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The Cube (2009-) is an ITV Game Show where players try to perform various physical and mental challenges. Completing a challenge allows the player to go on to the next level (and increases their potential winnings), and completing all 7 levels earns the player a grand prize of £250,000. You only get 9 lives to use in your game
But hold on, before you begin jumping to conclusions and saying that this show is basically Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? meets The Krypton Factor, there's just one more thing that should be noted: you have to do all the tasks within a giant four metre wide acrylic glass cube, with a limited number of lives, and chances to simplify a task or practice it beforehand. Oh, and unlike most game shows patterned off of Millionaire, every level is All or Nothing, there are in fact no safe points at all (unless you bail out before you commit yourself to the next game, which is the only time you're actually allowed to quit by the way).
For what this show may or may not lack in originality (stunt game shows are not a new idea; see Beat the Clock, although a lot of the challenges on this show are quite ingenious at times), it truly is Better Than It Sounds once you actually notice all the Visual Effects of Awesome (which are the result of this show's biggest draw aside from the game itself: its innovative camerawork and clever use of CGI)
The show has been quite a hit for ITV 1, currently preparing for its fifth series later in 2012. It has also spun off several international versions, all of which are filmed on set of the original in London. Over in America, CBS had greenlit a pilot for an American version not long after the first series wrapped in the UK, but Minute to Win It likely stole their thunder. Meanwhile, Spain got their own version in 2012, which can be viewed on Mediaset España's official site here with no regional lockout.
Game Show Tropes in use:
- All or Nothing: Every task is an all-or-nothing gamble, and once you decide to play, you can't back out. There are no safety nets if you lose all your lives.
- Home Game: There's a "Family Electronic Game" as well as an iOS version.
- Let's Just See What Would Have Happened: Inverted; the "Trial Run" gives the contestant a chance to see how he might do before committing to a decision.
- Lifelines: "Simplify" (makes the stunt easier in some way) and "Trial Run" (allows the player to practice the stunt once before deciding to play on or not). The are discarded for the final level.
- Camera Tricks: This show is probably the only excuse to use advanced camera trickery outside of The Matrix
- And yes, they can do Bullet Time too.
- Commercial Break Cliffhanger: Notably averted. Commercial breaks are generally scheduled after a challenge has been presented to the contestant, but before the player decides whether to play on, take the money and quit, or use the Trial Run.
- Dueling Shows / Follow the Leader: Minute to Win It started out in early development as an attempt by NBC to rip off The Cube using items you can find around your home for the stunts, although it later evolved into something more like Beat the Clock shortly before its premiere. Ironically, ITV picked up Minute for its digital channel ITV2, but it faced Adaptation Distillation and turned into something that some people think came out better than the US version.
- Game Over: When a contestant runs out of lives, the Cube announces, "Contestant defeated!" (As you lose your lives, the Cube announces how many lives you have left.)
- Hard Mode Filler: The final level will always end up being the game you had the most trouble with. To make it worse, it's a tougher version, and you cannot use any lifelines on it.
- Nintendo Hard: All of the stunts have been tested prior to production. In the later stages of the game, they make it a point to use challenges that gave the testers the most trouble - to the point that the contestant would have to do better than the testers in terms of average lives used to complete the stunt.
- Rule of Cool: Watching someone count to ten seconds? Dull. Watching someone count to ten seconds in the Cube? Awesome.
- The Faceless / The Voiceless: The Body, a woman wearing a silver mask who demonstrates the tasks in clips, allowing the contestants to judge if they will go on or not. However, she has revealed her mouth once - to demonstrate a stunt involving blowing a ball into a glass of water - so she's not that shy, maybe.
- Trailers Always Spoil: The new series is introducing contestants whose games air over two episodes. That makes the trailers for next week's episode give away at least some of the contestant's future progress. For example, anyone who watched the second episode's trailer knows that the contestant is going to at least reach the £50K game.
- Unwinnable by Design: Because there are no safety nets in the money ladder, and because the final game is a much harder version of a revisited game with no lifelines allowed, we're probably never going to see anyone play the £250K game, much less win it. One contestant had five lives and still backed down at the prospect of losing the £100K he'd just won.
- Unless said contestant is a gold medal-winning Olympic athlete. (the actual episode will be broadcast later in 2012)
- Who Wants to Be Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?