Mathew Klickstein wrote a piece on SplitSider on the ’90s Nickelodeon show Nick Arcade:
Bethea told me that even though video games during the late eighties had a certain stigma about them — too much of a niche market, too easily associated with the “couch potato” mentality — “We could see that video games were becoming a legitimate part of kids’ lives, replacing stamp collecting or whatever had happened before it.”
“This was something real, something they took seriously. They were acquiring a set of skills playing video games and watching television that created a knowledge base. And so the idea was that if you could tap into that knowledge base, you could create that play-at-home factor.”
“Then combine that with the end round where you actually go inside the video game, and you also serve up that other thing Nickelodeon was looking for: Fantasy fulfillment. It was an ultimate fantasy — you go inside the video game.”
If you grew up in the late 80s/early 90s, and had cable in your house, you watched Nickelodeon. And if you watched Nickelodeon, you are at least aware of Nick Arcade. If you were a geek like me, this show was indeed your fantasy. Until I read this article, I never considered how unusual it was to have an African-American host of a game show like this.
Anyone who is nostalgic for this stuff should take the time to read this lengthy piece.