"Feel the Power!! Video Power!!"
If you remember, in the early 1990s there was a show called Video Power that was dedicated to video games, mainly those for the Nintendo system. At first it was a "news and reviews" style show with animated cartoons mixed in, but with it not being that successful, the format was changed for the second season, which begain in September 1991. This time it was a game show where kids got to show off their videogame skills by competing against other Nintendo gamers from Monday through Friday. This is the program most of you probably remember. (Click here to read about Video Power's first season)
Once again taking center stage is video game fanatic Johnny Arcade, again played by Stivi Paskoski. This time around he was joined by a co-host named Terry Lee Torik (who produced the show) and Steve Trekas, who jammed the theme song on his guitar. Every day after the rap-style theme song, Johnny would come onto the set, sit in a weird chair and give us gameplay tips with the Video Power Edge (the only feature of the first season to carry over to the second). Johnny ususally concentrated on the NES game of the week, though he often threw in tips for other games as well. A few episodes also featured a "Hot Flash", which featured Johnny at the Consumer Electronics Show as he previewed an upcoming game.
|Johnny Arcade, this time as a game show host.||Terry Lee Torik and Steve Trekas.|
After the game tips were finished, it was time for "Johnny On The Spot." Terry would venture into the audience and select four kids to compete on the show that day. The kids would ask a game-related question in an attempt to stump the great Arcade. Many of the qestions were insanely stupid ("What do you get when the Simpsons' bully eats too much?" "A Full Nelson!"), but Johnny usually got them right. However if someone were able to stump Johnny, they would receive a prize from the Power Mall (more on this below). After four questions the kids would come onto the stage to compete that day.
|Terry is searching for today's video warriors.||Four lucky contestants are about to do battle.|
Now we get to the meat of the show, the Power Play Challenge, wich is a competition of this week's NES game(s). For the first round, the four contestants played the game for 1:41 (sometimes it was 2:02), trying to get one of the top two scores. Terry provided commentary as we along with Johnny constantly observed the kids in action. Many different NES games were used, from games like Batman to Battletoads to even Bases Loaded and Mega Man II. To my knowledge only one Super NES game was used (Paperboy 2). At the end of the round, the kids with the two highest scores moved on to the next round, while the others were eliminated. If they used a non-scoring game, they determined the winners in other ways. In Little Nemo, for example, they went by how many keys they got.
|The kids during the first round of competiton.||Terry gives us the lowdown on the action.|
The two remaining kids would then be given Velcro-covered "Power Vests" and a "Power Helmet" to wear. For the next round, Johnny tested their video game knowlege with a set of trivia questions. The first three questions were worth 10 points, the fourth was worth 20 points. The questions talked about the game they played, and one of the questions always featured a piece of NES music, with the kids having to guess which game it came from. Very often, Johnny would often trick the kids with a "swerve" question. He would start by talking about something, and most every time one of the players would buzz in early with the correct answer but be tols it was incorrect, because the actual question was about something else. (You'd be surprised how many kids fell for that). Often there was a bonus fifth question, which showed gamplay footage, and the kids had to guess the game to win a bonus prize. After the questions the kids played this week's game again for 1:01, and the high scorer of that round got 50 points. The points are then tallied up, and whoever amassed the most points was declared the day's champion.
|Johnny quizzes the kids on their NES 101.||The two remaining kids before the final showdown.|
The winner of the day then got to go to the Power Mall, which was a stylized set with walls completely covered with various games. For 41 seconds the lucky winner got to run through the set, grabbing as many games as he/she could carry and sticking them onto his/her vest while trying to reach and slide through a tube before time ran out. Finally Terry would show off all they games he/she won that day. If the winner managed to find the "secret game" they recieved an extra big prize such as a RC car or even a Neo-Geo system.
|Today's winner going for as many games as humanly possible.|
Looking back the show did look silly at times. But like all the other kids at the time I still tuned in everyday after school and enjoyed the action. From what I remember the show was able to crown two ultimate winners before Video Power left the airwaves in the summer of 1992, this time never to return. It may never be on the air again, but it still lives on in the memories of longtime NES gamers.
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