52 Games: Family Feud

TITLE: Family Feud

DEBUT: July 12, 1976

HOST(S):  Richard Dawson, Ray Combs, Louie Anderson, Richard Karn, John O’Hurley, Steve Harvey

ONE SENTENCE DESCRIPTION: Family Members say dumb things from a list to win money.

RULES:  Two teams (Families) of 4/5 compete against each other to win a cash prize of $5,000 (or $10,000 or $20,000 or any variation if there is some sort of Bullseye Round. The goal is to reach a “target” amount of points, rather it’s 200 points, 300 points, or 400 points if they were sadistic, but for most cases, it was 300 points.

The way to earn points is to match answers from a survey posed to 100 people (or men or women or married people or mothers) in the hopes that it’s up there. It starts with a “toss-up”, with whoever has the highest result (more people of “the survey”) gets the option to play or pass. When they play, the rest of the family members must come up with answers they feel were also said in the survey. If it’s up there, it’ll flash on the screen and the points will be in a pot. If it’s not, they’ll earn a strike, three strikes and the play goes over to the other team, who must provide only one of the unclaimed answers to “steal” the points from the pot.

Questions/Surveys can range from “Name a vegetable children don’t like” to “Name something you’d find on a bed” to “Name something that women lose”. Whoever reaches the 300 Point Target (after doubling or tripling the points in the rounds) move onto “Fast Money”, which is a rapid-fire game in which 2 of the team members must provide the most popular answer to 5 survey results in the hopes of reaching a 200 point target to win the $5,000 (or as is the case now, $20,000), If they fail, they earn $5 per point in this round, and they come back the next day. As of the new version, if a family wins 5 games, they also earn a car.

WHAT WORKS:

What works about this show, is the playability. You can come up with ideas as the contestants are coming up with them as well. Things like “A place where you’ll see a bikini” or “Something you say to your dog, that you also say to your husband”. The game is straight-forward as possible, fill up a survey list with all the results possible. And the game has comedic moments whenever a “good answer” is ever said. With Steve Harvey as the current host, the show also adds more to the “comedy” element, with Steve’s baffled face.

It’s a show that anybody can really play, from kids to grown-ups, and it’s a show that doesn’t really require that much “tension” that is seen in most game shows to fuel the show, a result, good or bad, just keeps the show going, even after the 3rd strike in certain rounds.

WHAT DOESN’T WORK:

The host is what sells the show, while Dawson made the show work (because of his impressive ways with the Super Match in “Match Game”), other hosts see it as just a comedy game, and it’s the best ways to have set-ups to a punchline. None of the hosts were bad, but some of them (such as John O’Hurley) felt like they were coasting through the show instead of letting their personality take the show, which was the case of Steve Harvey.

Some modern survey results, have decided to take the page of “Match Game”, and have surveys that could be used for double entendres, just for Steve Harvey to gasp whenever somebody says “Penis”, “Sex” or “Boobs”. Yes, these surveys have been around even since the ’70s, but it’s become pretty common. It’s not a bad thing for now, but eventually, much like Match Game, you’ll run out of ways to say “Butt”.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

I really do enjoy Family Feud, I think it is a timeless game show that has shown why it can last decades with different hosts. It’s a game that all you’ll need is a survey of 100 people, and you can play this game anywhere. And in terms of “home games”, Family Feud is one of the only few game shows that has actually been able to have a successful port that’s authentic to the actual game show itself that lasted through many console generations (Family Feud is for NES, SNES/Genesis, Playstation One, Playstation Two, and PS3) and PC ports.

One thing that I would say is a mix of “work and doesn’t work” was that of The Bullseye Round. In some episodes, before the “toss-up” we would play a game to determine the cash prize each family would play for. The first survey was worth 1K, the second was 2K, then 3K, 4K and finally 5K. I thought this was a novel idea to add more surveys to the game, but felt that it ruined a good survey by only showing one answer, or by “striking” a possible #2 or #3 answer. I would have liked it better if it was more like toss-ups, where the highest survey result earned the bullseye buck bonus. So each family can provide answers.

And finally, the show was successful all around the world, especially in the UK as “Family Fortunes”, with a viral video in which a man answered “Turkey” in the “Fast Money” bonus game. I think the show has holding power wherever it goes and is a certified game show hit. Congrats to Family Feud!

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