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Dudes and dudettes, enjoy this mondo rad TV show about video games from 1991

By John Teti • May 23, 2013

It’s the recipe for a YouTube treasure: Take a few cynical TV producers, a low budget, and a desperation to emulate what the kids think is cool these days. Combine on VHS tape, and age 20 years or so. Today, thanks to the efforts of YouTube user Nick Fricke, I discovered GamePro TV simmering in the long-term Crock-Pot of forgotten TV. And it is delicious. Debuting in 1990, GamePro TV was a mélange of cheat codes, strategy tips, hasty reviews, and totally mondo riffs on video game culture. J.D. Roth hosted—he was then known for hosting the kids’ game show Fun House, using the broadest definition of “known”—alongside Brennan Howard, who played some sort of burnout surfer-dude character.

The show is fun mostly because it so thoroughly encapsulates the chintzy mass-market youth culture of the early ’90s, but there are specific delights throughout the episode embedded above. Such as:

  • A bizarre eulogy gag goes nowhere—and opens the show, to boot.
  • There is no production question for which a crude green-screen effect is not the answer.
  • Whenever the stoner co-host pauses between sentences, you can hear the actor’s fatigue and his struggle to maintain a duderiffic facade.
  • “You have these earthquake sound effects that just have looking around, like, ‘Bwud?! Am I in San Francisco or what?’”
  • One of the games is called TV Sports Basketball.
  • All of the game footage was captured by someone who is not that good at video games. (The Castlevania footage in particular is nothing but failure.)
  • Flubbed line readings are apparently not reason enough to do a retake. “Can you?…Help?” “Put it to the test—put US to the test!”
  • Roth holds a GamePro T-shirt upside-down but then makes what is actually a pretty nice save. Smooth.
  • The “Call in with your high scores!” segment apparently works on the honor system. The “95,950 points” score sounds especially made-up.
  • “We’re talkin’ some mondo serious bad guys here, bud.”
  • After his co-host reviews a lousy X-Men game, Roth remarks, “Sounds like you liked it a lot!” when the opposite is clearly true.
  • An adorable kid from Manhattan Beach brings a touch of cabaret flair to his viewer-tip segment.
  • The editors of GamePro are billed as “Gonzos” in the credits.

Thank you, producers of GamePro TV, for having so little dignity all those years ago.

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23 Responses to “Dudes and dudettes, enjoy this mondo rad TV show about video games from 1991”

  1. CNightwing says:

    That’s a pretty early use of a smiley in that high-score cheat code.

    • John Teti says:

      Yeah! Such that Roth didn’t even know what it was. I also like the singular of “parentheses” rendered as “parenthese.”

  2. ChicaneryTheYounger says:

    Jesus Christ, they say dude more than Bill and Ted. Wyld fuckin’ Stallyons.

    • lokimotive says:

      I’m more concerned with how often he says, “Now…” in his Super Ghouls ‘n’ Ghosts review.

      • ChicaneryTheYounger says:

        I gave up pretty early in and skipped to the Wolverine bit. Mutant Terrorists, dude!

  3. Bad Horse says:

    The TRACKING just seals the deal.

  4. stogiesnsuds says:

    How I used to watch GamePro TV: step 1) don Hammer pants 2) grab a Kool-Aid Squeeze 3) Lace up my Rollerblades 4) soak in the UHF awesomeness 

  5. lokimotive says:

    I love the colloquial usage of ‘carts’. The first time I saw that was in some game magazine that had a special feature called ‘Carts that go bump in the night’, which listed some ‘scary’ games, such as Castelvania III. I was completely confused by that usage because I couldn’t help but picture shopping carts lolling about in the dark banging into things.

  6. Citric says:

    It’s a shame that GamePro is dead, they’ve given us so much, from this to the PROTIP.

  7. Zack Handlen says:

    Warp city! 

  8. In Canada, we had “Video & Arcade Top 10”, which somehow managed to last for 15 years.

    My favourite memory was their bizarre decision to use “Maniac Mansion” in a competition segment. I have no idea how they judged it.

    • Marozeph says:

      They probably should’ve used a Sierra Adventure: “Whoever survives longest, wins!”

  9. Dudes, most excellent vid I’ve gotten all morning.

  10. CNightwing says:

    See, in 1992 in the UK we got Gamesmaster, which was sorely lacking in dudes. The eponymous character was played by Patrick Moore, better known for presenting the longest running show on the BBC, about astronomy, The Sky at Night. The presenter was Dominik Diamond, who always seemed fairly genuine and excitable, and has an excellent name. The show had similar segments on cheats and tips, answering questions directly from the public, reviews and news about technology, and videogame challenges, broadcast live for some inexplicable reason. Most of these were actually quite good really, watching it back, I’m genuinely surprised how watchable it is. I think it was the use of print media journalists that made it so professional, though they weren’t afraid to wind them up either. Oh, and yes, that episode was filmed in a church, for some reason.

    • ChicaneryTheYounger says:

      Do we have enough of the sexual innuendo in this show for Children?

    • meteors says:

      As a teenager I used to enjoy Dominik Diamond’s vaguely religious-themed double entendres when introducing the commentators for the challenges. When they changed it up in the second or third series and changed the church setting for an industrial power plant one, and replaced Dominik Diamond with Dexter Fletcher it became pretty much unbearable. I seem to remember Dexter Fletcher running around in a grey jumpsuit and red Rambo headband, carrying around a Super Scope like it was a working bazooka, acting like he was some character that had ‘stepped straight out of a video game!” And I’d sit there shouting at the TV, “Shut up, Babyface, you don’t know shit about SuperMarioKart!”

  11. Chalkdust says:

    Ugh, this just reminds me of Nick Arcade and how much I hated every single one of those goddamn inept kids fumbling their way through games I knew and loved and making them look horrible.

  12. Army_Of_Fun says:

    At least the people involved with GamePro TV can claim it was a product of its times.

    This Xbox Live promo was made about 10 years ago but seems like it might’ve aired right next to GamePro TV:

  13. indy2003 says:

    “That’s right! Marvel Comics, dudes! We’ve got one of the X-Men back in action along with the ultimate bad dude: Mag-net-o and his band of chumpsters!”

    • Grimbus says:

      They’re referring to Magnetto, Max Eisenhardt’s Italian cousin.

      Fueled by undying rage at his family’s slaughter at the hands of Mussolini’s Fascist regime, Magnetto leads his team of mutant terrorists in an ongoing campaign to reverse the status quo of oppressor and oppressed.

      Magnetto’s uncanny mutant ability to control any object made of pasta makes him one of the Ecksmen’s most dangerous foes.

  14. Richard Selby says:

    Now y’all need to do a little article on GameBro magazine in Homestuck

  15. JokersNuts says:

    “Mag-Neto”??? Seriously?!  being 1991 is NO excuse for that.  Totally lame dudes.