In the gaming industry, most of the news circles on the next blockbuster, triple-A release. To be fair, in 2022 and into 2023, we have some potential console-generation-defining releases on the way, with God of War Ragnarök, Overwatch 2, The Callisto Protocol, Hogwarts Legacy, and The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Still, there remains a place for one of the most classic forms of gaming entertainment that’s been around long before the advent of video gaming.
Quizzes and game show-style creations continue to draw in players. You can see Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training selling 15-times more upon its release to the Nintendo Switch than its immensely popular launch on the 3DS. While it’s not entirely quiz-driven, the mental challenges within short timeframes certainly lend to classic game shows and quizzes. Even in one of Nintendo’s most recent batch of releases to its top-selling hybrid console’s online store, Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader? made its way into video gaming.
Quite subtly, the game show and quiz show format is becoming very popular again, on TV, across entertainment media, and even in video gaming.
Game shows going stronger than ever
You can track the origins of game shows back to 1936 in London, UK, when the BBC began its TV service. In 1938, the BBC broadcast a show by the name of Spelling Bee, in which contestants had to spell words. Not exactly riveting TV, but it paved the way for the post-WWII rise of game shows, with What’s My Line? to make waves in the UK, having been imported from the US. Many more renditions and variations were to come, expanding from panel shows and quiz-like structures to obstacle courses, gimmick wheels, and much more.Over the last couple of years, game shows exploded in the UK and US. In December 2020, British TV saw a whole slew of quiz and game shows pad the early evening schedule. Those shows were Richard Osman’s House of Games, The Wheel, The Wall, The Chase, Only Connect, and, of course, the University Challenge. The same goes for the US, with the schedules being loaded up with The Price is Right at Night, The Hustler, Celebrity Wheel of Fortune, The Chase, and The Masked Dancer.
Format proving popular across entertainment media
Game shows are so inherently entertaining that the format can easily be extrapolated into other forms of entertainment. Somewhat surprisingly, but also quite naturally, the rise of the live casino has a lot to thank game show popularity for. Now, these real-money, real-time online games seat hundreds, even thousands of players as the contestants, with the likes of Boom City, Adventures Beyond Wonderland, and Crazy Coin Flip being the star attractions right now. Deal or No Deal may have ended in 2016 in the UK, but the classic television hit lives on at the live casino in the form of Live Deal or No Deal: The Big Draw.
From the TV screen to the big screen, while not an overly common thread, the game show set-up can make for riveting drama sequences. In 1994, the Quiz Show – featuring Ralph Fiennes – explores the potential fixing of a game show. Funnily enough, in 2020, the ITV show Quiz dramatized the Who Wants to Be A Millionaire cheat scandal. Quiz Show is available on Disney+ in the UK, but its subscription cost has gone up. Of course, the most famous example of a game show in film is Slumdog Millionaire. The multiple winners at the Academy Awards piles on the inherent tension and drama that comes with being on and even preparing for a game show.
Video gaming finds some stars in the format
While you’ll struggle to find any in the console membership PS Plus for the PlayStation 5, quiz games and game show-like video games continue to pop up and sell. Right now, Knowledge Trainer: Trivia sits among the most popular games of the Party category on the Nintendo Switch. What’s so telling about that is that it’s in the Party games section, which may explain why the game show style is becoming popular. Of course, being with others to watch a game show wasn’t a thing a couple of years ago, but now, with more meet-ups, we can play together.
Loads of quiz, trivia, and game show games have risen in prominence on the back of this trend, with people meeting up to play accessible games and have fun in the famous format. Sure, the likes of Among Us became big, but so too did Zoom Quizzes. Now, even on the PlayStation Store, you’ll find 96 games under the categories of quiz, brain training, and educational, which include Bullseye – the classic darts game show – and Trivia for Dummies.
Game shows are riding high across the entertainment space, from luck-based wheel spinners to those that command you to test your general knowledge or skill.