Game shows can be a lot of fun to watch, whether it’s due to rooting for someone to win, watching hilarious moments get televised, or playing along at home. Nickelodeon-made game shows, though, have always reached a new level of wackiness that can’t be seen anywhere else. From being dunked in gallons of slime, to climbing huge mountains, and even battling temple guards, contestants put themselves through a lot to win incredible prizes like Razor scooters, Easy-Bake Ovens, and Reebok sneakers.
With some requiring a lot of physical prowess and others needing witty thinking, Nickelodeon has created quite a lot of game shows, all of which have found ways of feeling different from each other. Let’s take a look at which game shows in Nickelodeon’s diverse lineup still hold the title of being the best.
7) Slime Time Live
Slime Time Live was an interesting idea because viewers could participate from home by calling in to play interactive games in addition to the contestants who were actually on the show. One of the main examples of this was a matching game of pictures featuring Nickelodeon characters. If two matching pictures were found, the at-home player would win a prize while the televised contestant would be slimed or pied. The final round of the game was always epic where teams competed in head-to-head challenges, like answering Nickelodeon trivia questions or blasting targets with slime, that concluded with a trough of slime being dumped on the winners.
The show was a lot of fun, but what held it back was that it primarily aired during the commercial breaks of other shows. On one hand, it made watching Nickelodeon an experience outside of just watching their regularly scheduled content. On the other, it made rounds feel a little too rushed at times. It made it feel like it only existed to boost their other programming rather than being its own great show, despite it being so much fun to watch.
6) Nickelodeon GUTS
“D-d-d-do you have it?” Nickelodeon GUTS was one of the most physically challenging game shows the network ever had, and it came with one of the catchiest theme songs out there. GUTS had kids and teens compete in over-the-top sports-based challenges like throwing footballs through tires or shooting basketballs through hoops while they dangled from bungie cords, leaping over ridiculously high hurdles, or even racing on a track while wearing Moon Shoes. The most famous challenge was climbing the faux mountain known as the Aggro Crag, which served as the final round of each episode.
Seeing the contestants go to the extreme to win the gold was always riveting, and the challenges were surprisingly creative. That being said, just watching them compete in physical challenges made it hard for the audience to play along, which is something that’s especially fun for many other game shows.
Probably the opposite of GUTS, BrainSurge challenged the minds and comprehension skills of the competitors. Each episode consisted of three rounds and a knockout round. Two players were eliminated after each round. The first round had the players shown images, videos, and visual puzzles that they then had to answer questions about. Round two had the host read the contestants a story that they were then quizzed about. The knockout round had the final two players compete in a matching game. Round three, or the bonus round, had the final player memorize a pattern that lit up on a floor grid and then attempt to cross the floor in that pattern based on their memory.
The puzzling nature of the show allowed for the viewer to play along while they watched, which made it especially entertaining. Despite having eliminated contestants slide down a slide of foam out a giant ear (known as the Brain Drain), it wasn’t quite as messy or wacky as some other Nick game shows. It was undoubtedly great, though.
4) Nick Arcade
If there’s any Nickelodeon game show that needs a modern comeback, it’s Nick Arcade. Contestants from each team would compete in brief video game challenges where they would play 30-second matches of 1v1 games. Then during the main rounds, contestants would compete in more physical challenges that felt as though they were actually in a video game world. For any kid watching, it felt like they got to see a dream come true of being able to actually enter a video game, like it was something out of science fiction. It was exciting to see the physical challenges, plus there were trivia questions thrown in that the viewer could use to play along to an extent.
Unfortunately, it was clear that the kids were just in front of a bluescreen forced to watch where they were going on monitors that were off to the side similar to how meteorologists do they’re onscreen work. It’s a little funny to look back at it now and see the outdated video game graphics and technology, but it was weirdly ahead of its time. Imagine how cool of a reboot it would be to use the same Nick Arcade format with current-gen video games.
3) Figure It Out
As far as being able to play along from home, Figure It Out was always tons of wacky fun. Child contestants would have some sort of unique talent or skill that a panel of celebrities had to, well, “figure it out.” A large sign known as “Billy the Answer Head” would have the full answer on it with the text hidden by blanks. Parts of it were revealed one by one when the celebrities would correctly guess clues. The celebrities only had bizarre objects that would either be sent out to them on a conveyor belt or even dropped on their heads as hints, which often led to hilarity, confusion, and chaos.
It was fun to look away and guess along with the celebrities once clues were given. Plus, it was exciting to see other Nickelodeon stars from All-That, The Adventures of Pete & Pete, and Kenan and Kel (along with CatDog and Cousin Skeeter being on a couple of episodes) in a different setting where they’re being slimed and feathered for the sake of guessing a kid’s talent. It celebrated Nickelodeon’s other properties while also encouraging kids to explore their talents. It’s overall extremely high-quality entertainment.
2) Legends of the Hidden Temple
Legends of the Hidden Temple is a perfect example of a game show going all out with their theme. The show was centered on a lost Mayan Temple that was supposedly filled with treasures, and the set design immersed contestants and audiences in that setting. Kids lucky enough to be on this fantastic show got to compete in challenges that had them cross a moat, answer memory-based questions, avoid the terrifying temple guards, make their way through the maze-like temple, and assemble the seemingly-impossible Shrine of the Silver Monkey. Plus, there was a giant talking stone head named Olmec who served as the perfect co-host and became a rather beloved Nickelodeon character himself.
It’s safe to say that most kids who grew up watching Nickelodeon wanted to be on one of the iconic teams, whether it be the Red Jaguars, Green Monkeys, Orange Iguanas, Blue Barracudas, Silver Snakes, or Purple Parrots. Fans are so fond of the series that it’s still celebrated with merchandise and cosplay today. The game show has even been adapted into an action-packed movie because of its popularity.
1) Double Dare
If there’s any game show synonymous with Nickelodeon, it’s Double Dare. The game combined trivia questions with some of the messiest and wackiest physical challenges ever seen. A team could opt to take a Double Dare in lieu of answering a question which would then trigger a physical challenge. These physical challenges consisted of filling buckets with water or slime without the use of their hands, flinging hotdogs at their parents, digging through giant bowls of spaghetti, popping slime-filled balloons from afar, and much more. The obstacle course was always the wildest part of each episode, and had contestants crawl through enormous ice cream sundaes, swim through slime, climb through human-sized ant farms, reach down toilets, and countless other extremely messy tasks with the goal of finding and collecting as many orange flags as possible. Picking the giant nose is still probably the most well-known part of the obstacle course.
The show has been revived multiple times over the years and has been referenced in Nicktoons like Sanjay and Craig and The Loud House, and it’s all been for good reason. Double Dare is heavily considered to be one of the shows that put Nickelodeon on the map and has definitely helped the network obtain its aesthetic. Trivia that the audience can play along with, physical challenges, ridiculous amounts of slime, people slipping into vats of whipped cream, witty humor from host Marc Summers; this show had it all.