Get ready to match the stars, as we play the star-studded big-money …
Match Game, iOS style

This is how I would do Match Game for macOS and iOS, to be played for in-game virtual coins. My plan generally follows the ABC daytime format with Ross Shafer from 1990, which I did not get to see until the GSN reruns in 2004. I know about the Sunday-night version with Alec Baldwin, but apparently Ludia has not made an official app for it.

This game could be played by two players on the same Mac or iDevice, by two players on separate Macs/iDevices, or by one player against an AI opponent. Players would be represented onscreen by either Facebook avatars or in-game avatars. An iOS port should be played in portrait [vertical] mode, to allow an onscreen keyboard. The host is to be a fictitious character, most likely represented by a Poser figure, as in the concept images below. (I want to use the generic currency symbol, but that character is not accessible from the U.S. Macintosh keyboard.) As to panelists, two approaches are possible: Either use in-game fictional “celebrities” or allow up to six iOS players to occupy the panel.

I once wrote a GW-BASIC port of Match Game when I owned a Tandy 1000TL computer; it used only ASCII character graphics because I did not know how to integrate animated sprites into a GW-BASIC program. Because my ABC affiliate, KSFY in Sioux Falls, refused to broadcast Match Game, I based my port on the CBS format. Unfortunately, I neglected to save my GW-BASIC source code.

Host reading question
Question for Dorothy
Consulting the panel
The host reads a classic Match Game question. The iOS virtual keyboard is shown here only for (up to six) iPad users designated as “panelists”. Michael is leading, ¤250 to ¤0, after the first question of Round 1. Dorothy is about to submit her answer to the second question. She hopes to match all six panelists and take the lead going into the first Match-Up! round. So far, Dorothy has matched the first two panelists and scored 100 in-game coins. If the contestant and panelist do not match, a red NO MATCH graphic should appear.

Classic Match Game

The host asks a standard Match Game question, and all six panelists prepare their responses. Then the contestant enters a response and scores for each panelist who gave the same response. Each round has two questions, one for each contestant. Every match awards 50 in-game coins in round 1, and 100 coins in round 2.

Here are some suggestions for writing decent Match Game questions (all but the first were posted by Jeremy Soria to in August 1998):

  1. A good Match Game question lends itself to at least six different answers that make comic sense.
  2. A good Match Game question is funny or witty. Example: Cleopatra lost her {blank} on a barge!
  3. Good Match Game questions always have some kind of operative word to help the contestants and panelists direct their answer toward a good one. Example: It was strange being at the CANNIBAL’s dinner party. For hors d’œuvres, he served {blank}s.
  4. When a Match Game question asks that you fill in the blank with a person’s name, there will always be a readily apparent clue in the question to give the contestants/panelists a direction to make out their answers. Example: Ronnie is a master salesman. He can sell DANCE LESSONS to {blank}.
  5. Good Match Game questions do not stoop to insults or name-calling. They actually demonstrate how dumb/fat/ugly the character is. Example: Dumb Donald owns the world’s dumbest bank. They’ll give you $500 if you deposit a {blank}.

A good source of Match Game questions is Punch Line, a game published by Parker Brothers in 1978. Is the content of Punch Line still under copyright?

Michael plays Match-Up!
Dorothy plays Match-Up!
Michael plays the first half of Match-Up! with a panelist. The check mark appears next to the contestant’s selection, and a box appears around the panelist’s selection. Dorothy plays the second half of Match-Up! with a different panelist.


After two classic Match Game questions, the Match-Up! round is played. I hope to find that YouTube video of a Match-Up! round in which both contestants’ scores exceed $1,000.

Each player in turn selects a panelist. When the question and two choices appear, the player selects the desired answer with the mouse (on a Mac) or by touch (on an iDevice). The first Match-Up! lasts 30 seconds per player and awards 50 coins per match. The second Match-Up lasts 45 seconds per player and awards 100 coins per match.

At the end of the second Match-Up! round, the player with more coins advances to the Super Match.

Audience Match board
Head to Head for $20,000
It's a match!
Dorothy has won the front game with 1,200 in-game coins, and the Audience Match round is getting started. Some possible answers: show business, show and tell, show off, showdown. Dorothy chose the most popular answer in Audience Match, so she is guaranteed 1,000 in-game coins. The Star Wheel has selected the redhead female panelist for the grand prize of 20,000 coins. The Head to Head question is revealed. It was a long shot, but Dorothy matched her chosen panelist! This lucky blonde has won a grand total of 21,200 in-game coins! If their answers had not matched, the bottom of the screen would read SORRY, NO MATCH in red.

Super Match

Audience Match

The Audience Match board displays the question and three answer fields. The answer given most often by the studio audience awards 1,000 in-game coins; the second most popular answer, 750 coins, and the third, 500 coins. On the Audience Match board shown above, the star would be replaced by a group of four boxes: one with each panelist response, and an “enter your own answer” box. The actual answers are then revealed, starting at the 500-coin response and going up until a match is made.

Head to Head

After the Audience Match, the contestant spins the Star Wheel to determine which panelist will play in Head to Head for 10 times (or possibly 20 times) the amount won in the Audience Match. Instead of panelists’ names, the Star Wheel would have their in-game portraits.

Image Credits

Legal notice: Match Game is the property of FremantleMedia. No challenge to ownership is intended.

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