9 Insider Stories From People Who Were On ’90s Nickelodeon Game Shows

Almost everyone who grew up in the 1980s and ’90s remembers those classic Nickelodeon game shows – Double DareFinders KeepersLegends of the Hidden Temple, and GUTS. The silly televised contests were exclusively made to entertain kids and featured fun games, rewarding prizes, and often lots of slime. But what was it really like to try out, compete, or be a member of the studio audience during one of the shows?

Check out these Redditors who participated in one of the classic Nickelodeon game shows and lived to tell all the secrets. What does slime really taste like? Why do some families get selected to compete on television over others? And what giant caveat comes with winning prizes?

1. Winners Had To Pay Taxes For Their Prizes

From Redditor /u/xCanont70x:

I was on Double Dare when I was a kid. The way it worked for us is that we went to the taping and prior to the show they picked out families to do games which would determine who would be on the show. I think they were looking for people who could follow directions and people who tested well for the camera. We got picked to try out only because during the last chance to be picked I physically grabbed the guy selecting people (again, I was a kid and this was the ’90s) and yelled “please pick us” at the top of my lungs. Anyways we got picked and did a cake making challenge with the large styrofoam “cakes”. You would pass them down and stack them while one person added slime to help hold them together. We won that and were selected for the show.

There was a little talk and paperwork before the show, mostly handled by my Dad. The talk we got was to encourage us to listen closely to the rules and to be enthusiastic for the camera. We were team “Ah, real monsters!!” which excited me because that show was dope. During the show we did a couple of physical challenges. I remember we did one where you flipped frogs into the other player’s pants using a small catapult. We ended up winning the main show and got to do the obstacle course. I was picked to do, I believe, obstacles 4 and 8. 4 was the human gumball machine and 8 was the blimp. I remember being disappointed because my brother got to do “pick it” and that sh*t was my jam. The gumball machine was really cool though. You jump in and basically disappear into black for a few seconds while all you can hear are tons of plastic ball pit balls shifting. Then you suddenly see the stage lights again when you exit. The blimp was very straight forward. I was told I could not engage it until the whole family was under it. When they were in place I pulled a cord and we all got slimed. I got the flag and we won. After the show we were covered in slime, which tastes very good surprisingly. The crew gave us Ah, Real Monsters!! T-shirts that had glow in the dark parts… my family didn’t expect to get picked so we ended up having to find cardboard to lay down on the seats of the van so we could ride home without ruining the seats. It was an interesting ride back sitting around in my undershorts on a piece of cardboard trying not to touch anything.

For prizes we got Mountain Bikes, a Sega Genesis with Maximum Carnage, a Mario Paint game with the drawing board, a Nickelodeon flash screen, and random other things I’m forgetting. My parents paid taxes on all the prizes and they took a long time to arrive. I think it was several months before we got the first ones and about six months until we had everything. It was a great experience overall though.

2. It Was A Dream World For Every ’90s Kid

From Redditor /u/normanbailer:

Legends of the Hidden Temple. It was a long day but we had endless pizza and soda (mid-’90s). Every recent gaming system was available to play between shoots. There was a live audience that would get shuffled in and out. The host interviewed us all individually and it was a bit uncomfortable. Red Jaguars 4 life. 

3. Contestants Got To See Where All Nickelodeon’s Slime Was Made

From Redditor /u/ddtape:

I was on Slime Time Live back when they taped at Universal Studios in Orlando. They had a bunch of us kids line up outside by the slime geyser where the producers could see how enthusiastic we would be for television. My sister and I got on the show thanks in part to my dad splitting us up so the producers wouldn’t know we were related.

Anyways, once were chosen, we hung out in the green room at the old Nickelodeon Studios. They had a TV playing re-runs and couch… nothing too fancy. We did get to see where the slime was made, the prop room, and a couple of the sound stages. Sadly, the inside of the studio was largely deserted and a far cry from it’s heyday due to its impending closure.

We geared up in jump suits and when they were ready to go live, we went outside to tape the show. I lost the first game, but my sister wound up going on to getting slimed and winning a kick scooter.

4. Before ‘Double Dare’ Was On Nickelodeon, Parents Weren’t Allowed On Set

From Redditor /u/jonathan22877:

I was on Double Dare in 1987. Back when it was on Fox before it moved to Nickelodeon. It was awesome. Our whole class and the other teams class were the audience members. My parents had to chaperone the school trip to go there (Philly) and they had to sit on a different set (Finders Keepers) so they would not interfere. My team won but I messed up the obstacle course on the fifth obstacle. We split $320 cash and then each won a phone/tape answering machine, a gumball and dog treat machine, $200 to Kaybee toy store and a remote controlled car. Dave, Robin, Harvey and Marc were all extremely friendly. I went home with slime (icing) in my underwear.

