Most of my childhood was spent either running around in the backyard or sitting in front of the television all afternoon, tuned into Nickelodeon or Disney Channel. When you are a young child of the '90s, one of the most binding nostalgia we all have are our favorite cartoons, movies, television shows, and, of course, best game shows of the '90s that stand out as the highlights of the decade. They were always bright, kooky, and a little weird, but we loved them. I don't know about you, but game shows let us kids revel in the awesome idea that running around in mud and neon colored goo without consequences was actually possible.
Granted, I don't really watch many shows and game shows tailored to the pre-teen group nowadays, but I think I can say with full confidence that nothing can really beat this Golden Era of game shows. I am a Florida kid born and raised, so, when I went to Universal Studios in Orlando, I knew very well that my favorite shows were filming oh so near, and I am still not over that fact that I was never a contestant. But, instead of moping, let's take a trip down memory lane and remember the '90s game shows our parents were terrified of us being on.
1. Legends of the Hidden Temple
Absolutely nothing beats this iconic Nickelodeon classic, which, unfortunately, only ran for three seasons, from 1993 to 1995. Six teams must make their way across a moat, and compete in various missions, to be able to enter Olmec's Temple — which seemed like most terrifying obstacle course known to man.
Guts was the proto-American Ninja Warrior for kids, and it was glorious. Lucky kids got to compete in various physical tests of strength which culminated in the AGGRO CRAG. You know what the Aggro Crag was — a mountain covered with falling foam rocks and exploding glitter. What could be better than running up that thing? The Aggro Crag trophy, of course, which seems to be snatching up a lot of money these days.
3. Double Dare
Think Family Feud with a bunch of rowdy kids. The show first aired in the late '80s until the early '90s, with host Marc Summers — you remember that dude. The rules were pretty simple: just answer some trivia questions with a mix of physical challenges, usually meant to gross you out (think melted ice cream and slime.) It was voted no. 29 on TV Guide's list of greatest game shows of all time.
4. Wild and Crazy Kids
This show is exactly what it sounds like: wild and crazy kids. This show was also a kid's dream come true, because you essentially just got to run around and do weird competitions like bumper boats and "Donkey Basketball." It was pretty much like a fever dream come to life, and that's what kids love. I liked to stage recreations of these games in my backyard with my neighbors, much to my mothers chagrin.
5. What Would You Do?
Similar to Candid Camera, Nickelodeon aired What Would You Do? in the early '90s by taping people in unusual situations and asking the audience what they would do about it. The show was also hosted by game show king, Marc Summers, and, along with the taped segments, there were tons of random messy challenges. Nickelodeon loved getting dirty, huh?
6. Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?
After the success of game shows featuring gross challenges and silly games, PBS wanted to add a little some brains to game shows for kids. In 1991, they debuted Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?, meant to add some geography lessons along with fun. Thinking back, I am not entirely sure what the premise of this show was (with those random characters and a cappella troupe) but I definitely did learn a thing or two about the world map along the way. Mission accomplished?
I think it's about time for a '90s game show marathon and chill session soon.