My Hopes for “The Price is Right Bingo”

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013
Yes, I know I8 doesn't really exist, but you know, for the sake of the joke, people...

Haven’t I seen this game somewhere B4? Must’ve been something I8.

The other day as I was looking over messages on my Facebook page, I noticed that there was an ad for a new bingo game on the site based on The Price Is Right.  It felt to me like the world stopped turning for a few seconds while I tried to take this in.  There are times when I like to pass the time with a quick game of online bingo and watch The Price is Right.  Put the two together?  Well, I don’t plan on being in front of my computer all day, but I do want to give the game a shot.  Bingo with Bob Barker might be one of the best combinations I’ve ever seen since that Reese’s guy put peanut butter and chocolate together.

From what I have seen from previews and screenshots of the game so far, the game makers seem to have the basics of bingo well in hand and matched up with a few show features already.  Getting a bingo will allow the player to participate in a minigame based on the familiar toss-up game where contestants bid on prizes.  Players can also somehow earn “Master Keys” which can unlock bonus prizes such as decorations, wallpaper, and other cosmetic features; I wonder if the “Master Key” pricing game is in there as well.  You can also spin the big wheel from the Showcase Showdown to get a multiplier which can increase your winnings, a feature I naturally assumed would be implemented in just that way.  I think all of these make for nice bookends for each game you play and they are a pretty big part of the show so I’m glad they made it in there.

The different bingo rooms in the game seem to have themes based on different pricing games from the show.  However, from what I have seen so far, I do not think any elements from the games themselves play a role in the actual bingo gameplay.  I’m surprised at that because when I first heard about the game, I kept picturing images of Plinko chips being placed on random numbers on a bingo card.  Thinking a little further, I started imagining gimmicks that the game makers could take from different pricing games and match up with an aspect of bingo.  For example, if the room theme was “Secret X,” one column on your bingo card could be hidden from view.  At the end of the game, the column would flip over and reveal a hidden marked number, just like the hidden X in the namesake pricing game.  If that number fell into a line of other numbers you had marked, you would have an instant bingo.  Also, I think it would be interesting to have players write out their own row of numbers at the beginning of a bingo round, in a manner similar to writing out your amount in “Check Game.”  Small additions like these could bring out the personality of the show a bit more while staying true to the traditional gameplay of bingo.

If ever there was a true application of the phrase, “two great tastes that taste great together,” then that might be The Price is Right Bingo.  It is a combination I never expected to see, but which I now can’t wait to check out.  After I “Come on down,” I hope to have a review of it for all of you shortly. 

What do you think of this new game, and would you want to play it?  If you’ve played it already, is there anything you like or dislike about it?  What would you add or take from it?  Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Looking Forward to The Next Three Days

Saturday, March 30th, 2013

Sorry I haven’t been blogging too much this week, guys.  I’ve been a little busy writing my next column for AutismAfter16 and getting started preparing a speech I’m going to give at a meeting of a local special education group.  I’ve wanted to write some more blog posts, but I also want to tighten up these other pieces of writing and they took a bit more time to work out than I anticipated.  I’m still looking forward to this weekend and this coming April Fools Day, though, because there’s a lot of other stuff coming up during that time which I am really excited about.  Here’s a few of the reasons why I’m so pumped for the next three days.  (And before you mention that Easter Sunday falls on this weekend, yes, I’m aware of that, and it is certainly very important to me, but I want to focus on some other stuff you might not know about.)

Syracuse is in the Elite Eight!

The NCAA men’s basketball tournament is in full swing, and heading into this weekend’s games, my hometown team, the Syracuse Orange, is in the quarterfinals.  I caught small portions of the team’s first few games on TV, but I haven’t watched a full game yet.  I intend to take a little time to watch their quarterfinal game against Marquette on Saturday and see how they do.  I’ve watched a few college basketball games in recent months, and I really appreciate how quickly they can go, unlike football and baseball games which, to me, seem to move at a snail’s pace and sometimes even slower than that.  I think the Syracuse game will be a fast and fun diversion for me, and I might check out the other Elite Eight games, too.

Two of my favorite game shows are doing special episodes on April Fools Day!

It’s been a tradition for the past few years for The Price is Right to air special episodes on April Fools Day in which things get a bit weird.  For instance, the 2009 edition saw everyone on the show from host Drew Carey to the models and even the contestants all wearing Groucho glasses, Drew’s friend Kathy Kinney making a cameo appearance as Mimi Bobeck, her character from The Drew Carey Show, to serve as a model, and one of the Showcases at the end featuring all of the items facing away from the camera, even the car!  The 2010 show , the first April Fools show I remember seeing, featured Kathy Kinney returning as Mimi to act as an executive producer for the day and going on the ultimate power trip; the highlight was probably the Showcase round with both contestants bidding on the exact same prizes, except that the second contestant’s version had an added Mini Cooper.  The 2011 show (here’s part 1, part 2, and part 3) was easily the weirdest game show episode I have ever seen, where just about everything on the show managed to go wrong in some way, and the special “ten thousandth thing” Drew kept saying was going to happen on the show never actually occurred.  It was one of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen, and I’ve wanted to see something like it again ever since.  I missed last year’s show, but I hope to see what they will do this year.  From it’s description, this year’s April Fools show sounds a little less weird to me; Drew and announcer George Gray will serve as models while the regular models take turns hosting the show.  I sure hope things will be stranger than normal.

On the same day, Let’s Make a Deal will have a special April Fools episode.  I don’t recall Deal ever doing an April Fools’ show before, so their first try should be very interesting.  Several contestants who got losing “zonk” prizes during past episodes will return in this show to try to get something better, and host Wayne Brady has promised to do a special group deal involving the entire audience.  If it’s as strange as the Price is Right April Fools shows have been, then I’ll be quite the happy camper.