5. The ‘GUTS’ Set Had An Enormous Wardrobe Of Plain Colored Shirts

From Redditor /u/Rowdybob22:

My brother and I, while at universal Orlando in early 2000 or maybe 2001, got chosen from the park to be on a short GUTS show/commercial break game or something where we were going to shoot free throws on their driveway/garage looking studio inside Nickelodeon. We go inside and see some awesome sets for the live shows and then get taken to the waiting room, which was basically a… ’90s Nickelodeon dreamland. Video games and wacky decor. Can’t remember a whole lot, but they didn’t let me wear the shirt I had on and took me into the enormous wardrobe room and gave me a baggy plain red shirt. I felt like an idiot, I must’ve been 9 or 10. We go into the set and they tell me that I was too young to play so my brother played some free throws game with 3 other kids and I got to be the kid who rebounded the balls and passed them back. We didn’t win anything but later we both got letters from Nickelodeon with our names on them that I bragged about until I grew up and didn’t watch Nickelodeon anymore.

6. The Slime Tasted Like Apple Sauce

From Redditor /u/joeskellington:

In 2001, I was on Slime Time Live. I got slimed in the big chair and won Shrek on VHS (which is my all-time prized possession). My family was on a trip to Orlando for Disney and Universal, and I was dead set on making it on to the show. I forced my family to go to the park as soon as they opened so we could run over to the famed Nickelodeon Studios and figure out how to get on the show. I had made a t-shirt before the trip and everything, covered in Nicktoon Characters and big letters that read “Slime Me!” 

As we were entering the park, my mom was giving me the whole spiel, how lots of kids want to be on it and how I shouldn’t be disappointed if we don’t make it on. I never heard the end of what she was saying, because as security was checking her purse, I saw a lady with a clipboard in a Nickelodeon t-shirt, and bolted towards her. I ran up to her and asked “Are you from Slime Time Live? Look at my shirt, I want to be on Slime Time Live!” In reality, she was clearly just a PA, but to this day, I see her as a god. They signed me and my sister up, and told us to come back in a few hours. So we went through the park, hit all the classics (RIP Back to the Future: The Ride). Once it was time for the show, they brought us backstage, where we changed into our jumpsuits and got ready for filming. My sister did one of the minigames, but her team didn’t end up winning. Like I said, I managed to get in the big chair, and got paired with a kid on the phone who, luckily, got those matching game numbers just right. I couldn’t believe it. Before I could even process what was about to happen, I witness Dave Azer was yelling to slime me– my life was forever changed, and the bucket tipped over.

7. During ‘Legends Of The Hidden Temple,’ Kids Were Told The Episode’s Legend Multiple Times

From Redditor /u/benevolent_jerk:

I was on LotHT. I was on the very young end of the 11-14 range, having just turned 11 a few months prior. The puberty gap was huge and some of these kids were much stronger than me.

I watched the show religiously to prepare and then I got handed the most difficult moat crossing I’d ever seen. Fell in multiple times, the fog made it kind of hard to breath. It took a really long time for one of the last 3 teams to get across the moat (which they reduced significantly in editing).

I went back to the dressing room and they were prepping the next 4 teams with the story for the Steps of Knowledge. I think they heard it at least 3x read to them and get a copy to internalize. Leaving this scene was surreal and I was already struggling to deal with it. I didn’t yet realize the huge letdown experience was going to lead me into a bit of a depression.

I remember arguing with the kid from the Red Jaguars about whether O.J. was guilty, changing out of my wet clothes, visiting the biggest McDonalds in Orlando and then driving home with my parents.

I got a $50 savings bond in the mail maybe three months later and I never redeemed it. My episode aired and we taped it, but now the YouTube version of the episode is actually higher quality – it just doesn’t have the commercials from the original era.

8. Some Had To Fake Being A ‘Real’ Family

From Redditor /u/satyricom:

My family tried out for Family Double Dare in Philadelphia. It was a disaster, as my parents were divorced, my brother was a sullen teen who was mortified to be there. I was the only one obsessed with the show, so I guess the rest of the family was there for me (which I still appreciate to this day). We had to do family team type games, and I guess act like we thought a “real” family acts like (or at least one they would put on TV). I remember feeling like we weren’t convincing anyone. When we did trivia, I blurted our answers over everyone else (not demonstrating being a team player). Needless to say we didn’t get a call back.

9. ‘GUTS’ Looked For Camera-Friendly Rather Than Athletic Contestants

From Redditor /u/LittleLightningCloud:

Back when I was 12 or 13 (10-11 years ago) my family tried out for GUTS in Universal Orlando, at a pop up obstacle course, had to sign papers to okay footage and waivers and whatever. My team was myself (played lacrosse and soccer), my cousin who is a month younger than I (played basketball and football) my aunt (fresh out of the army) and my uncle (was a track runner) everyone was reasonably athletic, and we are all very competitive, VERY, competitive.

We crushed it, we were consistently in the top three out of 20 families, it took hours. The way it seemed they tried to make it fair was the higher your score the earlier you went on the new obstacle or task, so the worse you did the more you could see and plan. Again we weren’t afforded that luxury, but we took it in stride with the other two families that we were neck and neck with.

After all was said and done we finished first, really we did, I promise, but they pulled us to the side, gave us a gift card to like the Cheesecake Factory and said we did great, but we weren’t what they were looking for. We preformed the best athletically we just didn’t perform the best for the camera, we were too involved in competition, that we did stop to be caricatures, pretty much. So we didn’t continue.

Basically, my family competed for GUTS (MY FAMILY GOT GUTS!!) we excelled athletically, but performed poorly as showmen/cartoon characters. We didn’t make the cut, but got a gift card to a hardly decent establishment.