Interview with Karim Miteff (Co-Creator of Nick Arcade)
As a kid, did you ever wish that you could travel inside of a video game? Remember Captain N and how he was sucked through the television set? In 1992, that dream became a reality with the Nickelodeon game show Nick Arcade, which allowed young contestants to enter the Video Zone and compete in a real-life virtual experience. The series lasted five years and was later sold into international syndication. In the U.S., it currently airs on Nick Games and Sports (“Nick GAS”), a television channel devoted to old Nick game shows like Making the Grade, Double Dare, and others.
With a little detective work, I was able to track down Nick Arcade co-creator Karim Miteff, who answered a few questions about what happened to the set pieces and the show’s props. Here’s what he had to say:
“I don’t know what happened to the set pieces, but they were most likely re-used or destroyed. It is rare that they kept anything for very long because of the lack of storage space and the need to re-use materials. I know that the prototype for the video game cabinets was just a little too big once they actually built it and we pared it down to size, but my partner at the time, James Bethea — who also co-created the show — got to keep it and used it like a TV cabinet for a couple of years, which was funny.
“As far as what I could keep, I can tell you that I was left with a LOT of video games and game systems (sometimes the manufacturers let us keep games that we tried out but never used on the show, which was awesome); some Amiga computers that we used on other productions, like SlimeTime Live and U2U; a lot of documents and programs — if we got all the hardware back together I could get the basics of the show up in about a week…; and a metallic plaque that hung in the Studios on the wall marking the show’s premiere, which someone was kind enough to send me after Nickelodeon left Universal Studios for good. I did get to leave with a lot of good memories about that show.”
Karim also shared with me with some design diagrams of the set, including the layout of the iconic Video Zone door: