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April 9, 2013 3:31 PM   Subscribe

How we made Knightmare The creator and the dungeon master of the 1980s fantasy game show revisit dodgy technology and terrified children. The wikipedia entry explains more. Knightmare mentioned previously on mefi
posted by lalochezia (19 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Best Kids' TV Show Ever
posted by Bwithh at 3:46 PM on April 9, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best Kids' TV Show Ever

That and The Adventure Game
posted by pipeski at 3:49 PM on April 9, 2013 [6 favorites]

The adventure game needs its own post!
posted by lalochezia at 3:52 PM on April 9, 2013

It was a great show. I only remember one team ever winning. But then, it was the utterly witless deaths that were the enjoyable part.
That and The Adventure Game
Moira Stuart? What???
posted by Jehan at 3:52 PM on April 9, 2013

Step left...right. I can only imagine how much grief this kid got for this. Hilarious.
posted by biffa at 3:59 PM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Read this earlier today. I have fond memories of the program and the article talking about how hard the show was/how useless some of the kids were was great.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:21 PM on April 9, 2013

Wow. This is amazing. It's almost like a live-action version of Nethack.

posted by RonButNotStupid at 4:32 PM on April 9, 2013 [5 favorites]

I'd never heard of this, but it is completely awesome. Thanks for posting!
posted by Pecinpah at 4:43 PM on April 9, 2013

But let’s not be too hard on the kids. As Myatt recalled, they were invariably overwhelmed by the experience of being on the show. They were never allowed to see Treguard out of costume or character and completely believed in the world they were entering. “The odd thing is, when the kids arrived on the set, they were totally into it within about five minutes,” he said. “The suspension of disbelief stuff just happened.”

Take note, game designers. This is important knowledge.
posted by JHarris at 5:25 PM on April 9, 2013 [7 favorites]

Now THIS is a proper (kids') TV show:

The fact the contestants took the whole thing so seriously—showing real fear during the hairy moments, shedding actual tears when they lost—made it easier for the viewer at home to believe in the world of Knightmare. ....
The show was half-way through its second season before a team successfully made it through the dungeon. Only seven more teams followed suit over the course of all eight series. Out of 112 episodes, 104 ended with no one winning. That’s a bold tally for a game show. The extreme difficulty level provided a compelling reason to keep tuning in. It felt as if someone just HAD to win at some point, and whatever happened when they did was sure to be amazing. (What actually happened was the same as when a team lost, except the winners received a small trophy bearing the legend “Anglia Television.” To share between four of them.)

posted by Bwithh at 5:43 PM on April 9, 2013 [4 favorites]

Addendum to previous - I'm totally addicted to this show now. I've watched the first few episodes on YouTube, and all the hokey elements that stood out so starkly to me at first have faded back and given way to my complete absorption with the narrative.

I wish I had seen this as a kid. I would have been utterly spirited away.
posted by Pecinpah at 6:09 PM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

One team (Team 7 of Series 2) is confounded by bad spelling, continually missing out the letter O of a SHROUD spell that is put on their dungeoneer while the antagonist Mogdred laughs evilly, while Treguard, apparently constrained by magic, tries to tell them ("Let...ter...O!"). Later on, that same team are killed off, again due to bad spelling (in this case, misinterpreting a SHOVEL spell that they were given prior as SPADE).

I approve of any show where misspelling is punishable by death.
posted by roger ackroyd at 7:24 PM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

This show, along with Fighting Fantasy books and the Hero Quest boardgame, constituted the imaginative bedrock of my childhood. You just couldn't ask for a better schooling in dungeon design and grotesque psychedelia than that.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 7:58 PM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

I love hearing about that stuff. A different tone than how roleplaying developed in the US.

Pecinpah, I see what you mean. It's lots of fun to those of us with D&D experience.
posted by JHarris at 10:27 PM on April 9, 2013

Trying to imagine what a modern version of this would be like.
"Strafe left. OK, take the flashbang from the table and put it in your knapsack. Strafe right WAIT NO I MEAN L-"
"I'm sorry brave adventurers, but your hero has been sniped by x_supa_solder_420_x, Dark Lord Of The Barrett Fifty-Cal."
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:17 AM on April 10, 2013 [2 favorites]

I went to a (pretty dreadful) comedy sketch show, umm, 15 years ago now. Amidst a load of rubbish, the one bit that got any reaction from the crowd was a Knightmare spoof. There was a bolt of genuine recognition that went through pretty much everyone when we heard "Warning team..." as you were immediately back, sat on the carpet with your best friend, shouting at the (huge, dial-driven) TV.

I'm sorta reluctant to watch any of the YouTube clips. For a kid in the suburbs whose parents didn't own a video or take him to the cinema, the CGI there was my version of Avatar and I remember it as being pretty flawless . Even now I have the occasional dream or flash where a face emerges from a wall and asks me a riddle.

I am totally spending all morning watching YouTube clips.
posted by Hartster at 4:02 AM on April 10, 2013

I saw a pretty good Knightmare pastiche just the other day.
posted by Shatner's Bassoon at 7:42 AM on April 10, 2013 [3 favorites]

Wow that wall monster scared me. I believe I remember it saying:

"feed me with your knowledge or feed me with yourself"
posted by mister_kaupungister at 8:09 AM on April 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

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