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The main difference between this and its predecessors was that Round 1 gave each contestant $1,000 and the opportunity to press or "freeze" before each of their spins. After each contestant had a turn, more Whammies were added to the board, and hitting a Whammy eliminated you from the rest of the round.
Round 2 was the Question Round, containing contestant interviews and five questions asked, while Round 3 was just like normal Press.
Season 2 added a "Big Bank" to the game, which began at $3,000; every time a player hit a Whammy, his/her winnings were added to the total. Hitting a Big Bank space gave that player a chance to win the entire bonus by correctly answering a question.
This version was nowhere near as successful as Press but managed to last slightly longer than Chance, ending after 26 weeks in a move by GSN to branch out past game shows into other fields, such as video games. That said, repeats have aired for most of the period since, so it shouldn't be too hard to find.
Game Show Tropes in use:
- Bonus Space: "$x00 + One Spin" spaces, as before. There were none in Round 1, due to the format above. The board also had Pick-A-Prize (which usually had about 10-12 choices at any given time) and returning favorite $2,000 Or Lose-A-Whammy.
- Game Show Winnings Cap: One-and-done, which didn't really work out too well when people were the "big winner" with less than $3,000. The only contestant to win with $0 was invited back on a later episode, while 12 contestants were invited back for the very last week of shows.
- Consolation Prize: An Argus digital camera in Season 1, a Croton watch with a Whammy on it in Season 2.
- Undesirable Prize: Which could also be called GEM Car. Did anyone actually want that thing?
- Same could be said for a lot of the prizes. Who wanted a $300 year's supply of M&Ms when that was also the lowest cash amount on the board? The "His & Hers Roller Skates" were also a prime example, as well as every prize worth $300 or less on this list — all 100+ of them.
- Promotional Consideration
- Unexpectedly Obscure Answer: The Big Bank questions, far too often.
- Whammy: Same as before, but in 3-D.
- April Fools' Day: In 2003, Graham Elwood guest-hosted as part of GSN's host-switcharound day. For each of the first three spins in Round 1, the space landed on was turned into a "Newton" (represented by Todd making a face resembling that of the Big Tongue Whammy from Press), which awarded the contestant an outlandish (and fake) prize before saying "April Fool's!" and giving them another turn.
- Catch Phrase: "Big Bucks, no Whammies!"
- Covered in Gunge: The occasional result of a Double Whammy.
- A Day in the Limelight: See April Fools' Day, above.
- Double Unlock: Winning the car required contestants to collect both "pieces" ("Gem" and "Car" in Season 1, two halves of a key in Season 2) and win the game. In Season 1, hitting a Whammy after getting "Gem" or both pieces took the car out of consideration; this was fixed with the Big Bank.
- Four Is Death: As before, getting four Whammies knocked you out of the game.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Todd Newton previously hosted GSN's Hollywood Showdown, which was a semi-revival of Jackpot!
- Hey, It's That Voice!: Gary Kroeger is (slightly) better known as the host of the PAX Beat the Clock.
- Inflation Negation: Premiered 16 years after Press Your Luck ended, but retained the same nominal values in Square #4 despite inflation going up about 63% in America during that span. Justified, in that a cable network would probably have a smaller budget than CBS.
- Limited Animation: Averted, with rather impressive 3-D CGI Whammies (most notably the Tarzan Whammy, which smacked into the screen quite realistically).
- Luck-Based Mission: Even going so far as to say it was "Larson-proof".
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Many of the Whammys: Martha Stewart, Judge Judy, Ozzy Osbourne, Anne Robinson
- No Indoor Voice: Todd freakin' Newton. Justified in that he actually had a likable personality and genuinely seemed to be enjoying himself rather than simply being the loud-voiced, robotic, only-here-for-the-paycheck, pretty-boy kind of emcee that became so common in the aughties (such as Ty Treadway).
- Obvious Beta: The pilots had a "Whammy Guard", awarded to a player for earning the maximum 12 spins in the Question Round, that negated the next Whammy hit.
- Obvious Rule Patch: The Big Bank, which made the car much more likely to be won. Kind of hard to miss the display below the contestants...
- Opening Narration:
- Season 1 (2002): "The game with big bucks and Whammies is back, bigger and better than ever! It's time to play Whammy! The All-New Press Your Luck!"
- Season 2 (2003): "The game with big bucks and Whammies is even bigger and better than ever! It's time to press your luck and play Whammy!"
- Out of Order: The Tournament Of Losers/Tournament Of Champions, the last five episodes taped, were not the last to air in first-run.
- Product Placement: One Whammy dove into a bowl of M&Ms.
- Roger Rabbit Effect: Again, the Whammies.
- Sequel Difficulty Spike: Round 3 had 11 Whammies for most of the run, up from 9 in Round 2 on Press and 3 (Devils) on Chance.
- As a side note, there was no spike between Chance and Press, since there was the same chance of hitting a Devil/Whammy (3/18 = 9/54 = 1/6).
- Short Title Long Elaborate Subtitle: Whammy! The All-New Press Your Luck.
- Shout-Out: Among the many new Whammies were expies of George Foreman, Emeril Lagasse, Martha Stewart, Steve Irwin, Britney Spears, Ozzy Osbourne, Anne Robinson, Judge Judy, Harry Potter, and N'Sync.
- Take That: One Whammy mocked Enron!
- This Is Your Premise on Drugs: Early GSN commercials for the series began with "This is your Whammy" (the rollerskating Whammy from Press that slips and hits his head), followed by "This is your Whammy on the all-new Press Your Luck" (clips from both of the 2002 pilots).
- Transpacific Equivalent: The Philippines got Whammy! Push Your Luck, which ran on the GMA Network from 2007-08. Hosted by Paolo Bediones and Rufa Mae Quinto, the show was virtually identical to the American Whammy!
- Unexpected Gameplay Change: Big Bank. Although a decent idea (the Whammy's bank account), it was marred by some incredibly-hard questions (including one where the contestant's guess was The Godfather and the answer was The Godfather Part 2) and the fact that it pretty much brought the excitement to a halt.