Adventure! Mystery! Action!
These were the words to describe gameshows that rolled out on Nickelodeon in the 80s and 90s. There were quite a few on this list – GUTS, Legends of the Hidden Temple, Wild and Crazy Kids… the list goes on.
However, there is one show, the granddaddy of them all, that brought us joy for years upon years.
Double Dare was a game show featuring kids that ran on Nickelodeon in one form or another from 1987 to 2000; although spin-offs, Family Double Dare and Double Dare 2000, were essentially the same show with the same host.
…and I’m talking about the king: Mark Summers!
Double Dare was played in three rounds.
The first two rounds were made up, mostly, of trivia questions that, when answered correctly by the team in control, would win that team cash. If they didn’t answer correctly, control of the game then went to the opposite team and they have a chance to answer.
However, if one team didn’t know the answer they could pass it to the opposite team by saying “dare.” If that team didn’t know, they could pass it to the original team by saying “double dare.”
Finally, if the original team still doesn’t know the answer they can take the option of a “physical challenge.”
The physical challenge would be a stunt, usually something with a simple yet messy theme, that if won gave the team more cash and continued control of the game.
At the end of round two the team with the most money goes to the legendary obstacle course for round three.
Now, let’s not group the “obstacle course” with other things under the same name; forget the Navy SEAL or DELTA course – this was for REAL men.
The Double Dare obstacle course had eight obstacles that had to be finished in a minute. Once one team member completed an obstacle, they received an orange flag that they would pass to their partner (like a baton) and the partner can attempt the next obstacle. As mentioned with the physical challenges, these obstacles were disgusting; a giant, green slimed-filled nose in which the contestant has to pick to find the flag, or a whip cream-filled tub with a hidden flag…
All a dream for a kid in the 80s and 90s – the grosser the better.
Each obstacle completed would give the team more cash and if they finished they would win a grand prize – I remember it being Space Camp, but research found there were others including vacations or a car.
Whatever – it was all about Space Camp.
Double Dare has an air of nostalgia that simply can’t be beat – from the retro look, to the outfits, to the graphics. I turned on a random episode on YouTube and was instantly flashed back to my childhood; out of school for summer break and enjoying the air conditioning of my house while the temperatures break triple-digits. Even hearing Summer’s voice for the first time in 20 years took me back.
Now, I could be partial because the show was a pretty big part of my childhood, but if you want to have a great flashback afternoon, track down a few random episodes and enjoy – I know I did.