. I could be enshrined on the Internet now. IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT DAD!
posted by internal at 10:05 AM on January 17, 2007


I was just too young to remember this... I remember Nick Arcade though.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:10 AM on January 17, 2007


This gave me a little pants tingle.
posted by The Straightener at 10:12 AM on January 17, 2007


Oh yeah - I forgot all about this show - poor Alex Trebek delivered his hosting gig in such a 'what am I doing here?!' manner - I do remember that!

Oh, and this snippet from the Journey game link had me laughing - I wonder what body parts were sent on a 'Journey' - Separate Ways indeed!

Originally, this game was not to have the band Journey in it. It would have a digital camera (created by Ralph Baer, the creator of the Magnavox Odyssey home console systems) that would take a picture of the player's face and put it on the character. After some people used unmentionable parts of their body as character heads during tests, this was dropped.
posted by mctsonic at 10:18 AM on January 17, 2007


Sort of a double... but who cares... ten episodes of the bestest video game game show ever!

Portable LP players for everyone!!!
posted by tittergrrl at 10:19 AM on January 17, 2007


Picture for a moment...a warp in time.

"Okay, and for your last game...it's a new one from a company called Rockstar...the game is called Grand Theft Auto: Vice City."

Imagine, after playing Donkey Kong, Jr. and Journey, they fired up a modern video game. Picture the faces on the bewildered teens. And then the look of horror when you tell them that they'll be able to play all of those games...in about twenty years.

Now, think for a moment about the look on your face if someone were to show you just a brief snip of the video games your grandchildren will play.
posted by ColdChef at 10:22 AM on January 17, 2007


Portable LP players for everyone!!!
posted by tittergrrl


wow. did anyone here have one? this is the first time i've ever heard of such a thing.
posted by nola at 10:27 AM on January 17, 2007


nola: I can't watch the vids at the moment, so I can't say for sure, but I had what I'm pretty certain would be considered a portable LP player. Fischer-Price, as I recall. It was a cheapo record player built into kind of a plastic briefcase. I never really took advantage of its portability, preferring to listen to my Sesame Street records at home, but it did have a handle.
posted by brundlefly at 10:34 AM on January 17, 2007


Nice. I remember Geoff Edwards, the host. I always thought he was way too big a dork to be hosting The Coolest Gameshow Ever.

I would have killed my brother in his sleep for a chance to get on that show.
posted by bondcliff at 10:36 AM on January 17, 2007


I present to you... the Mister Disc portable/personal LP player!
posted by tittergrrl at 10:43 AM on January 17, 2007


Nola: my first record player was a portable. I am really susprised I remember this since I was 7 years old then, but it was a grey briefcase style thing made by GE called"Wildcat".
posted by internal at 10:47 AM on January 17, 2007


"Mister Disc -- No bigger than a man's shoe!"
posted by Bugg at 11:46 AM on January 17, 2007


The true golden era of video games. Thanks.
posted by justgary at 11:48 AM on January 17, 2007


a brief snip of the video games your grandchildren will play


"Heathen Hunt features foul bodily odours from actual non-believers." - Gamer Weekly, March 2047.
posted by CynicalKnight at 12:56 PM on January 17, 2007


Holy crap! I'd forgotten all about this show. All I can remember was how terrible the kids were at the games. I'm sure in a studio in front of a camera I'd have perfomed just as poorly, though. Great find.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 1:57 PM on January 17, 2007


Imagine, after playing Donkey Kong, Jr. and Journey, they fired up a modern video game.

I'd still rather play the games from the eighties.
posted by octothorpe at 4:02 PM on January 17, 2007


"Picture the faces on the bewildered teens. And then the look of horror when you tell them that they'll be able to play all of those games"

Look of horror? Heh. Yeah, right. If they were like the kids in my area, you'd hear nothing but screams of excitement and how they couldn't wait for it.
posted by drstein at 4:18 PM on January 17, 2007


Ghost of Christmas Future Taunts Child with PlayStation 5.
posted by ColdChef at 5:07 PM on January 17, 2007


I'd just like to take this opportunity to boast that I've looped Gyruss to Earth three times on a single quarter.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:11 PM on January 17, 2007


Look of horror? Heh. Yeah, right. If they were like the kids in my area, you'd hear nothing but screams of excitement and how they couldn't wait for it.

That was kinda his point.

when you tell them that they'll be able to play all of those games...in about twenty years.
posted by dreamsign at 6:20 PM on January 17, 2007


Hrm. Odd way to make the point. I would have said "And then the starry eyed look on their faces as they realized what they had to look forward to."

Oh well. :P
posted by drstein at 9:01 PM on January 17, 2007


Yeah, Starcade was great and all (ok..it was freakin' awesome!), but that portable LP player....I wanted it. Bad. I would imagine riding around the neighborhood with one mounted on my bike blaring Thriller. It would have been SO cool.

So very cool. *sigh*
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 9:46 PM on January 17, 2007


Portable LP players for everyone!!!
posted by tittergrrl

wow. did anyone here have one? this is the first time i've ever heard of such a thing.


I had a Close n Play, it was amazing. The needle was attached to the cover, it hit the record when you closed it. All those early 70s pop hits were mixed to sound great on a tinny plastic 2" speaker. Then my sister sat on it. I'm still recovering from the trauma.
posted by fuzz at 12:24 AM on January 18, 2007


The closest to a claim to fame I have is that my ex-roommate / a guy I work with was a contestant on Starcade. He played Sinistar.

I HUNGER!
posted by majick at 5:08 AM on January 18, 2007


Beating a dead horse...

Hrm. Odd way to make the point. I would have said "And then the starry eyed look on their faces as they realized what they had to look forward to."

I think the horror arises from the realization that they would have to wait so long to play the games. I'd probably collapse in a quivering mass of impatience on the spot. Waiting till Christmas to play my Nintendo Entertainment System was hard enough knowing it had been sitting on store shelves for at least 6 months. Waiting 20 years for photo-realistic, open-ended gameplay? That's just an excuse for suicide.

And great post avoision. I loves me some Starcade. Even taped every episode that G4 ran a few years back.
posted by BoatMeme at 8:36 AM on January 18, 2007


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