• Robison Wells

Society Could Use a Game Show

Updated: Dec 20, 2021

It's easy to think of game shows just as casual entertainment comprising a genre of TV. We can also look at them, however, as positive things for society –– shared experiences that can bring us together, and which might even boost our mental health. And because of this, there's a good argument to be made that we as a society could use a fresh game show right about now! While there are of course still game shows on the air, we haven’t really had one blow up in the U.S. recently. Popular game shows of the past represented a bit of an era, when tons of people tuned in, families watched together, people talked about results, and there was something new every time a show aired. Nowadays, we consume TV in segregated bubbles, binge-watching whatever we personally like at any time –– which is lovely in some ways but also somewhat isolating.. Given all of this, here are a few specific reasons why we might just all benefit from a new, successful game show.

It would bring people together

The last two years have been difficult for many of us –– not only because of the heath risks of the pandemic, but because of the social side effects. As a write-up by Wired put it, the social distancing we've had to practice can have "adverse psychological and physiological effects." Fortunately, we are now able to reverse those effects with some careful contact. But something that would bring whole communities of viewers together might not be a bad thing either. Indeed, much was made in the summer of 2020 about how many people felt a much-needed connection simply through watching a Michael Jordan documentary in sync with one another! Social activities such as watching a show together and having something in common to talk about are great ways to bridge the gaps that have been so psychologically trying of late. And something like a game show, that also includes some interactive elements, is particularly easy for audiences of all kinds to engage with.

A spark of light in the darkness

After these two years, it may also seem like everything on TV and in thee news is grim; there’s not much said about our current situation that would qualify as optimistic. This is all well and good in that it's important to stay informed. At the same time though, we need things that are positive and lighthearted to balance out the talk of "these unprecedented times." Regardless of the current situation, it’s never healthy to be surrounded constantly by bad news. HealthyPlace reminds us that negative thinking can destroy our mental health, and that's certainly the last thing any of us need more of. Just as many look to brighten up their evenings with sports on TV, or go-to, feel-good films, we could benefit collectively from a cheery game show to tune in for once or twice a week.

Something we're inching toward anyway

If the specific notion of a game show solution sounds somewhat random, note that it comes to mind in part because we already seem to be inching toward something like this happening. In part, this is because we've seen some attempts at hit game shows in recent years. Oddly, two NBA stars –– Dwyane Wade and LeBron James –– have both tried to get such shows off the ground. Additionally, we briefly saw the mobile "show" HQ Trivia gain popularity. None of these projects ultimately had staying power, but they did speak to appetite among producers and networks for a return of the genre. Additionally, some online casinos have begun to incorporate game shows into their repertoires. On Gala Bingo’s casino platform in particular, players can now enjoy a range of game shows run by virtual hosts and mimicking some popular shows of old. These are not shows, but the fact that they represent a sort of ascendant sub-genre of casino gaming would seem to indicate that consumers, like networks and producers, are still interested in the underlying games.

Something fun for the fun of it

Final, it's worth acknowledging that so much of what we do today is thought of as important. We work long hours, we watch news, we mind our COVID safety, we consume current events constantly through our phones and computers... But just as a hobby can be a hobby just for the sake of a hobby, a show can just be a show. Something that doesn’t require a mental or emotional workout, that we watch just to watch and talk about, is good to have. It’s nice to be able to do something for the sake of absolutely nothing apart from your own enjoyment! It may not be an idea many have considered. But a new game show phenomenon a la Millionaire in the early 2000s would be a lovely tonic for the times.

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