Starcade (partially found pilots of TBS game show; 1981-1982)

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The show's logo from the aired series.

Status: Partially Found

Starcade was a game show that aired on Superstation WTBS (later known as TBS) and Syndication from December 27, 1982 to February 24, 1984. The show has two contestants compete against each other playing video games. The show was very unique at the time for it's format and style and being one of the only television shows at the time where video games were used. The show was first hosted by Mark Richards before he was replaced with Geoff Edwards. Although the show was short-lived, it did have a loyal fanbase and continues to have a cult following to this day. Four pilots were taped for the show and one of them actually aired before the series was picked up.

KRON Pilot

The first pilot aired as a special on San Francisco station KRON-TV on September 13, 1981.[1] The pilot was hosted by Olympic gold-medal hockey player Mike Eruzione and the format was slightly different to the aired series.[2] Three teams of eight players and their own arcade systems.[3] All three rows featured a different video game, the first one had eight Defender systems, the second one had Centipede systems and the third had Pac-Man systems. Each player has 30 seconds to set a high total.[4] Whoever had the highest total out of all eight on their team was selected to play against the other two highest scoring players on an arcade game for the grand prize and their very own arcade game.

NBC Pilots

The last three pilots were taped sometime in 1982 with the late Alex Trebek hosting and the format is more familiar to the aired series. Two contestants compete. Three rounds are played with each one starting with a video game tossup question and the first player to buzz in with the correct answer, gets to choose a one of five video arcade games to play and has 40 or 50 or 60 seconds to accumulate a high score. Then the other player has to get a higher score on the same arcade game. The winning contestant gets to play a game that hasn't been played yet and must score a higher total than an average total that has been previously score in 30 seconds or less. The pilots were pitched to NBC and the hosting of Trebek was at the suggestion of NBC (who was the host of Battlestars at the time), but were rejected. However the pilots were picked up by Ted Turner and the show was on WTBS by December 27.[5]


Neither of the pilots have surfaced although numerous screenshots exist online (most of them from the KRON pilot are viewable on the show's official website). It's likely a video recording of the KRON pilot exists since it aired on television but the existence of a home recording of the KRON pilot is unknown. A video with two intros (one from the KRON pilot and one of the NBC pilots) was available on YouTube for a short time but the video has since vanished. Thankfully a screenshot (from the NBC pilot) from the video survives but it seems to be the only screenshot from the NBC pilots available.

On December 25, 2020, YouTube user Wink Martindale uploaded one of the NBC pilots to his YouTube channel. The intro of the pilot is very different than the intro than it was in the intros video (having a animated intro with footage from various arcade games, while the intro from the missing intros video had no animation at all). Wink revealed on Facebook that the show's first host Mark Richards was the one with a copy of one of the NBC pilots.[6] The video was later privated for unknown reasons but was later archived.


One of the NBC Pilots.

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