Nickelodeon game shows are a cutesy, silly, slime-covered tradition. Who didn’t yearn to step onto the Nickelodeon Studios lot and compete for cash, prizes, and fabulous vacations to...I guess Florida, or maybe Denver? Some shows made it harder, or even way harder, to win the grand prize than others. Here’s our list of the Best Final Rounds from Nickelodeon game shows, ranked from ridiculously easy to actual torture.
This final round was definitely the easiest because you didn’t actually have to do anything. You just stood there. In this case, stars from shows like All That and The Adventures of Pete & Pete would try to fill in the blanks to guess a kid’s hidden talent. Although, sometimes the “talent” portion was debatable—one of them was seriously about a kid having a giant toejam collection.
This 2009 puzzle game was inspired by a Japanese game show called Brain Survivor, and had some similarities to Sudoku, Nintendo’s Brain Age, or other puzzle games that were popular in the mid-2000s. In the final challenge, Brain Trip, kids would have to correctly duplicate three lighted patterns in the floor in order to win, with the game grid getting bigger every time. It had a pretty high success rate, as the patterns were relatively straightforward, and every failure gave them a chance to see it again before re-attempting it.
The coolest plastic mountain on the planet, so nice they named it thrice: the Aggro Crag, the Mega Crag, and then the Super Aggro Crag. The final challenge for Nickelodeon GUTS was a climbing rock where kids had to light up sirens as they made their way up a monstrous peak. It was tough, but had one advantage over most other Nickelodeon game shows. Much like 2016's Paradise Run, GUTS’ final challenge had no countdown clock, and there was always a winner. So no matter how much all the players sucked, one of them was taking home the grand prize.
Think Fast’s bonus round had kids play a match game, like Get The Picture. Only here, they were opening lockers full of horrible actors who would yell things at you. It wasn’t the toughest game, but it was definitely the most irritating.
I was obsessed with the Video Zone when I was a kid. How did Nick Arcade get the kids inside the video games? In short, they didn’t. As you can see by the video above, players were forced to stare at a small TV screen in order to guess where they were in the game and how they could beat the challenges.
This game’s final challenge had the chance to be either super easy or ridiculously hard—it really was about luck. This 2014 game show was kind of like a kids’ version of Tosh.0, where kids would watch stupid online videos and answer questions about them. The final round, Trending Now, used four videos that the kids had seen at some point during the game. The audience secretly votes on them, from best to worst, and it’s up to the kid to put them in the right order. Every time they submit, they’ll only find out how many they got right—not which ones, or in which order. That might sound easy, but the kids also had to deal with the Spinning Wheel of Doom, a tiny obstacle course that kept hitting them in the face as they tried to move around the video cards.
Finders Keepers was like a kids’ version of Supermarket Sweep or Shop ’Til You Drop. Only here, the final round wasn’t inside a grocery store or a mal, it took place inside a house. Kids had to dash from room to room, finding clues and solving riddles in order to advance to the next round. Each clue gave the kids a prize, but you had to get all seven in order to win the grand prize. Most kids didn’t make it that far.
The Double Dare Obstacle Course is one of the most famous Nickelodeon final rounds out there. Everybody knows about it! However, while it might have been incredibly fun to watch kids and parents dig their hands into giant noses and spin hamster wheels, it was a really hard pass-the-flag challenge to win. Our friends over at the AV Club did a great oral history of the obstacle course if you want a deep dive into how much of a monster it was.
Keep It Spotless, hosted by John Cena, is Nickelodeon’s newest game show, having premiered in 2018. It’s all about forcing kids to stay paint-free in an environment where everything is designed to cover them in (non-toxic) paint. Done in the style of modern competition shows, it’s interlaced with those reality TV-style interviews where the kids talk about their motivations for—you know—not wanting to get paint on them. The final challenge, the Gauntlet, is incredibly tough. The kids have to jump, duck, dive, and race through an obstacle course that’s coated in paint. The more times they get doused, the more money they lose. Sure, the kids come out of it with at least $1,000, but good luck getting anything more than that.
Seriously, was it going to be anything else? The Temple Run is the most famous, and most terrifying, Nickelodeon game show final round out there. Kids had three minutes to race through Olmec’s temple, recover an object, and get out safely. This is all while trying to survive an obstacle course that was built for adults, temple guards that terrified children to the point of tears, and that stupid Shrine of the Silver Money that no one could solve. I don’t care if you think you’re special—no, you wouldn’t be able to do it either. The series has inspired many couples Halloween costumes, and even a made-for-TV movie. And now that the show is on NickSplat, you can enjoy the torment forever.