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Gamer Tuesday

July 16, 2013

Pap the Disney Gamer's Highlights Kelvin's Favorite Things Week: The D Show

Developed by: Disney Interactive

System: PC

Happy Kelvin week, everyone! Like in past 'Days of the Week Writers Favorite Things' weeks, we have been celebrating everything that 'Once Upon a Time' recapper, Three CommentEARS member and frequent Thursday Treasures article writer Kelvin Cedeno loves in the Disney universe. His choice for favorite game, though, proved to be a bit of a challenge as the relative obscurity of this game (for me at least) meant that obtaining information on this game was somewhat rare. But what I did find lead me to declare this as one of the most insightful Disney games ever made (up to that point in time): The D Show.

D Show

If there is one thing Disney loves to do is to celebrate their own history. And why not? Disney has achieved one of the most powerful legacies in the history of entertainment and pop culture. There is literally nothing that exists without it being touched by Disney's hands. Film, music, art, the theater, theme park entertainment, video games, toys, fashion and many other things have seen the Disney name placed upon it. Even more fascinating is how all of these present tremendous synergy with each other. That means that the story of one product crosses over to the story of another product, all tied up with the Disney name. That's why we have Disney films based on Disney theme park attractions, and how that film has inspired video games, which in turn also inspired exclusive merchandise.

As if all of that wasn't enough, all of those things have been created by some of the most talented people in the world. Talent like Alan Menken, Mary Blair, Elton John, Brad Bird, George Lucas, Glen Keane, the Sherman Brothers, the Nine Old Men, Peggy Lee, Robin Williams and countless others have lent their respective skills and abilities to work on some of the best Disney products ever. What I am getting at is that Disney simply loves to celebrate ALL of that, and does so in the form of entertaining trivia challenges hosted on various platforms, from their D23 expo to, of course, video games.

The very catchy D Show opening song!

Released for home computers in 1996, The D Show is a trivia/quiz challenge game that takes a look at all of Disney's assets and challenges players' knowledge of Disney history across all of them. And I truly mean ALL of them. As you could have seen from the intro I posted above, everything from films, to theme parks, to characters and music has been featured in the game. This makes The D Show the ideal game for the Disney fanatic as it shows extreme care and design in presenting Disney history.

That's not to say that The D Show takes itself very seriously. One of the most endearing aspects of this game is that it is modeled after another PC-gem of the 90s: You Don't Know Jack. In that game series, players answered insanely wacky trivia questions in an irreverent, fast paced venue. While not as wacky, The D Show does present itself in a captivating manner that emulates the production values of a television game show. The intro alone features an extremely catchy tune that perfectly captures the player's attention and gets him or her in the mood.

Once the intro is done, it is time to answer the questions. Even though the game has labeled itself as 'the Disney trivia game show everyone can play,' The D Show sets out to tickle the gray matter of the truly dedicated fan. These questions can often range from the commonly known (In what year was X movie released?) to the far more challenging (What did the Disney animators exactly do when working on Bambi?). Up to four players can compete to win D bucks, the game's form of currency. Every once in a while, the questions will be interrupted by bonus challenges, mini-games that change the pace of the game a bit, and offer various degrees of challenges. One of these challenges is Cel-O-Vision, in which players must place the correct Disney characters on top of the background on display. Another challenge is Before and After, where players must take a look at two drawings and spot the differences between them. The round ends with the game called D-Fibulator. In this game, players must answer if the statement being made is true or false. Once all games have been cleared, a winner is declared based on the number of D-bucks he or she has accumulated.

Prince Adam

FUN FACT: For all its in-depth presentation of Disney history, The D Show is infamous for presenting a piece of information that Disney themselves has never made official: Beast's name. In Beauty and the Beast, Beast is never addressed by his real name, just 'Master' or 'Beast.' Once the curse is broken, the Prince remains nameless. As seen in the screenshot, The D Show makes the claim that Beast's real name is Adam. This has been a controversy that has been going around for many, many years. Fans have decided to address Beast as Adam. Disney, however, has yet to fully declare Adam to be Beast's real name. Even if there have been instances where Disney has addressed the Beast as Adam (such as in the royal rooms of Port Orleans and the recent Beauty and the Beast Vinylmation series), Disney has been quick to take that fact back. So long story short (TOO LATE), despite what The D Show says, Adam is not officially the Beast's name.

The D Show really knows how to use all of Disney's assets. In addition to the history questions, The D Show proudly uses clips from Disney shows, theme park attractions, TV shows and more in order to create a more detailed presentation. Nowadays, the clips look grainy, but in the 90s, any game that featured video footage was seen as advancing the format and the storytelling potential of video games. It allowed Disney Interactive to show off all its assets in what was then considered to be a modern medium. Outside the clips, though, The D Show has a standard, but clean, aesthetic that mixes retro mentality with clean accessibility.

If there is one thing to speak against The D Show, and it's a minor one, is that the game might be too challenging for those who mainly appreciate Disney on a casual manner, or don't care to do research on the extensive history of the Disney company, just enjoy the efforts Disney makes. It is a minor one, but considering Disney often creates products that are mainly for the general populace, it is refreshing to see The D Show try to appeal to those that have made Disney history something to heavily invest time and effort on. Another thing is that this being a PC game from the 90s, it relies on specific computer specs and technology, meaning that those that decide to play the game today could have issues getting it to work on modern day technology.

D Show

In conclusion, The D Show remains somewhat of a rarity in that it is a Disney game that focuses on ALL aspects of the Disney company and aims itself for the populace of fans that do their research. Maybe it is because of that fact that The D Show is a bit of an obscure classic. But what a classic it is. It is a shame that no more sequels or updates have been made. Considering that now Disney owns Marvel, the Muppets and Star Wars, have opened up one more international Disney park, Disneyland has a second park in the form of Disney California Adventure, and even MORE movies and TV shows have been made, The D Show: 2013 edition sounds really nice now. And with the advent of mobile gaming, it would be the perfect venue for such a game to exist. But alas, until that time comes, all we have are the nice memories of this deep game... and its theme song of course.

 

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