Brian Blessed


.tv, 2000?


Clever, if overstretched, puzzle game that featured on Sky's short-lived technology channel, [.tv].

Hosted by actor and mountaineer Brian Blessed, the game used (we quote) "the new, visual language of computers" to challenge contestants at a range of pictorial puzzles and games. Instead of word skills or a wide general knowledge, the Nexus tested memory, 3D perception and logical thinking.

Two contestants battle it out for control of the Nexus, a computer network spanning the world. The network is broken up into nodes, and players gain control of the whole network when they control a series of nodes spanning either from east to west or from north to south. Control of a node is established by winning the game associated with that node. Essentially Mario Party, then.

Some of the mini-games were rather clever. One involved adding up the numbers on a spinning dice. Another involved memorising a map and trying to guide a spider around it in Doom point-of-view style. Harder than it seems in practice.

When a player wins a node they get to choose which node they would like to play for next. Obviously, they will choose the one which will help them most in their strategy to dominate the Nexus. This in essence works out to be the same mechanic as Blockbusters uses except in reverse since you were breaking your opponent's connections rather than making your own.

There are 16 nodes, each based in one of the major cities of the world (London, New York, Tokyo). These nodes form a 4 x 4 grid. There are six different games - a different one, randomly selected for each node on the network.

When a player takes control of the network, they win. The Nexus is wiped clean, and another contestant is brought on to attempt to dethrone the previous winner. Essentially, it's winner stays on. Win three shows in a row to win a Palm Pilot.


Future The Family Brain Games voiceover David J. Bodycombe won the first series, he missed out on a £700 palmtop computer in the series 1/series 2 playoff because he couldn't add up to 19, and - when it eventually arrived many weeks later - his bloody Palm Pilot didn't work anyway. The winner of series 2, and the playoff, was Charlotte Ward, who tells us "I still have the Psion 7 that I won that day, having sold the Palm Pilot pretty quickly!"

They were supposed to have about 16 different computer games over the two-series commission, but the programmers cost too much and it overran, so they only ended up with six.


A trailer for the show.

There is also a blooper compilation with some offensive language (mostly from Brian Blessed) plus an amazing description from Brian Blessed on what a "Palm Pilot" sounds like.


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