Nick Arcade

This article is about the game show. For the unrelated website of the same name, see § Nick Arcade.
Nick Arcade
Created by James Bethea
Karim Miteff
Presented by Phil Moore
Narrated by Andrea Lively
Theme music composer Dan Vitco
Mark Schultz
Composer(s) Dan Vitco
Mark Schultz
Dean Friedman
James Bethea
Country of origin

United States

Mexico, titled "Zona De Juegos" (1995–2007)
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 84[1][2]
(+3 pilots)[2] (+1 unofficial unaired pilot)[3]
Location(s) Nickelodeon Studios at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) Bethea-Miteff Productions, Inc.
Original network Nickelodeon
Original release January 4 (1992-01-04) – November 6, 1992 (1992-11-06)

Nick Arcade (also stylized Nickelodeon Arcade) is an American children's game show created by James Bethea and Karim Miteff and hosted by Phil Moore, with Andrea Lively announcing, that aired on Nickelodeon in 1992 (in the first season, the shows were taped in December 1991 and aired in early 1992),[4] airing originally during weekend afternoons, with reruns airing until September 28, 1997. It was taped at Nickelodeon Studios at Universal Studios Florida in Orlando. In Nick Arcade, two teams of contestants played two initial trivia rounds, with the winner advancing to the "Video Zone" to play against the virtual "Video Game Wizard" of the day.

The show's format combined video game trivia with contestant-interactive virtual reality. The virtual reality games were designed by Bethea and Miteff for Bethea/Miteff Productions and programmed by Curt Toumainian for Saddleback/Live Studios and Dean Friedman (for InVideo Systems). The show was the first in America to regularly intermix live action with animation using a bluescreen. (Knightmare was the first show worldwide.) (The InVideo game, "Eat-a-Bug!", which aired in Bethea/Miteff-produced segments during 1989 on Nickelodeon's Total Panic, was one of the world's first regularly televised virtual reality games.)

The program's theme music and game music was composed by Dan Vitco & Mark Schultz, and produced by Schultz. Additional music for the games was composed and produced by Dean Friedman. Mikey's "walk" melody was composed by James Bethea, who also sketched the original designs for the characters of "Mikey"and several game "enemies". The Game Wizards were designed by comic book, concept art, and illustrator Rafael Kayanan.

All of the custom games and contestant scoring used on Nick Arcade were implemented on Amiga computers.


Two teams of contestants played two initial rounds, with the winner advancing to play against the "Video Game Wizard" of the day.


Each round would start with one player from each team playing a video game for thirty seconds. The games here were designed specifically for the show and are listed below.

Game Synopsis
Meteoroids Space shooter where players moved crosshairs trying to zap the most flying targets, which included asteroids and ships. The player with the higher score won.
Laser Surgeon Same shooter-type game as Meteoroids, but with an inside-the-body theme.
Brainstorm Players tried to defend a brain's neurons from an electrical impulse that ricocheted side-to-side; comparable to a sped-up Pong. The team whose side took the fewest hits won.
Battle of the Bands Same dodge-game as Brainstorm, but with an on-stage concert theme using speakers and a sound wave bouncing from side to side.
Star Defenders Same dodge-game as Brainstorm, but with players protecting their spaceships from a comet.
Post-Haste A side-scroller race-type game where players controlled a mailman trying to dodge obstacles; inspired by Paperboy. The winner was the player whose mailman moved the farthest. Appeared in Season 2 only.
Jet Jocks Same side-scrolling game as Post-Haste, but with players controlling jet skiers avoiding obstacles along a river. Appeared in Season 2 only.
Crater Rangers Same side-scrolling game as Post-Haste, but players controlled ATVs, avoiding obstacles on the moon. Appeared in Season 2 only.

These custom Face-Off games were developed by Bethea/Miteff Productions in conjunction with Saddleback/Live Studios and Psygnosis.

The winner of the face-off won 25 (first round) or 50 points (second round) for their team. If the face-off ended in a tie, a toss-up question was asked. The team also earned control of the game's cartoon mascot, "Mikey, the Video Adventurer".

Main rounds

In the main rounds, Mikey would be navigated over a thematic game-board by the teams. One team was Yellow and the other team was Red. The game-board was divided into 18 squares, and Mikey was moved around the board in one of four basic directions (up, down, left, or right) toward a "Goal" space on the board. When new squares were landed on, various events would be uncovered, including trivia quizzes, video-based puzzles, bonus instant-win prizes, automatic point-adding squares, enemies and "Video Challenges." The latter involved one player of the team playing one of five video games in an attempt to beat a certain score or accomplish a certain objective within 30 seconds. Regardless of the outcome, both teams kept any prizes won during the first two rounds of the game.

