Let's get ready to rockApparently, Remote Control was a game show on MTV based primarily on television trivia. It was MTV’s first non-music related programming (a harbinger of things to come), and the questions were phrased in the most irreverent manner possible, often insulting the subject or the contestants. It also relied on the same sad stereotypes that persist today: trivia nerds are just geeks living in their moms’ basements (ha, joke’s on you, I’m writing this from my legally purchased basement!), and the host was a wise-cracking poindexter. It was, in every conceivable way, distilled late 80’s, and a sign that the world would, one day soon, be ready for hammer pants.

Now, it would be easy to make this article a running mockery/condemnation of a time when neon was king and music videos were only occasionally interrupted by random game shows, but, no, that would be the easy way out. What’s important is not to mock the past, but to learn from it, and perhaps build a better future, confident in the knowledge that we have absorbed understanding from our mistakes. So, with that in mind, we will take a focused look at MTV Remote Control for the NES.

Let’s face it: referring to child/teenage performers by some goofy “kiddy” name is only going to look stupid when they grow up. Nobody today wants to call Anthony Michael Hall a “brat”, and there will come a time when Justin Bieber is a man, probably hosting New Year’s Rockin’ Eve or some game show on the ubernet. So stop it with the nicknames now, because if you don’t, you’re only going to feel that much older when Miley Cyrus is playing a distinguished grandmother.

Even in the midst of a TV-based game show, MTV tried to wedge in something music related back in the day. This is Music Television, people! We can’t let the network descend into a series of silly game/reality shows and scripted, “hip” serials! Get some Elvis trivia in there! The kids love that Elvis!

Only men get comeback careers. John Travolta? It’s 2016, and I know that guy! He might not be in every movie, but he was in amazing 21st Century hits like Hairspray, Swordfish, and Battlefield Earth. Karen Lynn Gorney? Who? I assume she was on an episode of Law and Order.

There was a time when soap serials were so well-known that people would know the show just by naming random characters. I’ll be honest, I just thought about it, and I can’t name a single current daytime soap. General Hospital? Is that still on? I’ve already exceeded my allotted Google tokens for this article, so I’m legitimately asking. I straight-up cannot believe there was ever a world where “Travis Montgomery” was as popular as Deadpool, Kylo Ren, or Ash Ketchum.

We have always, as a nation, fantasized about murdering the Brady children and making it look like a suicide. Some things never change.

There were once people in this world that couldn’t get an “ante/auntie” pun. Alright, I know I’m playing against “the computer” here, but how could anyone not get the context clues in that question? Was this just a matter of a verbal pun not translating well to text? This is why Jeopardy doesn’t have spelling questions (answers) anymore…

There was a game show that had an entire category dedicated to Batman, and I never got to play it. I don’t often lament the epoch in which I was born, because I am downright thankful that I’ve gotten to grow up with the video game medium and computers in general (I’m a giant nerd!) but the fact that there was once a live television show that asked questions based on Batman trivia, and you could apparently just keep picking the same category as long as you answered correctly… My God, I could have been a millionaire. Or… what did they present as a prize on this show? Popcorn?

Yeah, looks like popcorn.

Bea Arthur was once known for something other than Golden Girls. I suppose this is the other side of the whole “brat” thing from that earlier question, as history remembers you most for your last accomplishment. Mind you, it was one of the best sitcoms ever created, and something you could happily watch as a grandparent or grandchild (those sex jokes just sail right on overhead…), and, geez, that theme song… wait, what was I talking about again? Oh yeah, Bea Arthur was/is a treasure, and I guess I should look up Maude sometime. Beats Mama’s Family.

People have been making cracks about movies not being played in their original venue for years. Yes, every time you make a crack about, “hur hur, who goes to the movies anymore, that’s what Netflix is for!” know that that exact same comment was made regarding DVDs, VHS, and even cable movie reruns. Meet the new media boss, same as the old media boss.

Yes, Rare isn’t the only company capable of sneaking a masturbation joke into a Nintendo game.

Does this seem… gross to anyone else? I mean, it’s just a funny way to phrase a question, right? Vanna White’s measurements were (are?) public knowledge, so what’s the harm? But knowing her bust size… have I been watching too much skeevy anime, or do we just have different qualifiers for “personal information” nowadays? Is it worse if they’re making it the numbers up? Or have I become a square?

Now we know what Steve Buscemi would look like as an 8-bit character. Thanks, Ranger Bob! Watch out for snakes!

While it was eventually outlawed after the Smash TV wars of 1990, it was once permitted to “eliminate” a game show contestant by any means necessary. Heck, depending on the network, it was downright encouraged. Be proud that we now live in less barbaric times, and pity poor Lauren, who is vaporized for her crime of not knowing enough television trivia.

A solemn moment of silence for Lorenzo Music, who, ironically, doesn’t have a picture on IMDB. Did you know he was Peter Venkmen, Garfield, and Tummi Gummi?


Proud to be my video game? Okay… uh… thanks? It’s been a real pleasure. Can I go back to playing Mega Man, now? At least when I beat Dr. Wily, I don’t feel he’s passive-aggressively insulting me. Or maybe that was the plan behind Wood Man. Ugh, this game is making other games worse! Time to move on.

FGC #105 MTV Remote Control

  • System: You’re seeing the NES here, but it was also available on that one Apple system, and there was even a board game. Ah, it’s quaint to see how some shows have accidentally survived into the modern age.
  • Number of players: Three contestants, but no multitap support, so just two players. One way or another, you must face the computer.
  • Favorite category: All Batman, all the time. Just like real life!
  • Favorite MTV game show: Did they ever make a Singled Out video game? That would be amazing. I know they slightly modified MTV’s The Grind: Spring Break into DoA: Beach Volleyball.
  • Did you know? Remote Control on MTV had a number of guest stars, including LL Cool J and Weird Al Yankovic. Come to think of it, Weird Al really strikes me as the kind of guy that has been around long enough that there should be a random, poorly made, licensed game based on his songs/career for every video game generation. The fact that such a thing does not exist is proof we do not live in the best of all possible worlds.
  • Would I play again: I believe I have learned all I need to learn from this fragment of the past. Also, the questions loop really quickly. One way or another, it’s a no.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Street Fighter Alpha 2 for the SNES! The fabulous fighting game debut of Rolento! Please look forward to it!

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