GamePro TV unearthed

By Nicholas Fricke . July 17, 2006 . 3:10pm

In the early nineties, two video game-focused television shows were syndicated across America: Video Power and GamePro TV. Video Power was a mix of cartoons, game strategies and game show where kids would compete in video game-based contests where the winner run through an obstacle course to win cheap games and prizes, all while being filmed in front of a studio audience. GamePro TV was a partner to GamePro magazine, one of the biggest video game magazines of its time (both in readership and in magazine size, as I have a Holiday 1994 issue that must be over 300 pages with all of its previews, reviews, strategies and advertisements). The 30-minute television show focused on strategies for NES, Genesis and Super NES games, previews of future games and hardware and reviews of the latest games.

 

Of the two shows, GamePro TV was the only one (that I was aware of) being broadcast in my hometown during its short 1991-1992 run. So, for all intents and purpose of this article, forget about the corny-sounding Video Power and instead let’s focus on GamePro TV which was itself a cheap, tacky show.

 

In this “first” episode of Gamepro TV there‘s cheat codes and tips for Crystalis, Maniac Mansion, John Madden Football and TMNT: Rise of the Foot Clan, previews for Super Ghouls and Ghosts, Game Gear and Sega CD hardware, reviews of Wolverine for the NES and Castlevania II for the Game Boy and much more!


Being the game-obsessed child I was and lacking any judgment of quality, I eagerly awaited every Saturday morning in front of the television with a tape in the VCR and an itchy trigger finger on the record button. And for several months, I recorded every episode of GamePro TV that I could prepare for, up until the show’s abrupt cancellation.

 

That is where the story would end for most classic, niche television shows: usually forgotten by most of its viewers and remembered by a fond few who write about their memories of the show online, mostly to silence or indifference from others. Without any visible evidence, recollections about these programs are just a bunch of words describing some archaic show that most people can’t relate to.

 

Which leads to GamePro TV and me. For many years I have searched online for video clips and information about the show, wondering if anyone else remembered the show as well as I did. Aside from some mentions on Wikipedia, a description and several pictures of the show on some retro gaming website, and a few jabs at actor J.D. Roth for having this show be part of his early acting career, there was very little information on the show available online. Was I the only one who recorded this show?

 

Well, probably the only one who recorded it and kept the tape and knew of it’s whereabouts all these years. Placed inside of an old box full of VHS tapes of recordings from the mid-nineties, I always remembered what the tape looked like: an old Maxell VHS tape with “TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES” written in poor handwriting on the labels. I would pull the tape out of its box every few years to watch some episodes, just for nostalgia and some laughs.

 

But after noticing the lack of information on GamePro TV online, I saw it as my duty to put these videos online, to share them with the world. And after forcing my cheap-ass to finally buy a video capture card, it’s now online for your viewing pleasure!

 

Or, at least, one episode is online. It’s probably not the first episode of GamePro TV, but it’s the first one I recorded that’s on the tape. Featuring J.D. Roth as the host and Brennan “B-man” Howard as the California surfer slang talking co-host, the two would usually be inserted into the beginning clips of games to introduce cheats and strategies. In-between these “SWAT: Secret Weapons And Tactics” segments, the hosts would preview future games and hardware, review the latest games, answer peoples’ questions on how to get past certain games, and post viewers’ high scores. The set design looked very cheap, using Super Mario Bros. as its inspiration with pipes coming out of the ground and ceiling and blocks similar to the ones used in the stairways leading to the flagpole. Games and accessories, like the U-Force, would decorate the set, including some Neo Geo hardware and joysticks.

 

And there’s more to come! This is for all the retro game fans out there and for all the people who remember this show. And much thanks goes out to GamePro for creating this awesome and campy show which will forever be part of my childhood.

 

Stay tuned to Siliconera for import game coverage and more episodes of GamePro TV!


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  • http://www.jaksplace.net Jakanden

    That is awesome mate. I look forward to the entire collection =)

  • naruto

    LOL, I remember both Gamepro TV and Video Power. Although the latter may have been corny, I still remember myself being jealous of the person who got to go through the maze and grab all the games they wanted.

