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TV's big half hour: Video Power!

Video Power
Video Power

My show is kickin' with maximum hype
Say video power?
Yeah, that's right, Word.

I got the ability to make you win
You want the edge? I'll push the power surge.

Let 'er rip.

Feel the Power
(power)
Feel the Power
(video power)
Feel the Power
(power)
Feel the Power
(video power)
Feel the Power
(power)
Feel the Power
(video power)

Originally not a gameshow, Video Power premiered in 1989 and was hosted by Johnny Arcade. Video Power started out as mostly a video game review show, with segments involving hints and cheats for various NES games. There was also a 14 minute cartoon segment, wherein Mr. Arcade was represented as a cartoon character, and led a group of familiar (Acclaim) video game characters. This was season one of Video Power.

Then, something changed.

In 1990, season 2 of Video Power aired, and it was as if the entire show had been redone. In fact, it had been. Out with the stale hints and tips, and in with groovy 90s dance music for an intro (hence the lines above). Video Power had been transformed into a game show - perhaps one of the best gameshows ever to air.

TV's big half hour: Video Power!

Terry, the show's announcer, started off every show with this famous line. Sometimes, the show's band would talk, or play something short, and then Johnny Arcade would come out into the audience and give the day's "Edge" tip. If you managed to survive this, you were in for a treat.

Johnny On The Spot

After a quick break to commercials, the "Johnny On The Spot" (ha ha!) segment was up. Johnny went through the audience and picked 4 contestents (predetermined, and coached), who were prompted to ask Johnny certain questions about video games. Johnny and the teleprompter were very rarely wrong.

After this was over, the 4 kids ran down to the stage and played a round of whatever game they were just asking Johnny about. After a few minutes of gameplay, judges would determine which two players had either gotten the farthest in the game, or who accumulated the most points. The victors advanced to the next round.

Power Picks

Each player put on a special velcro vest, and when he answered a question correctly, the points were physically attached to the vest. Why? We can only guess. The first two questions were always about the game they had just played. Each of the first questions were worth 10 "pizza points" which were little slices of pizza that were attached to the vest. The third question was a music question, where the contestent had to guess the name of the game the particular theme came from. Question four was a difficult trivia question, and was worth 20 mushroom points. Quesion five was a "video question" in that the players had to look at a video screen and guess the name of the game. If a contestent got this correct, they were given a game as a prize.

More Game Playing

After the question round was over, the two players would take part in another round of video game playing. Same as before, but this time the winner received 50 star points, which generally put him above the player who may have gotten more points in the trivia round. The loser is dismissed here and the winner, well, all I can say, is that he received pure bliss.

Prize Run

The winner, with the special velcro vest, was given another piece of gear to help him with this last task - a velcro helmet. Now, equipped with the finest velcro suit, the player was ready to spend 43 seconds (yes, I too wonder why it's 43 seconds) running through the prize maze, collecting as many NES games as he could (there were maybe 2 female contestants ever) before time ran out. In the maze there were "special" items that, if collected, resulted in you earning a bonus prize at the end, like a pair of rollerblades or boomboxes. Who wouldn't love this??? It was unlikely that a player would not finish the maze in time, although it did happen once. A kid froze when time was called, and didn't make it through the slide, which marked the end of the course. Poor guy.

Returning Contestants

Every Friday, the four winners from Monday through Thursday would come back on the show and compete against eachother. As returning champions, they wore red and black vinyl Video Power jackets while competing. The show took the same format, and the winner went through the prize maze again. *drools*

Championship Week

The show would go on in the manner described above for 12 weeks, and then, on week 13, the winners from the previous 12 weeks were called back to battle it out once again. The three 2nd place winners would be given a second chance on Thursday, so one of them would be eliminated in the first round. That Friday, the 3 big winners & the Wild Card Winner (chosen at random) on Thursday would return for the final confrontation, including a fourth Prize Run, and a scholarship sponsored by Tiger Electronics.

These kids had it made.

I can't describe how much I wanted to be on this show. I remember that the show must have had the most God-awful ratings ever, because it aired (for me, in SW Pennsylvania) at either 4 or 5 in the morning, weekdays. I was in elementary school when it was on, so I had to excercise a great deal of discipline to wake that early every day. If it were still on today, I'd wake up at any time of day to watch it. I miss you, Video Power!

Interested in reliving the magic?
Intro Clip (Real Video) - http://www.poprocksandcoke.com/av/video%20power.rm
First few minutes of show (Real Audio) - http://www.atarihq.com/tsr/special/video_power.ra

PS - If anyone out there has episodes, I would be happy to pay for a copy.

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