Starcade (1982) [Party TV]


For some reason, it's fun to watch people play video games, even if you're not playing yourself. Also, vintage video games are pretty fascinating, as it isn't hard to find something cool that you've never even heard of.

Starcade is an early 80's video game show where contestants compete at different arcade games. It's very satisfying, and is a bit of a lost gem from the time when the industry was having a tough time.


The format is pretty simple in regular episodes (special episodes do exist where the rules are mixed up a bit). It involved two contestants competing head-to-head at a series of arcade games. Their scores are tallied and whoever is in the lead is given a special challenge to complete. Just on it's own, this setup produces a fun show, but Starcade has an unintended bonus for viewers: it's completely cheesy and awkward, and it's hard to pinpoint why.

The contestants themselves are understandably either kids or geeky college students who all have a hard time being comfortable on camera, while the host tries his hardest to provide the show with the same kind of banter as on Family Feud. Maybe it has something to do with the lack of audience reaction, but every attempted joke is uncomfortable and delightfully awkward.

All the episodes are pretty much available on youtube, and it's a great show to have going in the background for ambiance at any geek party.