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Forget the double dare, take the physical challenge!

TV Preview: Game Head Call of Duty 3: Challenge

Wow. The Game Head Call of Duty 3: Challenge. Here’s the concept: take 16 average schmo gamers, fans of the Call of Duty game franchise, and throw them into a modified boot camp where they have to play the all-new Call of Duty 3 game, and if they lose, perform actual army boot camp-style physical activities. The final winner of the challenge wins a new home entertainment system, a trip to the Spike Video Game Awards, and a trip to Normandy, France. Not bad a prize for playing some video games and running around a little.

On the first night the 16 contestants are split into two squads, Able and Baker, and are harassed by an actual drill sergeant. It may not be the newest thing in the world, but that is absolutely always fun to watch. The next morning they play their first match, with the losers performing a physical challenge. Following that is the second match and physical challenge followed by the third match. The physical challenge for the third match is done the next day. The winning team and the one contestant from the losing team to win the third physical challenge compete as individuals in order to win the prize. Short and sweet, game over.

Fortunately for the viewing audience, the producers went out and got stereotypical gamers, not exclusively, but there were certainly enough. They brought in 15 men and one woman, and from the footage shown, many of the individuals were quite out of shape. They may have been great at the physics of Call of Duty, but physical challenges were not their style. I know it’s a spoiler, but poor Frankenberry. 

Frankenberry was one of the low scorers following the first Call of Duty 3 match, and in order to stay in the competition had to have the fastest time on the challenge, which was to do a relatively simple-looking rappel. Apparently, the producers of the show allowed, out of the goodness of their hearts, all the contestants to do a practice run.  I’m sure that they wouldn’t have mentioned this at all, except for the fact that on his practice run, Frankenberry proceeded to hit an incline on his way down (exactly where he was wasn’t clear) from what appeared to be a minimal height, twisted one ankle and broke the other.  And that is the kind of gamer the producers went out and got. Except of course for the one that seems good at the physical challenges — he can’t manage to get any kills in the game, but he’s good at the physical challenges.

Poor gamers, especially the one that states how happy he’ll be to go see friends once he’s lost (it’s only the second day of the contest). The game might be their element, but the challenges certainly are not. 

The whole show is cut frenetically. The thirty minutes of show zips by in what feels closer to ten minutes and the viewer barely gets the chance to know the game or the gamers. It absolutely could have benefited significantly from being an hour-long program, or perhaps a few episodes long. As it stands, the vast majority of the players are given no more than five or ten seconds of screen time before being eliminated, and the sheer number of disqualified people in the first physical challenge is embarrassing to the contestants.

Still, the show is fun and funny.  And, though I haven’t been a regular Call of Duty guy in the past, the graphics look excellent, and I’m excited to get my hands on an actual copy of the game.

Great TV this isn’t.  But if you’re a gamer or just like to watch gamers suffer, it’s absolutely right up your alley.  

Game Head Call of Duty 3: Challenge airs on Spike TV Saturday, November 11 at 12:30 am (Friday night into Saturday morning).

About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.

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