Game shows have been part of our culture for decades now and their number has slowly increased as time has pressed on.
This has made it more difficult for new shows to stand out, so production companies have tried anything and everything in order for them to stay fresh and relevant, and some have been more successful than others.
It’s fair to say that the UK doesn’t have as weird or whacky an approach as places like Japan for example, who are famed for their off the wall games and their popularity, but we wanted to include a wide range of shows from all over the world to highlight just how bizarre they can be.
So here are 10 of the oddest game shows ever produced from around the world.
We’re going to kick things off with a UK-based countryside themed game show that originates, rather fittingly, from Wales. As the name would suggest – if you can read in Welsh, anyway – it’s all about farming.
The show has 10 contestants who are required to do a number of tasks in and around the farm to prove their capability is head and shoulders above the rest. These tasks include milking cows, sheering sheep, and marketing their farm to make the most money.
Unbelievably, the show has been on since 2009 and the winner has to make the rather random choice between a 4×4 (useful on a farm) or a trip to Patagonia. We are assuming they mean the area in Southern America and not the clothes shop, although with this being all about the weirdest game shows who knows!
They have even run knockout team competitions as well, where rival farmers face off against each other.
Now we are delving into the super-odd game shows that seem to be synonymous with Japanese culture. The first game that we have to talk about is that of Lizard Attack.
The game is played in a big dome with around 12 contestants, each with their head just above the bottom of the dome. If you imagine a whack-a-mole game then you aren’t too far away.
On each of their heads is some sort of meat product. Within the dome is a big Lizard. The winner of the game is the person that is able to stay in the dome the longest without getting scared and ducking their head out. Obviously, as the lizard is attracted to the meat, carnage unfolds pretty quickly. There’s lots of screaming, lots of shouting and a generally chaotic vibe.
The Japanese are the best when it comes to weird game shows, but we think this one might be about as weird as they come.
Tore! Is another game from Japan, and although it is totally different in every way to that of Lizard Attack, it is every bit as mad. There is obviously something in the water in Japan as no one else’s game shows are as barmy.
The game actually starts out fairly normally, with contestants having to answer questions in order to progress to the next the round, although they do so from an Egyptian-themed set.
However, the contestants have to answer these questions whilst having “Egyptian-themed” things happen to them. An example of this is in one game someone having to answer 10 of the most popular pet names for the year all whilst getting mummified and wrapped in white cloth as the time ticks down. If they fail to get the questions right within the allotted time, they end up head to toe in cloth and made into a mummy.
Dadagiri (Beat the Bullies)
Dadagiri is a game that originated in India and is one of the country’s most popular games. It features a team of contestants going head to head against a group of bullies that are just like the stereotypes you are probably imagining.
But the bullies aren’t just your standard bullies, and the contestants can expect to suffer a range of verbal and physical abuse.
They literally pick out the flaws in each person, cutting straight to the core, and if that fails then slaps and even punches aren’t uncommon.
In one famous incident a female presenter slapped a contestant who slapped her back, and chaos ensued.
The winner of the game is the player that can last the longest before eventually submitting to the bullies.
Man v Beast
What you find with a lot of these game shows is that deep down there is some sort of hilarious and ridiculous element that makes them incredibly watchable. Man v Beast is one of those game shows, and it originates from the US.
The name is a bit of a giveaway, but the show is all about pitting humans against animals in a range of physical activities. One of the most interesting match ups was that of a professional sprinter go head to head with a real giraffe in a race over 100m. Others have included an elephant against a team of 44 little people to see which would be able to pull a jet the farthest within a certain amount of time.
As you might expect, the show drew in a huge number of complaints stating that the animals were being made to perform when they should be out in the wild, which ultimately led to the demise of Man v Beast despite it becoming quite popular.
Our first trip over to Turkey takes on the religious expedition of Penitents Compete. This game show is one of the only ones in our list that contains no prizes at all. Well, the creators claim that belief in God is reward enough but for those of us that want to win an actual prize faith doesn’t count for much.
It’s all based around a group of religious folk trying to turn atheists into believers. On the board you have a Buddhist Monk, Jewish Rabi, Greek Orthodox and a Muslim Imam, and no, this is not the start to some terrible joke.
Although there is no prize on offer, the winner is the religion that can convert the most people. The more people they convert on each show the higher their score.
Sounds like a right laugh.
It would be impossible to go too far into this article without a trip to Russia and the game show Intercept is our first port of call.
The game is utterly brilliant and also utterly mental. The producers of the show give a sports car to a set of contestants and tell them to drive for 35 minutes without stopping.
What the contestants don’t know is that as soon as they set off, the police are called and told that the car has been stolen and that it has a tracking device. By the time the police catch up, the contestants have the dilemma of either stopping for the police or carrying on in the car in order to win the game show.
Whilst many would just pull over, there are lots who try to outrun them, which makes for a whacky yet highly entertaining game show. One contestant even tried swapping their car from one moving train to another.
Don’t confuse the name of the game with an expletive. We haven’t made a mistake. Oh Sit! was actually a really popular game show in Japan for a number of years and it has a US version too.
The game is based around musical chairs, but it’s unlike any game of musical chairs you have ever seen before.
Surrounding the chairs was an inflatable obstacle course that got a little tougher with each round. Water, mud, flying balls and plenty more were all introduced throughout the game and as the music stopped, players would need to scramble to the middle to grab a chair leading to much falling over and hilarity.
To add to the bizarre setup of this game, the music would be played by a (really good) live house band who could stop at any point.
Touch the Truck
We’ve mentioned game shows from all around the world, but this is the first one that has come from the UK. Touch the truck was a very simple game: all you had to do was keep one hand on the truck for the longest time possible.
The game show was hosted by Dale Winton and contestants had to overcome things like sleep, needing the toilet, and of course any fatigue from standing in the same place for so long. The winner was the last person with their hand on the truck, and there were even web cams so that people could check in on the ‘action’ around the clock.
The game show has now been copied all over the world and still takes place in shopping malls as well, although the TV series lasted for just the one series before it was cancelled.
Find the Chair
It’s a game that sounds like it was invented by children; all you need to do is find the chair. The catch is that the contestant is blind folded, which makes it a little tougher than normal.
Someone picks up the chair behind the blindfolded player and then starts to move about behind them as quietly as possible so as not give anything away. The chair must then be slammed down and the player has to instantly turn and sprint in the direction of where they think the chair is.
This leads to them either running into the chair at pace, which means that they have won (and possibly broken a leg, theirs or the chairs’), or they run into one of the surrounding objects like random pillars and statues, missing the chair and losing the game – along with all of their self respect.