Before there were e-sports — heck, before the original Nintendo even came to America — there was Starcade.
The 1982-84 game show, which pitted video-game nerds against each other in vintage arcade games like Pac-Man, Centipede and Donkey Kong, is back this week, with gaming site Twitch streaming a six-day Starcade marathon that runs through this Sunday. And it’s only gotten better with age — an irresistible combo of old-school gaming and Reagan-era kitsch.
Originally airing on TBS and later in syndication, Starcade featured two contestants answering a few video game-themed trivia questions before going head-to-head on the controls, trying to get the high score in a wide array of then-current games. And the grand prize? An arcade game you can take home, of course!
For lifelong gamers, it’s a thrill just to see these classic games back in action. (Dragon’s Lair! Joust! Q-Bert!) And even if you’re not joystick-inclined, Starcade is still a treasure trove of terrible ’80s fashion, hilariously useless consolation prizes and the deadpan joys of host Geoff Edwards, who had a surprising amount of video-game knowledge, despite being way older than Atari’s usual demographic.
Plus, if you miss this week’s marathon because you were too busy mashing buttons, don’t worry: Starcade‘s entire run is being remastered by Shout! Factory and will be made available on their streaming site in September. Game on!