Video Game All Stars (TV mini-series)

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poster for Video Game All Stars, 1983-1984 In 1983 and 1984 I produced and directed a TV mini-series, Video Game All Stars, which aired on KOAA TV, the NBC affiliate. Three half-hour episodes were produced.

The original concept for the show was to promote a talent search or contest in video arcades to find expert players who were willing to show our audience how to beat the games. My good friend, experienced TV professional Larry Frost told me that I should make the show more balanced, and suggested interviewing parents, average players, teachers and a psychologist about the games and their possible effects on young people. The show was an easy sell. I was able to get local businesses to donate prizes for the winning players, and got a lot of promotional considerations such as poster printing, T-shirts and the like just by offering businesses screen credits on the shows. I also found it easy to sell advertising on the shows, since the expert player competition created a lot of awareness among arcade managers and other youth-oriented businesses. I was also able to save production costs by editing the second episode myself, since I was given free after-hours use of the KOAA TV news department's edit bay.

William Gabriel Grier, 1984For the final episode I hired Larry Frost as director, and he helped by talking Jeff Valdez into hosting it. Jeff interviewed players, did a few stand-ups and some cool "man on the street" interviews. This is by far my favorite episode of the show. Highlights of the final episode include Melvin Grier's puppet work, the first TV appearance of Melvin's son Gabriel, Jeff Valdez's inspired performance as host, and generally better production values. So I owe a special debt of gratitude to Larry Frost, Mel Grier and Jeff Valdez for the successful finale.

Video Game All Stars has recently found many new fans on the internet, with lots of great comments and consistently high viewership on YouTube, plus great reviews from video game bloggers and historians.
 


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