Like all TV shows, Nick Arcade started out as a pilot. Like the eventual series, it was taped at Nickelodeon Studios at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.
Differences Between the Pilot & Series
Like some TV pilots, there were differences between the pilot and what we see when it went to air.
The Face-Off works the same way except with these differences:
- Post Haste: The graphics for this game were completely different. Also the game would not be available in the series until the second season.
- Brainstorm: Brainstorm was called Brain Damage in this pilot.
While the main rounds and the premise of them were the same as the series, the following differences were shown:
- The Boards: The video boards were oddly shaped as opposed to being a 3x6 grid. Plus, both boards do not take place in the same area. The first board was called Mikey's Nightmares (an exploration in a haunted house) and the second was called Mikey's Excellent Adventure (a race through time to fix a broken cosmic clock). Both were prototypes of the series worlds (Creepyville & Time Portal).
- Spaces: There were different looks for all of the spaces.
- Pop Quiz: There were five categories to start with one less category shown in each new Pop Quiz round. The earlier taped series shows had a choice of four to start. Later tapings removed the categories altogether.
- Prize: While the execution of the square remained the same, the prizes attached to those squares were actually announced before the round started.
- Arcade: Arcade was the original name for Video Challenge. Unlike the series Video Challenge, only one player goes to the video games while the wagerer stayed at the podium and determined a wager using a simple piece of paper and marker instead of a Magna-Doodle.
- Video Puzzles: There was only one type of Video Puzzle per round. The first round was Flash Frame and the second round was What Was That?.
- Time Bomb: The Time Bomb only appears in round two and it was just another hidden square as opposed being a marker for squares already landed on. The landed squares in the pilot were marked by arrows. The Time bomb question was also different, for had contestants give a certain number of things under a specific category in ten seconds instead of pong spelling a word. Finally, Time Bomb questions were worth 50 points as opposed to being a non scoring question.
- Enemy: When landing on an enemy square, in addition to losing control of Mikey to the opponents, Mikey goes back to the last square landed on. Also one enemy square was revealed at the start of each round.
- Goal: The Goal squares were marked by exits or certain objects and they use the categories not chosen from the Pop Quiz rounds as opposed bringing all the categories back.
- Winning Score: The team that wins has their points converted into dollars.
The bonus round worked just about the same except for the following:
- There was no Video Zone door, the winning team simply went backstage.
- All the video game levels share a common theme. For this pilot, it was called Lost Gold of the Incas, where the winning team has to touch three gold coins on each level to complete them. Also all the levels are the same as the series but with certain different looks for each. Those levels are Cliffhanger, Runaway Railcar, Mind Maze and Tomb of Fear.
- There was no money score for each item.
- The bonus video game lasts for two minutes instead of one.
- There were no game wizards.
The Set & Music
- The set used for this pilot was the same one used for another Nickelodeon game show Get the Picture.
- The theme music used for this pilot was the same one used for another Nickelodeon game show Outta Here!