Shout! Factory To Reboot Starcade For Television!

Starcade thanks to the folks at Shout! Factory has earned an extra life. Talk about some unexpectedly good news, right?

Of course if you grew up in the Golden Age of the arcades. Starcade was an incredibly amazing and popular game show. Premiering on TBS back in 1982 – Starcade was really something special. Thanks in no small part to the show’s main host, Geoff Edwards.
Starcade - Geoff Edwards

Now the news about Starcade being rebooted – introduced to a new generation is awesome. A true reason to celebrate in fact. Having said that I certainly hope our friends from Shout! Factory will always take this opportunity to release the original episodes to DVD.

There isn’t a whole lot of information on what the new show will be like at this time. I have to doubt that it will focus on arcade games but who can say? They do use the term “retro-boot” in the press release:

“Shout! Factory, a multi-platform media company, has acquired worldwide television format and ancillary rights to the classic TV game show STARCADE from JM Production Company and show creators James Caruso and Mavis E. Arthur. The agreement provides Shout! Factory the rights to develop and produce a reboot of the show for television, as well as production of additional projects for a global audience. Shout! Factory will executive produce these projects with JM Production Company, creators of the original game show. This announcement was made today by Shout! Factory’s founders Richard Foos, Bob Emmer and Garson Foos; and show creators James Caruso and Mavis E. Arthur.

“STARCADE is a classic game show from the ’80s and is pure nostalgic fun. We couldn’t be more excited to work with the original show creators to ‘retro-boot’ STARCADE for a new generation of fans,” stated Shout! Factory’s founders. “As we continue to actively expand our reach into production and development for new series, movies, unscripted shows and specials, this deal exemplifies the type of content we plan to pursue which taps into the interests and passions of our company’s loyal fanbase.”

Created by James Caruso and Mavis E. Arthur, STARCADE first aired in 1982 during the dawn of the video game era and is widely recognized as the first-ever video arcade game show, featuring great gamers competing against rivals playing the most popular games of the day in front of a live studio audience in order to win huge prizes. Alex Trebek hosted one of the first pilots for the show which was later picked up by Ted Turner to air on his then-fledgling cable station, WTBS; STARCADE went on to air more than 130 episodes over three seasons on Turner.

“I consider myself lucky to have been part of the first generation to grow up playing video games and watching STARCADE in the 1980s,” said Shout! Factory’s Development Director, Jeremy Whitham. “Back then, no one could have predicted video games would one day become the world’s most popular form of entertainment. I can’t wait to see today’s crop of celebrities, pro gamers and e-sports stars compete head-to-head and find out who is the top player on the planet.”

“We’re thrilled to be part of this STARCADE revival,” said Jim Caruso and Mavis E. Arthur, producers of the original STARCADE series. “We look forward to bringing the show back for all those avid Starcaders who have been waiting for years, as well as a new class of gaming heroes. Game on!”

The deal was negotiated by Shout’s Jeremy Whitham and James Caruso, the creator and executive producer of the original STARCADE.

If you’ve not had the pleasure of seeing Starcade before – you are in for a treat. Here is an episode featuring the likes of Pengo, Gyruss, Qix, and Graplop!

[Via] Retrorama

Diary Of An Arcade Employee Podcast – Episode 010 (Dragon’s Lair)

Welcome friends to the tenth episode of the Diary of An Arcade Employee podcast! Each show I will not only discuss a particular classic arcade game but share some behind the scenes information of what it’s like to at a retro arcade. On this show I discuss Cinematronic’s 1983 smash hit “Dragon’s Lair”!

If you have any suggestions for future games to cover or comments on the show itself you may email them to me at You can also contact me on Twitter and of course on Facebook. You can also keep up to date on what is going down at the Arkadia Retrocade by making sure to “Like” their Facebook Page.

Our new ending theme entitled “River Raid” was graciously provided by the talented Tony Longworth, you can visit his official site by clicking that link or hopping over to his Soundcloud page!

If you would like to take a look at part of the Dragon’s Lair scrapbook from my youth, just click here.

Subscribe to the Diary of an Arcade Employee Podcast:
[iTunes] Subscribe to the Podcast directly in iTunes (MP3)

Directly download the Saturday Frights Podcast:
Episode Mirror #1(MP3)
Episode Mirror #2(OGG)

Cliff Hanger

‘Cliff Hanger’ LaserDisc Arcade Game Promotional Video

Back in 1983 I didn’t have the chance to play Cliff Hanger in the wilds of the arcades in my youth, but I knew about its existence thanks to the arcade game TV show Starcade! Here you can see Cliff Hanger (aka Lupin The Third) being played on that amazing TV show.

See Cliff Hanger in action on Starcade

It wouldn’t be until years later when I learned the Cliff Hanger game was actually just footage from some of the Lupin III films like the Castle of Cagliostro and the Mystery of Mamo. Still, it was a laser disc game and I always found myself regretting that I never had the chance to play the game. This despite laser games often being 50 cents a play and eating up all my money. The graphics were just so far ahead of any other games in the arcade, you could not resist.

Read What Gameshow Rocked the Arcade Scene in the 80’s? STARCADE!

A few weeks back on the No Quarter Podcast, Mike and Carrington discussed the game. In their show notes included the link to the Stern Electronics promotional video you see below. It is a remarkable relic from our gaming past.

A big thank you to Mike and Carrington for the heads up on that awesome video!

Crystal Castles Arcade Flyer (1983)

Crystal Castles - Atari - Arcade Flyers Archive
Oh the many fond memories I have of playing this classic Atari Trak-Ball arcade game at my local Showbiz Pizza. The first time I got to see this game in action wasn’t at the arcade actually but the TBS arcade game show Starcade, I was immediately hooked by it’s rather cartoon-like visuals and jaunty opening tune.

