The Adventure Game, precursor to The Crystal Maze, is now out on DVD

Posted by Simply HE on

A galactic game show like no other, and a 1980s celeb-fest. The world is ready for The Adventure Game once again!

The BBC's spiritual precursor to The Crystal Maze, The Adventure Game was a part-scripted sci-fi  family game show which ran for six years from 1980-1986.

Since then it has become a cult phenomenon amongst nostalgic fans who remember it from their childhoods. It even ranked 39 on Channel 4's list of 100 Greatest Kid's TV shows!

The wonderfully bizarre The Adventure Game sees a mix of celebrities and ordinary contestants transported to the fictional planet Arg, where they are held hostage. To escape they have to solve a mix of logic puzzles and complete bizarre tasks in order to recover a crystal to help them return to Earth.

Arg's inhabitants, the "Argonds", are shape-shifting dragons who change into human form to make their human contestants feel less uncomfortable (one such shape-shifter is BBC News reader Moira Stuart!).

James Burke, Noel Edmonds, Keith Chegwin, Graeme Garden... the list of celebrity guest stars is endless! What is remarkable is how the huge range of ‘80s celebrities are incorporated into the show's structure. They are given virtually no introduction, and no opportunity to promote their latest show or book (as we see with every celebrity guest appearance today). They are simply random hostages, which makes this show even more insane!

The "special effects", as Argronds transform into human form, alongside the sets, appear very dated today. Series 1 in particular showcases laughably low production set designs but they do improve vastly across the four series.

The scripted dialogue between the Argonds is cheesy for the most part, and the deadpan delivery feels cringeworthy. Curiously it all does add to the show's peculiar charm!

The episodes feature recurring puzzles, such as the Drogna game which involves memory and logic. The escape puzzles that make up the majority of the show are what keeps you going back for more. Watching the participants wrack their brains to solve puzzles and get into the mindset of the Argonds is engrossing, tense and strangely additive.

Game shows were thought to be defunct but the recent resurrection of The Crystal Maze on Channel Four has shown the nostalgic draw of these formats has survived and is as strong as ever.

“Escape Rooms” are springing up across the country and are proving popular. People are booking these experiences as a night out with a group of friends. All goes to show, this could be the perfect time for you to venture into the weird world of The Adventure Game.

By Hannah Page

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