News that an immersive Crystal Maze experience is coming! The shows’ creators working with Zodiac Media plan to build a set in London with crowdfunding beginning this Saturday, the 14th of June. Blueprints and an artist’s rendition have even been unveiled today. The experience will be a live event and YES you can actually apply to play the game via their Website!
The Great British Gameshow. A phenomena of our lives of which its popularity is only parallel to its dreadfulness! They are corny, they are silly, their theme tunes are second only to the banality of the radio jingle. The presenters are camp and pandering in equal measures. This is the home of the awful pun, the garish suit and our baffling desire to be the master of all useless trivia.
Everybody has a favorite gameshow, it’s a guilty pleasure, like drunk dancing to cheesy pop classics at a wedding reception. You simply cannot argue with the triumph that is the self depreciating Pointless (BBC One) or the nerdy institution that is Countdown (Channel 4) – a show so inexplicably appealing that Channel 4 have shrewdly merged it with comedy gameshow 8 out of 10 Cats for a separate late night version, 8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, an act of sheer brilliance that plays off of two facts, everyone wants to feel superior about their intelligence, even comedians, and Countdown is bloody hard!
Personally, my favorite gameshow is 90’s classic The Crystal Maze. I watched it with my brother on Friday nights as kids, and then I re-discovered it as an adult and watched re-runs on Challenge, with my cynically humoured friends, appreciating the awful hairstyles as much as the ingenious games. We love to mock our gameshows as much as we want to win them.
The Crystal Maze is 25 this year. It ran for six series between 1990-95 and filmed 83 action packed episodes. The elaborate, custom built set was housed inside a giant warehouse. Consisting of four themed worlds, each containing unique, mental, physical, skill and mystery solving challenges, a team of players were led by a fabulously posturing Richard O’Brien (later replaced by Ed Tudor Pole) in a quest to reach the Crystal dome. There was action, there was competition, there was light role playing! In 1990, the only other game show that had the scale and drama was french Fort Boyard.
Interest has been accumulating for years about a modern remake of this weird yet beloved show. When the other big guns gameshow of the 90’s, Gladiators was remade in 2008 (although this was somewhat of a flop!) it almost seemed a likely possibility, but it never happened. The demand for it is certainly there, check out all the ‘Bring back The Crystal Maze’ Facebook groups!
Speaking to Buzzfeed News in May this year, the shows creator Richard Bdiscussed the prospect “I’ve been approached about 15 times over the years to do it, but what puts everybody off I think is the initial startup cost. If you were to build that set, it’s probably £750,000 to £1 million and that’s a lot before you’ve shot a frame“. Hearing that it’s possible to build a set for an “immersive experience” is the most positive news on the topic we’ve seen so far. Could it be possible that the show could return if the experience proves successful? Fingers crossed people!