How much walking along a line will there be?

By | June 23, 2021

Can’t wait to see someone gamble £100,000 for a million or whatever, only to be mysteriously told they were a “a bit off tonight.”

I’m sure it won’t happen, it’s just that the release makes it sounds like it might happen.

5 thoughts on “How much walking along a line will there be?

  1. Joey Clarke

    Hopefully it won’t be a complete and colossal bust like Red or Black was.

  2. Chris M. Dickson

    I’ve found a YouTube channel which mostly features a very interesting little dead-end sidenote in the history of cable and interactive TV. QUBE (a name that has been reused for all sorts of things) was a cable system operated by a part of the Warner Bros.’ parent company in half a dozen mid-major US markets in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It featured a humungous controller to let people select from a grid of 30 (later 60) channels; there were also five buttons that could be pressed to feed data back to the channel in real time through some sort of return path. This could be used for live polling for simple real-time interactive TV applications. Many of these, inevitably, were game shows.

    The most famous of these is How Do You Like Your Eggs?, which drew in no less a star than Bill Cullen to host it, which is perhaps the equivalent of MIchael Barrymore making a return to television on one of the UK Channel 8 local TV stations; the Jon QUBE channel has four episodes of this, the fourth of which makes a virtue of the fact that it is getting live responses from as many as 168, count ’em, families. No wonder the system lost money hand over fist – it would probably have been cheaper to send Cullen in a taxi to visit the 168 families one by one.

    The channel has several other game shows and game show pilots, mostly interesting conceptually and duds creatively. One extremely interesting one, though, does the thing I would have considered absolutely the most exciting thing possible at the time in 1982: a simple live interactive fantasy role-playing game TV show. It’s really just choose your own adventure, slightly gussied up with some of the trappings of yer D and yer D. The production values are a mix of better than you’d expect and towards the lower end of “as bad as you’d expect”, but it’s fascinating from a slightly subtly hidden railroading perspective.

    The show is called Swordquest – a name that seems to be cursed, considering the subsequent Atari VCS console cartridge fiasco with a similar title – and uses the instrumental from Rick Wakeman’s Arthur (a.k.a. the One True BBC Election TV coverage theme) and I’m absolutely sure (cough) that they paid the rights fees for it. I don’t think this is at all well-known, even among fans (like myself) of nerdy RPG-like TV shows, so do have at it on the Jon QUBE TV channel.

    1. Mr Babbage

      I’ve been obsessed with QUBE since I first saw it on the Oddity Archive. It looks like they tried a lot of quasi interactive things, including observation games and the like.
      The technology was impressive, but it was a solution looking for a problem really.

      1. Chris M. Dickson

        The UK had, or at least piloted, possibly comparable (though I suspect rather slower?) system called “Two Way TV” in the mid-’90s. I can remember seeing adverts and reading discussion of it, but it’s such a generic name that I haven’t been able to find evidence of it after the fact surviving today. For a while I thought there was connection with 2waytraffic who bought Celador and who were in turn bought by Sony, but I now tend to believe it’s just nomenclature coincidence.


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