[Via] Adam Nedeff

Thanks to The Arcade Flyer Archive we can take a look at some of the various flyers that Atari released to Arcade owners to get them excited about their new game.

Crystal Castles B - Atari - Arcade Flyers Archive

Crystal Castles Info - Atari - Arcade Flyers Archive

That second Flyer image though makes me think one thing…Bentley Bear is drunk!
Bentley Bear Is Drunk


What Gameshow Rocked the Arcade Scene in the 80’s? STARCADE

In the mid eighties, you would have been hard pressed to find anyone who had not played an arcade game at least once. Both of my parents would tell you that they did not like arcade games in the least, but they would also tell you that they both had played Pac-Man a few times and smiled while they played.

In my hometown, arcades really took off and became extremely popular. On weekends there was always a line to play the most popular games. If you wanted to play Dragons Lair on a Saturday afternoon, you had better get there early or else you would be standing in line to put you fifty cents in. Luckily I enjoyed pretty much all of the arcade games, so if what I really wanted to play was’n available, I was perfectly fine playing the diamonds in the rough such as Frontline, or Ladybug.

Soon, arcade fever took such a hold that kids began skipping school and going to the arcades during the week. My favorite arcade, Aladdins Castle soon started having an actual weekday curfew where you were not even allowed to enter the arcade on Monday through Friday during normal school hours if you were of school age.

Arcade mania truly swept the world in the mid eighties. Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and Space Invaders were everywhere. You may remember the famous Pac-Man Fever album from Buckner and Garcia, which was the epitome of just how crazy for arcades the world became. Kids were trying to find ways to keep the gaming fever going during the week days when they were not allowed to be in the arcades.

Ted Turners TBS cable channel was the first to jump on the arcade bandwagon with its hit TV show Starcade.


Alex realizes he is about to crush Robert like Daniel-san does a Cobra Kai

Starcade was the ultimate show for anyone who loved playing video games. Starcade showed two opponents, typically teenagers who were clearly familiar with their local arcades and all of the games in them, squaring off against each other in a couple of ways. First a series of two questions would be asked to the contestants, one question was simply a trivia question about a video game (what were the names of the ghosts in Pac-Man?), and the second question would often be a television screen playing a game and the contestant would have to name the game being played.

Points were given for answering correctly and after the two questions were asked, the player with the highest score would then get to choose an arcade game to play from the row of arcade games that were sitting on the main stage. There were usually 5 games on the stage to choose from and they were always the latest, greatest, and newest games in the arcade. Here is an example:


I’ll break into this article here for a quick story. I actually took it upon myself to send in a self addressed stamped envelope to Starcade to try to become a contestant. My parents knew nothing about it. As luck would have it, I was chosen to be a contestant on the show. I went out to the mailbox after school one day and there was this amazing gold envelope addressed to me from someone in California. I opened it and there was this letter in the envelope which read, “Congratulations! You have been chosen to be the next winning contestant on Starcade – The Ultimate Video Game Show. There are a few things we need for you to do in order to finalize your appearance on the show.” I was absolutely beside myself when I read this! My dreams had come true. I ran inside and showed the letter to my Mom, whom I thought would have been as amazing happy as I was. Nope. My dreams = 0, Reality = 1.

Mom let me know quickly that while my heart was set on being the next Starcade champion, that just was not going to happen. Why? Well neither of my parents could get the time off work to fly to California for two days. Airfare from home to California was way too expensive as well. My dreams were absolutely dashed and Mom could easily tell. The happy ending to my story is, Mom surprised me by taking me the next night to the mall where she gave me $20 in quarters and sent me to the arcade to go crazy. Afterwards we went for pizza and while eating she surprised me with four new video games for my home systems! That turned my frown upside down real quick!

Now once the contestant chose which game they wanted to play, they were given one minute to score as many points as they could and those points would be added to their total overall score. So for example, if the contestant had 200 points from answering questions, and they chose Popeye and really were horrible at it and only scored 300 points, then their new total overall show score would be 500.

After the first game playing round, the contestants would then go back to their podiums and be asked two more questions. The player with the highest overall score at that time would then get to choose another game to play and have those points added to their total score.

Finally the player with the highest score would then win some prizes and then get a shot to choose a final game to play. If they beat a certain score on that machine, they would then actually win a full sized arcade game for themselves!

There are some interesting facts about the show that set it apart. When the show opened you saw the contestants and the show host in this huge room filled with video games and the contestants would be playing them and the host would look like he was talking to them. The announcer would announce the show and then the contestants and the host would run into the studio. Quite a unique opening for any game show.

The contestants would be given 2 hours to play as many games as they wanted before the show they were on. The show had 3 hosts in it’s lifetime, but only two of them ever made it on television. The first host was said to not know enough about video games to be a great host. Who was this host? Take a look at him here:


Alllllexxx Treeeeeeebec before his Jeopardy Days

Yes Alex Trebec shot the pilot for Starcade but was deemed unworthy of the arcade game world. Their loss and Jeopardys gain.

The contestants would actually be able to ask the show host for tips and tricks to play the games, and it turns out the host who stayed the longest, Geoff Edwards shown here:

Geoff Edwards Starcade

He was a huge video game fan and actually had some world records on some games at that time. His advice would turn out to be valuable for many of the winning players.

Most people felt they would really kill if they got on the show, but you have to remember that getting far in the games was not the point. For example finishing game boards on Donkey Kong would not ensure you would win. The player who would spend their time just jumping barrels would score much higher than someone who completed the board in a minute.

Starcade lasted for 3 seasons and then, like the arcade scene it was based on, slowly faded from popularity and soon was cut from the TBS network. You can still catch some episodes on Youtube today. The easiest one to find is the Dragons Lair episode.