EXCLUSIVE Guest Post # 3 from serial game show contestant Ryan Vickers

Guest blogger Ryan Vickers


Our guest blogger Ryan Vickers is back this week, with an account of his adventures on a Canadian game show from some ten years ago called Inside The Box. I must admit, I was unfamiliar with this show, but I did enjoy reading Ryan’s post, and the fact that he provided links to an actual episode on YouTube really helped it all fall into place.

I hope that you enjoy Ryan’s latest contribution to HowToWinGameShows.com too! ===================================

My Life In Game Shows

Episode 3: Homegrown talent – Inside the Box, 2006

Many game show fans don’t think Canada is a hotbed for game shows – but now and then we get a few. In 2006 I answered an online ad for a TV trivia show. I arrived back from a weekend scuba diving trip to find a tryout invitation for later that day in my inbox! I rushed to get organized and headed to the location specified.

The interview itself was very low-key, and it was a bit odd as the show hadn’t aired yet. We were asked to do a written test that was right out of an English as a Second Language course and then play an alphabet-based game to associate characters and shows. Right then and there, I was told I was going to be on the show!

Which was all well and good.


Weeks went by. I was told of the taping schedule (roughly) and wondered if I’d get a tape date.

Then, thankfully, one Sunday night, I got a call to tape the next day!


BE FLEXIBLE (if your schedule allows) for a tape date. You never know – they might not call again!

I arrived at the studio around 12 PM. The benefit of getting a tape date not near the start of the taping block is that they actually could show us an episode! The show was called Inside The Box, and was based on the parlour game of “20 Questions”, except it dealt with TV characters, TV performers and TV shows. The show required two parts – asking your own questions while “inside the box” for two rounds (where you could score “time”) and answering other contestants’ questions for four rounds (where you could lose “time” if you answered incorrectly).

Right then and there I started to develop strategies.


For answering questions, I made sure to give a quick direct “YES” or “NO” to move the game along. This was to make sure I didn’t incur too many penalties, and to put the onus on my opponent to answer.

For asking questions, I had once read that good players on Jeopardy! didn’t look at the scores. While playing “inside the box” I just plowed through the questions, and took a breather when the major clue came up (after five YES answers).

Here’s the episode in four parts:

PART 1PART 2, PART 3 and PART 4.

As you can see, I struggled somewhat during Sean’s first puzzle. That wasn’t nerves… that was just the fact that I had never seen the show in question!


Don’t let yourself get bogged down on one or two questions. You need to keep going! In this game being in control “inside the box” was more valuable.

And when I said I plowed through the questions, I wasn’t kidding. My goal was to get as much information as I could before I took my (free) guess. As you can see, the other players guessed in other spots in their rounds (which they were allowed to do) but incurred time penalties. I wanted to be sure that I made an educated guess in the time allotted.

What you couldn’t necessarily see was the content on the screens when you were “inside the box”. To my left was a monitor that listed any information that was gained from a “YES” answer and any major clues given. To the right was a bank of thirty questions. These tended to be general questions while you were trying to get the five “YES” answers. Once this was accumulated, a new bank of thirty appeared that were more specific. During the second bank of questions, I could see that it was pointing towards a character from The Golden Girls, and that helped me glean my answer.

I was delighted that Betty White, US game show national treasure, “helped” me win the game. Oh, and if they’d never told me the bonus answer, I’d still be there, 11 years later! Speaking of which, Canadian content rules deem shows to have rerun value, so this episode still pops up now and then, much to the delight of my insomniac friends!


Thanks for that Ryan, and thanks for your ‘Pro Tips’ too. Although Inside The Box is no longer with us, I feel these tips can be applied to a number of current game shows. There’s wisdom in those words, folks! 

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