Now that the video featuring the new game show in the lineup, Pointless, is up, I’ve been getting some questions about it. Specifically, why I chose to make it Pokémon-themed, and if I have plans of making a version that isn’t.
During 2013, the year when Pokémon Game Show debuted, it was met with rave reviews from almost every con it was played. It was a novel concept that tied together many facets of the Pokémon universe and it usually had large audiences. A Youtube video from one of the games is to date the only viral video my channel’s ever had, and it finally gave me something that appealed to fans of all ages.
Around the end of 2014 and throughout 2015, some major flaws in the game were beginning to surface through comments made on and off my social media. Most of these comments had to do with the contestants who appeared on each show. One of the tenets I’ve always adhered to with this game is that I assume most of the room knows enough about Pokémon to answer the questions put forth to gain control of the game board. Therefore the contestant selection process is a random draw (which you can manipulate a bit by having legitimate Pokémon merchandise on your person or by cosplaying as something related to the franchise).
Unfortunately, when you use a random selection process, you sometimes wind up with a group of contestants that you might not have gone with had you done a more traditional screening process. While the random draw is the most fair way to do things, it isn’t necessary going to put the best product out there.
Sometimes this is for the best. Some of the most memorable contestants (in a good way) were ones that came out of nowhere and endeared themselves to the audience, both online and off.
Sometimes, unfortunately, the opposite happens. All of the following have happened at one point or another on the game:
- A shy contestant who was dared to attempt a draw from her friends wound up becoming so embarrassed that they cried when their time on the show was over
- A contestant who had untreated ADHD (and told me so prior to the show) was very disruptive during the game, and when this contestant won half the audience got up and left in disgust
- Despite not answering a single question correctly, due to the luck factor of the game they wound up defeating the Champion
- All four contestants failed to buzz in on more than 50% of the questions, even the ones that the average fan would consider basic knowledge
- A contestant who didn’t want to play wound up on the show and proceeded to sit in their position, looking bored and aggravating a few people in the audience who wanted to play but didn’t get in (and told me about it afterwards)
While all this was happening, I was slowly putting together a fandom version of Pointless. I had about a dozen questions in various states of completeness, and was finding it difficult to get enough people surveyed to make anything happen. I also found it harder and harder to find good quiz contestants at the smaller and younger conventions, so had I been able to complete a Pointless set, I figured it would need to be saved for a convention of at least ten thousand people, to ensure I had an interested and knowledgeable contestant pool.
Early last year something clicked, and I realized that if I combined both of these situations together, I had the potential to make a new show. To the people who were tired of watching the same luck-based game with a very poor chance of being included on it, I could give a game where skill level and knowledge were the deciding factors. For the not-quite-so-large conventions I wind up doing more often than not, I could likely find a contestant pool that would be adequate if that contestant pool were for a Pokémon-themed game.
Hence the decision to change Pointless from a fandom theme to a Pokémon theme. And it worked.
It has also given me an outlet to interact with fans in a way I’d never tried before. With my vendor/artist table, whose main purpose is to survey the 100 necessary people for each Pointless question, I now have the ability to provide fun activities for fans all throughout the convention. It also gives me a great way to advertise my games at the show, my Youtube channel and my other social media. This new opportunity has reignited a spark that was starting to flicker a bit, and I’m loving getting to hang out on the convention floor in a harmless, fun way.
Would I eventually consider a more general version of the show? Possibly, but I would need to have three or four conventions with survey panels of more than 50 people in attendance to fully prepare one game. And I’d have to be careful at which convention we played it, to ensure I could find four crack teams to play the game. If you’re a convention runner of an event in excess of ten thousand and would like to see it at your show instead of a Pokémon-themed one, I’d be willing to listen.
In the meantime, please enjoy Pointless. Next time you’ll see it will be early February, as its next playing won’t be until the end of January.
Thanks for reading!