The following home systems were used in the Video Challenge:

The object was to get Mikey to the Goal, as discussed above. More often than not, the round would end prematurely due to time constraints. In such cases, Mikey was moved directly to the goal, and a question was asked; the first team to buzz in with the correct answer received the "Goal" points. Round 2 was played the same way, but with point values doubled.

Mikey's World

Mikey's World had 11 different areas of exploration. These areas included:

Location Synopsis
Pirate's Cove An old-fashioned port area including a skull-shaped island.
Cape Cosmos A space center that transported Mikey into outer space, where his adventures began for the players.
Camelittle A medieval-themed area where knights, princesses and dragons roamed and fantasy became alive.
Specific Ocean An underwater exploration area where the denizens of the deep abound.
Forgotten Desert An Egyptian-style area that harbored mystery and intrigue.
Slurpy Gulch A traditional lawless Wild West town with a southwestern feel.
Volcano Jungle A rainforest jungle with a live volcano and a village nearby.
Creepyville A haunted mansion near a spooky swamp.
Mikey's Neighborhood A normal suburban neighborhood, home to Mikey as well as a bully nicknamed "Game Over."
WeGot'Em Mall A shopping center near Mikey's neighborhood.
Time Portal A vortex that Mikey traveled through, visiting his neighborhood both in the past and the future.

Moving Mikey

There were eight different types of spaces Mikey could land on:

Each mock-up arcade cabinet actually had two systems inside, each powered on and playing the same game: One had the game running in its "attract" mode, and the other was cued up to and paused at the point where the producers wanted the game to begin. When a contestant chose a game, the input was simply switched onto the monitor (this action was edited out). With rare exception, the consoles' stock controllers were used for gameplay.

Blackboard the Pirate, Silly the Kid, and Game Over the Bully actually faced the screen, thus showing their attacks from Mikey's perspective.

The team with the most points at the end of two rounds won the game. If the game ended in a tie, a 100-point tiebreaker question was asked. The winning team advanced to the Video Zone.

The Video Zone

The Video Zone was actually a live-action video game with three levels. Using a video monitor to see themselves, the contestants would be backstage, climbing ladders, throwing "snowballs", and using a boat in front of a bluescreen attempting to achieve previously explained goals (which was always to obtain three objects) for each level of the game.

As in a traditional video game, players could be "damaged" by hazards and enemy characters. If they lost all of their power (five units, as shown by an on-screen gauge), the screen would fade to grey, and they would have to start the stage over and repeat its objectives until successful (a couple of season 1 episodes had a message that read "Try again. Press START to continue."). In addition, each level contained a 'power-up' that appeared periodically that, when touched, gave the player an added advantage in that level—destroying all onscreen enemies, freezing enemies for 5 seconds (rendering them harmless), restoring the team's power meter to maximum, etc.

The team had 60 seconds to clear all three levels. Each item touched won the team $50 to split, and each level cleared won a prize of increasing value. Successfully beating the Game Wizard in the final level won the grand prize, which was usually a vacation. If time ran out before the team completed the game, a "laugh"-like sound played, the screen faded to red, and the words "GAME OVER" appeared on the screen.

Level 1

Season 2 only

Level 2

Season 2 only

Level 3

Both players, sharing one energy gauge, teamed up for the last level, which was a face-off against one of three villains that rotated throughout the show's run, the evil wizard Merlock who conjured lightning bolts, a fireball-throwing sorceress named Scorchia; and armor-clad Mongo who tossed balls of energy. To defeat them, the players had to touch three orbs before time expired, while trying to avoid the Game Wizard and the projectiles he or she was throwing, the ghostly creatures flying around the room, and the beams of lightning, fire, or energy (depending on who the Wizard was) that erupted from the ground. If either player touched a spinning hourglass that randomly appeared, all enemies and hazards would be immobilized and rendered harmless for five seconds.

Upon the Wizard's defeat (if the players succeeded), depending on who the players faced, Merlock would disintegrate into a pile of dust, Scorchia's body would burn to ashes and blow away, and Mongo would vanish in a flash of light, leaving only his armor behind. The message "You did it! You beat the game." would appear across the screen.

In Season 1, the Wizards had nearly identical rooms (with only different color schemes depending on the Wizard with Merlock in a purple room, Scorchia in a red-orange room, and Mongo in a green room). In Season 2, the mechanics were the same as before, but each Wizard was given a more customized room to better fit his or her theme as follows:

Notable celebrities


  1. The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows: 1946-present, by Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh
  2. 1 2 Miteff, Karim. "Nickelodeon Arcade". Karim Miteff Online. Retrieved 24 June 2010.
  3. 1 2
  4. Nickelodeon Studios — A History RetroJunk
  5. Biz Buzz -- November 17, 2003, by Andy Eddy, at Retrieved 2008-06-26.
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