Dr. Camp yet again is torturing me by sending me emails with little to no context.
“90’s game shows.” was all the email said, and with my vast knowledge I sent him a laundry list of the shows I have wanted to, but have yet to review. He comes back with 2 titles highlighted in baby blue.
“Masters of the Maze” and “Nickelodeon Guts”
I know I did “Haunted House” for Halloween, so what’s the shame in doing a few more game show reviews right? At least I’m not known as “The Power Rangers Guy”, but I got a feeling I will be eventually.
The History of Masters of the Maze was a weird one, as it was the love child of Australian puzzle creator Fenton Rosewame, (Creator of Fenton’s Maze) and Hal Berger who happened to be the designer of the fucking Power Glove. Through Berger’s company “IMAGE Design and Entertainment” sold it to Tiger Electronics, and sold the show rights to “The Family Channel”
Masters of the Maze was a show that aired daily for eighty episodes over 2 seasons on the Family Channel (Which famously known in 2001 as ABC Family and now called Freeform), with everybody’s favorite dude-bro game show host of the nineties, JD Roth, for the host of season one. For season two, fucking A.C Slater came in for the hosting position. To this day, there is no information I can find that leads us to answer the question of “Why did this happen?” The audition process appeared to be a fucking joke as there was only five hundred kids that auditioned for the contestant spots, that included a story telling exercise and traversing a maze of folding chairs blindfolded. Seems too fucking easy. They would end up shooting five episodes a day making the entire run put in the can in only sixteen days!
The format of the show was pretty basic for the nineties, half of a two person team would answer questions in front of a video wall in the first half of the game and the second half is the most impressive of the entire show. The maze itself had three parts: “The Mirror Maze”, “The HoneyComb Maze” (“The Ice Cave in Season 2), and “The Chamber of Knowledge”. While the contestants were going through, they had to pick up 2 “Power Sticks” along the way. The reason why this was so impressive looking back at it, was because it was filmed on a 65-by-85 soundstage, tucked behind all of the main set pieces at the location of the bonus game, “Prize Mountain”. All of these parts had to be small, yet impactful enough to represent the post game. “Prize Mountain” was very bland at best. One of the team members would be manning a control stick on the other side of the stage. The other one would stand in front of a monitor and yell “FIRE!”. If the teammate could shoot “PRIZE” on 3 of the 5 monitors they would win the grand prize of a $500 shopping spree at “Sharper Image of Beverly Hills.” So, they would purchase one thing for both of them.
The winning team, who ever completed the maze the fastest, wins a trophy made from one of the power sticks and goes on a “Special Journey”, which was being turned into a ball of 3-D effects and goes into the video wall from Round 1. Not the most impressive looking television effect, but as a kid it was.
If I was able to get this back on the air, with newest computer graphics, (Much like Secrets of the Cryptkeeper’s Haunted House) I would totally bring back JD as host but completely redo everything from the ground up, including the bonus game. Having a tournament of champions with the old contestants for cash prizes would also be a good idea. If Double Dare, and Jeopardy did it, why can’t most competitive shows with a lengthy historic lineage do it as well. I would love to relive this as it had a cult like following and be “That 90’s Kid” all over again.