Weekend Roundtable: Favorite TV Game Show

Who doesn’t love to play games? Everybody loves to play games. Watching other people play them on TV can be a lot of fun too. For this week’s Roundtable, let’s discuss our favorite TV game shows.

Shannon Nutt

This week’s Roundtable topic is so dumb! (Audience: HOW DUMB IS IT?!) It’s so dumb that instead of sending my editor my submission, I sent him my ______ .

That’s right, when it comes to game shows, nothing beats ‘Match Game‘. It played on TV in several different iterations over the years, but the best was the mid-1970s version on CBS, with Gene Rayburn as host and celebrities Charles Nelson Reilly and Brett Somers as permanent panelists on the show. For those not aware of the rules, the show would basically ask contestants “Fill in the Blank” questions like the above and whoever matched the most answers from the panel over several rounds would win the game and get to the bonus round for a chance at a cash prize.

The fun of ‘Match Game’ was all about the celebrity guests, who would often give hilarious (and more often than not, sexually charged) answers to the questions Rayburn posed. Reilly and Somers were so good together that many at home actually thought they were a couple in real life. (That’s funny in retrospect, as most of us now know of Reilly’s sexual orientation, which of course was a taboo TV topic back in the ’70s). Like many game shows of that era, ‘Match Game’ was more about the guest stars than the game itself, and even 40 years later, the show is still as funny as ______.

Brian Hoss

As much as I love trivia knowledge and games of chance, the 1980s-’90s ‘American Gladiators‘ easily crushes the game show competition much like a real-life version of ‘The Running Man’ movie. The concept was a perfect David versus Goliath format, with events like Joust and Powerball seeing contestants out-sized, while Assault and the Eliminator suited the wiry visitors.

Assault was my favorite because it could be won by either shooting the gladiator with one of the many varied Nerf-style weapons or by making it across the arena without taking a hit from the tennis ball canon. Atlasphere may be the show’s most iconic event, but wow did it seem hard to get points. The excess and steroid culture of the era helped make the show sizzle, but it was also bolstered by a certain gravity that came not from the meager prize money or distinct notes about the contestants, but from the presentation and commitment from those playing.

Luke Hickman

Some may argue that it’s a Reality show, but filled with challenges and wit – something Reality shows don’t often possess – I consider ‘Survivor‘ a game show. Not only is it fun to watch the contestants go head-to-head with taxing physical and mental obstacles, but I find myself playing along and asking myself, “How would I approach this challenge?” and “Could I do it any better?” If you catch the season from the beginning, it’s fun to pick a player that you predict will win and see the season play out. I like picking alliances too and guessing who will be the best and who will betray. I refuse to watch Reality TV, but I love ‘Survivor’.

Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)

I wouldn’t consider Nickelodeon’s ‘Make the Grade‘ to be my favorite TV game show, but it’s the only one I’ve ever been a contestant on, so I guess it’s worth a mention anyway. Just try to beat that, Other Roundtable People! (I came in last place, though, so 11-year-old Adam isn’t too much of a force to be reckoned with.)

Make the Grade – Joey/Danielle/Adam by jpatterson22

Josh Zyber

When I sent out this topic, I felt certain that nobody else would remember ‘Match Game’. Mrs. Z and I got addicted to watching reruns of that on the Game Show Network.

Since Shannon beat me to that, I’ll try to go highbrow here and pick America’s classic answers-and-questions game, ‘Jeopardy!‘. It makes me feel smart to watch it, even if I can’t get a tenth of the answers correct on my own (or, let’s be honest, usually a twentieth). What really makes the show is Alex Trebek’s air of condescension whenever a contestant gets an answer wrong – as if he just can’t believe they didn’t know that the capital of Papua New Guinea is Port Moresby. (Yes, I had to look that up, just like the show’s writers do before they hand Trebek all the answers.) I can’t imagine anyone else taking over if he ever retires. That’ll have to be the end of the show.

What are your favorite TV game shows? Tell us in the Comments.


  1. Cameron

    I think the great Richard Dawson is one of the best things to ever happen to game shows. Match Game and his Family Feud will always be my favorite of all time!

  2. NJScorpio

    I have fond memories of MTV’s ‘Remote Control’, as well as ‘Nick Arcade’.

    As for shows still on the air, I think I’ll always enjoy ‘Family Feud’.

    • NJScorpio

      Oh…and if ‘Where In The World Is Carmen SanDiego?” is considered a game show, then that…that was my favorite.

