This could be the one of the best reality TV game shows ever, but being broadcast on tvN, a cable channel in Korea, it means limited viewership and buzz when “The Genius: Rules of the Game” debuted in April this year.
If you like watching Japanese psychological thriller movies like “Liar Game” and “Kaiji”, this game show will appeal to you. It focuses on the psychology, intelligence and sociability of the players to manipulate the game in their favour. The interesting game design, lively interactions among the players, as well as superb editing and production setting got me hooked just minutes into the first episode.
Season 1 of “The Genius” : Rules of the Game
The season starts with 13 participants who is given a garnet each. The garnet is the in-game currency and more can be earned – and spent – during the course of the season. Each garnet is worth 1 million Korean won (~US$1000).
The season is played over 12 rounds or episodes, with one player being eliminated in each round. Every round comprises two segments: Main Match and Death Match. The Main Match will be played first to determine the winner(s). Main Match games may seem simple and straightforward at first, but the dynamic nature and rate at which alliances are formed – and broken – and strategies are changed during the games makes it nearly impossible to predict the final outcome.
The eventual winners of the Main Match will each receive a token of life that gives them immunity from Death Match. If there is only one winner, he/she will get an extra token of life that can be given to another player. The worst performer or loser of Main Match automatically becomes the elimination candidate. He/she will choose another player without a token of life to play the Death Match with him/her.
The loser of the Death Match will be eliminated from the game, and his/her garnets given to the winner of the Death Match, who will return with the rest of the survivors to play in the next round. The last player standing at the end of the season will be crowned the winner. All the garnets possessed by the winner will be exchanged for real cash.
The players come from varied backgrounds: TV host, actor, singers, newscasters, professional gamer, poker player, pool player, web comic artist, university student, auctioneer and politician. Despite the lack of on-screen experience for most of the players, they were quick to settle down and adapt to the intense game environment. The secret alliances, betrayals, sabotages and the “self-vs-team” dilemma spice up the games tremendously and make for intriguing exchanges and unexpected results.
* Updated Dec 2013:
A second season has been confirmed. You can read more about it in my post.
(all image credit: tvN)