One of the cute things about game shows is even the losers get a prize. If it were up to me they would be lucky to escape the game with their life. Having grown up a loser I always paid attention to all prizes all the way down from loser up to kid who cheated to win. Of course any child who wins a contest created by an adult must be a cheater. Kids are incredibly dumb. They’re always getting stuck down wells. What’s the point in having sticky fingers if they don’t help you climb up a well? Like I said, kids can be a little dumb.
The big prize I always remember given out in the 90s was a trip to Space Camp. I think anyone who participated on a game show in this era went to Space Camp. Funny, now all those kids are old enough to be astronauts and NASA has folded. I remember wanting to go to Space Camp. Instead my parents told me to twirl around and hold my breath. They said it would be much more accurate to being in space and I think they were right.
(Now that NASA has shut down this movie is even more irrelevant to our world. Leaf Phoenix might be my new favorite name)
Trips to exotic places are always a prize on any game show. I specifically remember Nickelodeon Shows having trips to terribly boring places though. Figure It Out gave away trips to a ski resort in Vermont like people have actually heard of Vermont before. I remember one time a kid from New Jersey won a trip to New York. Wonderful. Now he can go somewhere he’s been a million times once again. I’m not sure what vacation spots would even be cool for a kid to go to. Most kids are happy with some orange juice and a video game.
Possibly my least favorite prize that was always given out was the dirt bike. I never learned to ride a bike. I always wondered what would happen if I was on one of these shows and won a stupid bike. I’d probably say to the host “I don’t know how to ride a bike. Give me a real prize please.” Do kids even get excited about bikes anymore? It seems like if you have a bike then you need to find places to go. I never have anywhere to go. Sometimes I just go into hotels and sit in the lobby to say I left the house. I never take a bike though. Bikes are for losers.
(Notice how there is no chick anywhere near this bike. Chicks don’t dig guys with bikes. Never have, never will. The bike prize was kid’s game shows’ way of promoting abstinence)
Speaking of losers, the losers on these shows usually got much crappier things. They would get a collection of unrecognizable board games, a video game nobody liked, and/or something educational. What’s wrong with giving a kid money? Even if they spend it on drugs at least they’re learning about how the economy works and that life is not fair.
The only prize I remember from the 90s without any downside came from no show in particular. It was a contest Nickelodeon had where you would get to do a shopping spree at Toys R Us. This was my Holy Grail. I would have literally walked down the aisles with my fat arms out knocking every action figured into my cart. I remember always watching these contests every year when they aired. In a very America’s Funniest Home Videos way, they had someone do a voiceover for the kid. I remember the kid one year grabbing a Barbie and the voiceover guy saying “Gotta grab something for my sis!” Way to cover for the kid Mr. Voiceover Man. He seemed to know immediately where the Barbie aisle was and I don’t think he has a sister at all if you know what I’m saying.
(Actress Rachel Bilson stealing My Little Ponies from a girl in a Toys R Us. I guess The OC royalties aren’t as big as she had hoped)
I tried to actually apply one year for this Toys R Us shopping spree. I was sitting in a department store while my mom shopping filling out the form. I was born with large messy handwriting and this form had very tiny lines. I couldn’t fit everything on the lines and thinks got incredibly messy. I started crying because I realize I would never be able to properly fill out the form without making a mess. So, I guess what I’m saying is there’s a hole in my soul that no prize could ever fix.