No single question stuck in the minds of Canadian ’90s kids more than whether or not Nicholas Picholas could possibly be a person’s real name. Gaming enthusiasts had the chance to solve this elusive mystery this past weekend by asking Mr. Picholas himself in person at the Video & Arcade Top 10 Reunion in Toronto, Ontario.
Hosted at Toronto’s Power Up Game Bar, former V&A Top 10 hosts Nicholas Picholas, Rob Pagetto, and Liza Fromer were on site to recreate the video game variety show, with one incredibly welcome addition: alcohol for the now-adult fanbase.
For the uninitiated, Video & Arcade Top 10 was a YTV weekend programming staple that ran from 1991 to 2006. For 15 years, V&A gave viewers tips and news on the latest video games, sneak previews of the best movies hitting local video stores (RIP), music reviews, chances to win prize packs, and more. But at the heart of each episode was a four player contest where kids would test their skill on the hottest game of that week for a chance to take home totally rad electronic prizes.
The Power Up Game Bar, which has multiplayer video games set up at every booth, made for the perfect setting to reminisce about simpler days before Twitch or YouTube, when the best way to watch people play games was tuning in to see four kids play Jimmy Neutron: Attack of the Twonkies.
Two contests were put on in the style of V&A, with four gamers at a time competing in Double Dragon or Mario Kart 8, shoutcasted by Nicholas Picholas and Rob Pagetto. The winners received a copy of Fallout 4, Skyrim: Remastered, or an Amsterdam Brewery prize pack — because the only thing better than playing Fallout 4 is playing Fallout 4 with your bev on.
In between competitions, Nicholas Picholas took to the mic to share stories from behind the scenes of Video & Arcade Top 10, including where the impossibly catchy “it’s letter time” jingle came from. V&A was filmed in one go, directly to tape, meaning if segments finished ahead of schedule, they’d need to fill time somehow. “Our producer would go, ‘can you just come up with something? Fill a minute!’ And I start singing this, ‘it’s letter time, it’s letter time,’ song. And that would just go on and on until he’s like, ‘okay we’re good for time.”
Picholas, who hosted the show for 15 years, also had some sincere words to share with the nostalgic gamers in attendance: “Some people have shown me the clips of when they were on the show, which blows me away…there’s so many good memories. I hope that you still play, I hope that you still game, and if anybody wrote a letter, know that some of would pour over those letters.”
Do you have any Video & Arcade Top 10 stories to share? Write us a comment or tweet at us @buttonmasherto. IT’S TWITTER TIME, IT’S TWITTER TIME!