  • 573

    That was cool. Or, should I say: totally wicked rad to the max.

  • Jigen

    WOW, I have waited SO long to see the episodes of this show. I have 2 measly episodes recorded on VHS, when I was young I kept missing the show or just forgetting to videotape it. This is indeed the only classic GameproTV (not the newer ones from the late 90′s or even newer ones still running in Spain) that I’ve EVER seen on the net. And I’ve looked a LOT for the last few years. Why isn’t there more of this show on the net? It may be cheesy and a genuinely bad show, but it’s no worse than any other classic nostalgia piece you see on the net.

    Anyways, I wanted to say MEGA THANKS, and I cannot wait to see more episodes!!!

  • ccn

    Someday we’ll look back at the forced “snarkiness” of X-Play and The Daily Show and it will look exactly as gay as this. Which is supergay.

  • Anonymous Coward

    I wonder where B-man is now.
    It’d be funny to see him on one of those celebrity “where are they now?”

  • dosboot

    The Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts demo wasn’t even the final version. At the end Arthur is fighting the 3rd boss on level ground, but in the game it takes place on platforms. Also whoever was playing Arthur sucked royally ;-)

  • Hulk

    In response to Anonymous Coward, check out http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0397162/

  • http://www.pausebuttonpress.com Katie Montminy

    Way to go Nicolas! Though, like all revered and hallowed nostalgia, I kind of fear realizing the truth … having been 7 years old at the time, I have no memory of the low production values, only of the tips that have stuck in my innermost child-mind to this day, like…

    For the second-to-last boss of Megaman 4, the big Skull Floater thing, I learned to stand motionless under its flame breaths, count “1, 2, 3,” then jump, and shoot it square in the kisser. Thank you GamePro TV.

    Then there was Sonic 1, the very first boss… I learned to duck its ball n’ chain in the corners, then, like an immaculate cheapass, hit its underbelly. Thank you Gamepro TV.

    A show that made me want Golden Axe II and let me see my first game hero in heart-pocked boxers going up a ladder is a good show indeed, in the grander scheme of things. Thank you Gamepro TV.

    May the knowledge and surviving footage be preserved and learned from here, forever more.

  • http://jakdin.com/videomastersradio John R. Gibson

    I remember this show fondly. This is how I got started reviewing games, from watching these guys. They inspired me to do my own show, not necessarily like theirs, though.

    Just watched the supposed 3rd episode. Dude, there’s lots more episodes with Brennan, as I recall. I remember the segment “Hot at the Arcades”, they reviewed Dragons Lair 2, and Road Riot 4wd.

    I hope you find more B-Man eps on that tape of yours. Post all gamepro episodes, man. I love this! Takes me back.

  • Shahed

    Brennan just sent me a link to this video – OMG! If you find more, please post them!

  • http://www.max-d.piczo.com DEMON_KID

    yet its still kinda cool to see these old stuff
    and i also want some links if u have any
    thnx in advance

  • Doug

    You’re not the only one who watched this show religiously. I actually taped all the episodes, too. I still have many of the tapes.

    This WAS, in fact, the first episode. I know because I was a subscriber to GamePro at the time, and they hyped the unveiling of this show like it was the second coming of Christ. Airtimes and premiere dates were published for every major urban area, so I knew to be there and have my tape recording at 6:30 in the damn morning on a Saturday. For a week after watching this first episode and feeling totally stoked by it, I turned “Evil dude evil dude CHECK HIM OUT!” into my new catchphrase.

    Eventually, after the show’s syndicated run was cancelled, it wound up reappearing as a paid advertisement program. J.D. Roth was the only one left and Brennan was gone, viewers could no longer send in tips or questions, and background music was virtualy non-existant. The most telling element was the 1-800 number which constantly scrolled on the bottom during the new episodes, begging you to subscribe to GamePro – well, that and the “the following is a paid advertisement” announcement that suddenly announced the show’s arrival. I only saw 3 or 4 of the paid ad version episodes before it disappeared from my local station.

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