The next great game show may not involve obscure trivia knowledge or the ability to solve word puzzles with limited information, but how well you can wield a smooshy hammer. The Hollywood Reporter wrote on Monday that arcade game Whac-A-Mole is getting the TV treatment, with a game show coming thanks to a partnership with Mattel and Freemantle, the makers of American Idol and America’s Got Talent.
Whac-A-Mole is simple: you grab a hammer and smash the creature that pops out of an array of holes in front of you for points and prizes. The arcade game has long been a coin-op staple since its debut in 1976, and versions with gators and other animals have come along over the years as well. There’s even an at-home tabletop version as of 2009, which is where Mattel comes in here.
According to the report, the Whac-A-Mole game show will be an elimination-style competition where players work in teams, including “life-sized Whac-A-Mole” and an obstacle course with a “surprising twist.” It’s unclear what you’re whac-ing with if the moles in question are human-sized, or if the surprising twist is that the moles can whac back. But anything’s possible right now, no wrong answers when you’re making game show magic. Look at Holey Moley, another show that added giant obstacles for… reasons.
This is apparently the second Mattel property in development for a game show, as THR reported that the card game Uno is also in development. That one probably doesn’t have an obstacle course involved, but Adam Bonnett sounds extremely excited about the Whac-A-Mole series according to the report.
“Whac-A-Mole is a beloved, action-packed arcade game with a deep fan following, and the interactive nature and comedic energy of the game makes it a great franchise for episodic television,” said Adam Bonnett, who is developing the series for Mattel Television and who will exec produce, “Jayson and the team at Fremantle have had unparalleled success creating iconic reality television series and are the perfect partners to help us bring this classic game to life in new ways.”
It’s unclear if the “deep fan following” means we’re in line for a Whac-A-Mole cinematic universe, but the whole concept is intriguing. Not every tabletop game deserves to be a TV game show — the Candyland show on Food Network, for example, wasn’t all it was cracked up to be — but Whac-A-Mole is certainly chaotic enough to reach the goofy weirdness of a Japanese-style game show. And, hopefully, no moles will be harmed in the making of good TV.