If you're in the mood for some classic arcade action, then you'll want to tune into the Shout Factory Twith feed in a couple of weeks. From Aug. 28 to Sept. 3, they'll be marathoning the entire run of the popular 1980s game show, Starcade, which pitted contestants against each other in classic video game challenges.
Starcade was actually the first video-game related competition show, offering up all sorts of trivia and helpful tips about classic arcade games (they weren't classic at the time) when it aired from 1982-1984. The show featured games like Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Galaga and Centipede and originally aired on WTBS, which eventually became TBS. As the press release from Shout Factory points out, the show isn't really available for easy viewing anywhere and hasn't popped up regularly on television in over a decade.
To remedy that, they'll be streaming the entire run of the show for one full week on Twitch, which we imagine is going to make for some pretty fantastic communal viewing. To keep things moving, interstitials and game intros will be hosted by Erika Ishii of Geek & Sundry fame.
According to the announcement, Shout Factory realized after their recent marathon of Mystery Science Theater 3000 that there is an audience for this classic programming. Of course there's a new MST3K now so, who knows, maybe we'll get a new Starcade too. I would say that seems a bit unlikely but, then again, Nintendo sure seems interested in bringing back their World Championships these days. They held one just a couple of years ago at E3 and will be hosting another one here in 2017. With eSports like Overwatch League taking off and Paris considering their inclusion in the 2024 Olympic games, maybe now is the time to bring back more televised gaming competitions.
What sets Starcade apart from eSports is that it isn't pitting players against each other in games like Call of Duty or Street Fighter. Instead, they plopped players in front of a bunch of different machines and had them compete against certain objectives in a set period of time. Most eSports competitors are really good at their one game. Starcade players had to be good at a whole bunch of different games, or at least be able to figure them out and succeed on the fly.
The added bonus of Starcade was that it introduced folks to games they might not have heard about before. Originally that was because some of those folks didn't frequent arcades. We have a similar problem these days, but now games go overlooked because there market is just so crowded. Maybe something like a Starcade revival would serve as a good way to get some less-known games into the spotlight.
Tune in next week, when I take some time to explain to all of you young'uns what, exactly, an "arcade" is.