Sale of the Century is coming to GSN!

A couple of weeks ago, I was perusing one of the game show news websites I have bookmarked on my iPad, when I saw a breaking news story on it that took me quite by surprise.  I thought it might be an early April Fools prank, although it was further supported by an ad that started airing on GSN (the name Game Show Network has gone by for the past few years) which said the same thing: Sale of the Century is coming to GSN on April 1st at 9:30 A.M. Eastern time!  I really hope this news is true, because over the past few months, Sale has become one of my favorite game shows ever.  It feels like Jeopardy crossed with Let’s Make a Deal.  Some general knowledge questions are asked with correct answers earning contestants a bit of money.  Every so often, the contestant in the lead has the opportunity to “buy” luxury items such as furniture or exotic trips at the cost of a portion of their earnings.  The contestant with the most money at the end gets a fabulous prize like a 52-day cruise, a ten thousand dollar check, or even a new car if they stay on the show long enough.  I’ve watched a few episodes of Sale on YouTube, and it looks like it could be a really fun show for me to play along with.  There’s also a bunch of new episodes of other classic game shows on GSN on April 1, so that could be a really good day for me to “call in sick,” at least in the morning.  I sure hope those new shows aren’t an elaborate prank.

These are a few things I’m anticipating over the course of the next three days, and I’m sure there will be a few surprises along the way.  Leave your thoughts in the comments, and have a great weekend, everybody!

Pop Culture Questions (And My Answers!) 2: Walking the Plink

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

A new batch of pop culture questions have popped into my head since the last time we met.  These are becoming very fun for me to think about and come up with answers to, and I hope you are enjoying them.  This time, let’s start off in that magical realm sandwiched between the talk shows and the soaps, the home of spinning wheels, big bucks, and the proverbial “No Whammies,” daytime game shows.

How come Plinko is called Plinko? 

I’m a big fan of the game of Plinko from The Price is Right (the one where contestants drop a bunch of oversized poker chips down a peg-filled vertical board to win up to fifty thousand dollars), but I think it could have easily been called something else.  From what I have read, the name of the game comes from the distinct “plink” sound the chips make as they hit the pegs on the board.  Depending on how one thinks of the sound, I can imagine that the game could have had a different name.  Who wouldn’t want to play “Plonk-o,” “Plunk-o,” “Plank-O,” “Bump-o,” or even “Metallic-impact-off-of-a-peg-on-a-vertical-board-o?”  I’ve also heard “plink” being used to describe the sound made when you pluck guitar strings with a pick.  Maybe it’s time for a version of Plinko where you toss acoustic guitars down the board instead of chips.  I would really like to hear the sounds that game might make!     

How come Charlie Bucket is the successor to Willy Wonka, but the other kids don’t get jack squat?

At the end of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (spoiler alert for anyone who hasn’t read the book or seen either of its movie adaptations), Charlie Bucket, the last boy remaining from one of the world’s strangest tour groups, is selected by eccentric candy maker Willy Wonka to be his successor, promising to put him in charge of the factory and the Oompa-Loompas when he comes of age.  There’s a part of me that feels the other kids got the short end of the stick, though.  After all, Charlie may have come from nothingness to achieve great things, but as far as I’m concerned, beyond a good heart and what seems to be a good head on his shoulders, I don’t know if he’s got what it takes to keep a chocolate factory up and running. 

If he really wants to be a success, I think Charlie should bring the other kids into the fold and put them in charge of certain factory departments that could use some new life.  Augustus Gloop could lead personal tours of the chocolate room and lead swimming classes in the chocolate river on alternate Thursdays (Of course, they’d need to seal up the pipes whenever he was around, but what’s a few lost hours of business when the whole community can get some exercise?).  Veruca Salt could head up the new roast goose (or roast squirrel if you read the book or saw the second movie) division which could diversify the factory’s food offerings.  Violet Beaureguarde might have some good ideas for new types of gum or ways to work blueberries into existing candy recipes, and if we’re going with the first movie’s Violet, then I think her dad, the used car salesman, could put together an aggressive advertising campaign.  Mike Teavee, having experienced the wonders of television chocolate firsthand, could work with the Oompa-Loompas to send small samples of candy products over the airwaves and thus creating the phrase “must-eat TV”; at least you could put him to work with a focus group watching the commercials Violet’s dad makes and testing the general public to see if is ready for distribution.  If Charlie puts the kids to work in the right ways, at least the little brats won’t be terrorizing the rest of the world!        

How come “I am the Eggman, they are the Eggmen, I am the Walrus (goo goo gachoo)?”

To be quite honest, I always thought this lyric from the Beatles’ “I Am the Walrus” was a little weird, although it is very catchy.  The whole song itself is a bit out to lunch, but for me, this part really takes the first prize in terms of absolute lunacy.  If I were to take this lyric literally (and why wouldn’t I?), I would be both the Eggman and the Walrus, but there would still be two or more Eggmen off in a corner somewhere, “sitting on a pillow, waiting for the van to come” (and take them away from this crazy song?).  Who are these other Eggmen, and what are they doing elbowing in on my Eggman-based territory?  How can I be both an Eggman and a Walrus?  Am I an Eggman dressed as a walrus or at least wearing a walrus pelt?  Am I a walrus wearing the husk of an Eggman (and would I be arrested if I did that in real life)?  What’s the “goo goo gachoo” part for; is it the cry of a baby confused by why Uncle Paul McCartney and his three weird friends are singing a weird lullaby?  I think there’s a lot more questions this song raises than it actually answers!

I hope you all enjoyed this question-and-answer session as much I enjoyed writing it.  If you have any other questions you’d like to see answered, let me know in the comments.  Thanks for reading, and be careful about what cornflakes you sit on!