  3. The Price is Right has always been a favorite growing up. Family Feud with Richard Dawson. It was before my time, but The Liar’ Club was pretty awesome.

    • photogdave

      The New Liar’s Club is absolutely hilarious! (Not sure if there is an old Liar’s Club?)
      John Barbour of Real People was the defacto celeb guest but regular panelists included Shannon Tweed (Mrs. Gene Simmons), Jimmie Walker (Dyno-mite!), Pete Barbutti (Johnny Carson’s favorite comedian) and James Doohan!
      Filmed in Vancouver in the late 80s, this show has the cheapest prizes, cheesiest lines and the worst-dressed contestants.
      Totally awesome!

  4. I still record Jeopardy and binge watch it with friends. We’ve turned it into a drinking game…each time Alex looks disgusted by a wrong answer, we all take a shot. *hic*

        • I suppose I could search the web for that particular episode, although it sounds like a long and tedious procedure. My brother’s girlfriend’s brother was a contestant (he was in my home room class) i suppose I could see if he has a copy of it somewhere.

      • I desperately wanted to be on Double Dare when I was in sixth grade! That’s actually how I wound up on Make the Grade. My father and I were at Universal Studios Florida shortly after it opened, and we were trying to figure out how to get me on Double Dare. They weren’t shooting that day, but they were looking for contestants for Make the Grade, and…well, the embedded video up there shows how all that panned out.

  5. Bill

    Jeopardy for sure with either Art James or Alex Trebek but also Concentration with Hugh Downs. I can still hear the distinctive clicking sound of the panels on the game board. Two more: Let’s Make A Deal with Monty Hall and the original Price Is Right which was played seriously rather than as a party game (times were different). I could go on but I’ll leave it to allow others to contribute.

    Good idea for a roundtable, Josh.

  6. Nathan

    Love Connection was perfect 80s cheese, and though not my favorite I felt it worth mentioning. I’d have to go with “The Newlywed Game” as my all time favorite. Plenty of sexually charged answers in that one.

  7. Timcharger

    Is there are new film release about game shows?
    Big current events news about game shows?
    Usually there’s a tie-in to the topic of the roundtable, no?

  8. I’m not sure if QI really counts as a game show, but it’s a huge favorite with me.

    When it comes to ‘proper’ game shows, though. I’ll give my vote to POINTLESS. Basically the same idea as FAMILY FEUD. Ask 100 people a question. e.g. “Name countries with a red, white and blue flag”. If 75 people answered USA, that answer is worth 75 points. Unlike FAMILY FEUD, though, the object of the game is to score as few points as possible. i.e. you have to find a correct answer that as few people as possible will know. If you give a wrong answer, you’ll score 100 points.

    I also liked ARE YOU SMARTER THAN A FIFTH GRADER, but that might be because I really like Jeff Foxworthy.

  9. William Henley

    We had Nickelodeon when I first started discovering gameshows. So, probably more from Nostalgia reasons, my favorites were Double Dare, Finder’s Keepers, Legend of the Hidden Temple, Where In the World is Carmen Sandiago, I’m Telling, Fun House, and Video Power.

    Now, I like games I can play along with. Family Feud, Wheel of Fortune, Who Wants To Be a Milionaire, Match Game, etc are shows I like.

    I don’t care for shows that are impossibly difficult, such as Jeopordy, games where they have unrealistic prices, like Price is Right, or games that rely on luck, such as Let’s Make a Deal or Deal or No Deal.

  10. Going all over the place here folks:
    Press Your Luck, 1 Vs 100, Jeopardy!, Deal or No Deal, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Family Feud (Steve Harvey or Richard Dawson,) The Chase & Supermarket Sweep.

  11. Charles Contreras

    I gotta go along with Family Fued with Richard Dawson, as well as Match Game, which I saw when it originally aired. Name That Tune was another one from the seventies (I can name that tune in five notes). I’m not sure if The Gong Show qualifies, but it was fun to watch. These days, if I’m near a tv, I’ll try to catch Wheel of Fortune.

  12. Bryan

    If you really want to go out on a limb, you could call National Lampoon’s European Vacation a game show movie! (They win their trip on “Pig In a Poke” – a made-up game for the movie …)

    • Bryan

      Forgot to list my favorite game shows – I was always partial to Press Your Luck. Big bucks, no whammies! I also strangely loved Card Sharks.

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