TITLE: The Cube
DEBUT: August 22, 2009
HOST(S): Phillip Schofield
ONE SENTENCE DESCRIPTION: Single player basketball with slow motion cameras in a plexiglass box.
RULES: 1 player has the chance to win £250,000 by completing seven “games” played inside a giant box. These games are simple ideas (but X in Y, roll X to Y, count the X in Y seconds, push the button) and are simple games of skill and memory, But the games played inside the box along with the lights and the audience, build a kind of pressure that sometimes freaks contestants out.
Each player gets 9 lives, if they fail a game, they lose a “life” (think of them like chances), and if they lose all of their lives, they leave with nothing. But much like every modern game post-millionaire, they have a money ladder.
Winning 1 game = £1,000
Winning 2 games = £2,000
Winning 3 games = £10,000
Winning 4 games = £20,000
Winning 5 games = £50,000
Winning 6 games = £100,000
Winning All 7 games = £250,000
The 7th game is one of the previous 6 games played on a “much more difficult setting”, for example, a game involving bouncing a ball into a container, will now have the container be shrunk so it’s much more smaller to get inside.
Also like most modern game shows, they have life-lines, two in fact. One is a “simplify” which makes a game played on an easier setting (for example, a game where you’ll need to stack something in 20 seconds, will now be in 25 seconds) and another is a “trial run” which lets you play a game once, before you decide to risk your money.
What makes the game interesting, is the visual design of the show. “The Cube” has a voice of a narrator, who explains the games, but also a host who is rooting for the contestants at every step. They have slow motion cameras, cameras that shoot in every angle, and even bullet-time that makes it look like you are in The Matrix, but with a game involving catching a ball fired at you by a launcher.
The presentation is what sells the show. It’s something that is visually something that hasn’t been done before on a game show. It’s constant soundtrack makes contestants feel like action heroes, and the slow motion cameras make the contestants not look silly, but rather heroic. It’s a Man vs Machine feel of a show, that has no play ability, but when you watch it, you’re on the edge of your seat, by the way the show is edited. A simple “move this bar from one section to the other without touching the wires” game takes roughly 2 minutes, but every step is played as if something significant is about to happen. You do see emotion go through the game, especially when players are debating losing a life changing amount on something that could be in their skillset, like counting boxes on the floor of the cube. The game is played with physical items and sometimes the floor itself, making the possibilities endless, as long as they think inside the box.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK:
The biggest drawback for the show is the amount of episodes of a series is limited, and lately modern series have become more drawn to celebrity editions. Celebrity Editions are a curse of the game show industry. While they make for great fun special events, a high enough frequency makes the show just celebrity focused, which kills the show off. A game show should have common people be the stars, not already-stars be stars some more, which is almost ironic when you consider the first person to actually beat “The Cube” was Mo Farrah, Olympic gold medalist.
This is a breathtaking show, that is not based on knowledge, but rather skill. Unlike “Minute to Win It”, the game isn’t played with time, the players have all the time in the world (unless the rules of a game are played with a time limit).
It’s a show that should be, of all the UK games still on-air, imported over to America. It’s perfect blend of editing, cinematography and visual effects almost reminds me of The CW. This is a show that The CW would love to have. It’s very flashy, it’s very silly when it needs to be, but overall a game that when it’s on, all you have to do is stare at it and go IT’S THE CUBE! It’s my favorite game show over in the UK, and believe as long as technology and the special effects change, the show can change along with it. Whatever is the most visually pleasing, heart pounding, tense show, where you root for the contestants, and the production team can make you feel that way, even if there is still 30 minutes left into the show.