Thursday, 12 July 2018

Memories of Knightmare

So last night I was playing Haunting Ground on the PS2 for Twitch and I reached a certain corridor puzzle that got me very excited.  The puzzle was a room full of hexagons with a suit of armor at the end.  I had to carefully navigate my character across the right set of hexes to avoid getting a crossbow to the face.  This room reminded me VERY heavily of an old TV show I used to love when I was a kid called Knightmare.

Knightmare was a game show for kids that started in 1987 and ran until 1994 that aired on British TV.  The premise was simple, a bunch of kids met up with this dude called Treguard the dungeon master and they would pick one member of their team to don a "Helmet of Justice" and go into the dungeon.  The helmet blinded the player to everything except what was directly underneath them and it was up to the other kids on the team to guide them to the end.  The real reason for this was that the kid in the dungeon was actually just walking around a chroma key studio so only the viewers could see the dungeon.  If the kid didn't have the helmet he'd just see a lot of green(?) I guess.

Anyway the show, despite being for kids, wasn't easy on it's contestants AT ALL.  Difficult puzzles, traps that would instantly kill the player and fiendish puzzles were all put in place to hinder progress.  Not only that but each team was on a time limit to finish since the kid in the dungeon had a "life force" that was slowly ticking away.  So you could be the best dodger of traps in the world but if you got bamboozled by a talking wall then good fuckin' luck reaching the end.  Off the top of my head, I don't remember a single team winning in an episode for as long as I watched.  However it was a long time ago and I probably missed a bunch of episodes so I'm sure someone won at some point.

I was pretty obsessed with this show as a kid too.  My mother often reminds me of my younger years with stories of us going to the park and "playing Knightmare".  I assume this meant one of us closing our eyes and being commanded around by the other.  Apparently my obsession with Knightmare was so great that we even did this when waiting at bus stops and I can't imagine now how that worked at all. 

I have since learned that there is in fact a Knightmare video game on the Amiga but I've only played it for about 5 minutes on an emulator.  From what I can gather it has very little to do with the show and it's a dungeon crawler more akin to Wizardy or Dungeon Master.

I'm sure if you look hard enough to episodes have been archived somewhere so go see if you can check them out.  It's a great show even now and it might be fun to watch even now for a bit of a laugh.

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