This is probably the closest we’ll get to that Hunger Games videogame we want

When the reality show Survivor first aired on May 31, 2000, it almost immediately become a national phenomenon. Viewers tuned in to watch the drama of a group of supposedly average people trying to compete and survive in the harsh wilderness. Like loyal sports fans, they rooted for their favorites, and they cheered when their picks won the weekly immunity challenges, which prevented contestants from being voted off the show, which was the only real threat to victory the seemingly dangerous locales presented. Those immunity challenges, at their heart, were always a concession to morality. While people tuned in for…


The ridiculous winning words to yesterday’s spelling bee championship

The Scripps National Spelling Bee, a.k.a. the spelling bee of spelling bees, ended in a two-way tie yesterday, with the winning lads both misspelling some ridiculously obscure words: “corpsbruder” (a comrade) and “antegropelos” (waterproof leggings) respectively. However, they did manage to correctly recite each letter of “stichomythia” (a type of dialogue in Greek plays) and “feuilleton” (a section of the newspaper devoted to fiction) in the final round—words I couldn’t even begin to mangle. This made me realize that spelling bees are the professional esports of word usage: we all play games, and we all use words, but 99.9999 percent…


The failed reality show Game_Jam is a descent into acid-green hell

There are many obvious problems with the failed “GAME_JAM” Iron Chef-style reality show that imploded after just a day of filming. To start with, a show based on a contest that involves participants tweaking code on their computer for hours on end doesn’t exactly make for riveting TV. And that’s before the casual sexism and moral stands; before the guy working with Pepsi demanding that everyone drink Mountain Dew or nothing at all. The grand prize was even to be “Dew Packs.” Yes, the sexism is terrible. But what I don’t understand is the persistence of the stereotype that gamers…


Jeopardy! knave Arthur Chu meets his match: bad ’80s hair metal

The Jeopardy! prodigy Arthur Chu, who bent the rules but did not break them, has had his win streak snapped at 11 games. A particularly lousy night answering trivia landed him in 3rd place in the final round, with little to no chance for shenanigans. Judging from the list of questions Chu got wrong, apparently pop music, the Spanish Inquisition, and contagious diseases aren’t his forte. “In this 1988 hit, Poison lamented that every rose has one of these.” Even I know that one.   When I wrote about Chu a month ago, he was riding high, employing a devious strategy…


The Jeopardy whiz who is breaking the game with Daily Doubles

Arthur Chu has caused a stir in front of a live studio audience by taking an unorthodox approach to Jeopardy and continuing to win. Normally, contestants play the game the same way: start with an easy question for $100, then work their way down the board to pricier trivia. Chu’s strategy has veteran fans shook up because he plays only for the Daily Doubles, which are more likely to be found at the bottom of the board. This results in a haphazard order of questions and answers that leaves the tiles in disarray. What Chu’s essentially doing is playing Jeopardy…


Was game show Legends of the Hidden Temple exploitative, hilarious or just schadenfreude?

I actually watched Legends of the Hidden Temple. A lot. Monday through Friday. It was a routine. I desperately wanted to be on the show, to run the Temple Run. It was like Indiana Jones for tweens. What I didn’t realize at my impressionable age is that it was a trial of public humiliation and shame. Courtesy SB Nation:  Emotionally fragile children were prodded through a disorienting maze in which they were expected to fulfill not-specific-enough instructions and complete a ridiculous array of trial-and-error puzzles within three minutes, a time constraint so overbearing that roughly 75 percent of the contestants failed.…