Interestingly enough, I find it ironic that my very first blog post is named Cornerstone... the foundation of my blog. I didn't do this intentionally... the idea came up when I was walking around work, bored.
While at work, a new idea for a gameshow came up. I decided to call it Cornerstone. It was basically a mix of two of my favorite gameshows... Millionaire, and Sasuke (Known in America/outside Japan as Ninja Warrior.)
The premise is simple: 12 physical obstacles that the contestant moves through, one at a time. The obstacles get harder and harder as they progress, but there are checkpoints... called "Cornerstones", where the player will be guaranteed a certain amount of money if they lose from there on out.
As I said, there are 12 obstacles, so there are 4 (Technically 3) Cornerstones. Each one happens at the Third, Sixth and Ninth (Since making the 12th obstacle means winning the game).
The obstacles start out dirt simple, such as walking across a balance beam within 30 seconds... something only those with bad luck or horrible concentration can fail. However, later obstacles get seriously difficult, such as transfer between multiple poles on a traverse, where the last gap has a large red ball the contestant must not touch while jumping the gap.
However, the game can not have obstacles that change every single game. Yes, most will... but for my idea, the cornerstone obstacles, will become staples of the game. Obstacles that viewers and want-to-be contestants can admire-yet-despise. Viewers can see an obstacle, and instantly recognize it. They can realize how difficult it is, remember how the last person failed it, and then start sizing up how the current contestant will do against it. It will naturally build suspense.
On top of that, the final Cornerstone obstacle... the 12th one... won't change much. It will constantly remain the same, until finally someone beats it. From then, it will only change in design, not the basic concept.
The money design will be based similar to Millionaires system. As the player progresses, they will earn more and more money, while the Cornerstones are set in place to both allow a player to not walk out empty handed, as well as urge a player to continue after reaching a level.
The prize for defeating the final obstacle will be 2 Million dollars, however, there is a catch that will almost always limit it down to 1 Million dollars. The player will be given 1 spare life. That is, if they ever fail an obstacle, they have the choice to attempt that obstacle again and remain in the game... but the amounts of money the player can earn will change depending on their position.
For the first three obstacles, there is no money awarded unless the player reaches the first Ccornerstone, which earns them $5000. The money will then increase, up to the point where Cornerstone 2 (Obstacle 6) earns them a guaranteed $50,000. After Cornerstone 3 (Obstacle 9), which earns them $250,000, the money will fluxuate.
Obstacle 10 will normally earn the player $500,000, unless the player loses their spare life, in which case the money will drop to $300,000. Obstacle 11 will normally earn $750,000, but losing the spare life will reduce it to $550,000. And the final obstacle will earn the player $2 Million, unless they lose the spare life, which reduces it to $1 Million.
The point of the game is all about the mentality of the contestant, not just their physical being. The player will begin to start with a strong mindset, but begin to question themselves as the obstacles increase in difficulty. Each obstacle will be do-able on it's own, but in succession, the game becomes increasingly harder on their physical and mental being.
The money set for the final amounts are no different toward the players mind. When they lose their spare life, they will realize they will lose their safety net, but also they will see the amount they can walk away with slip out from their hands.
If the player happens to be within the final 3 when he loses his spare life, the mindset will be hit even harder. Although the money amounts they can walk out with be huge, the fact that losing their spare life will reduce the amount they can walk out with, will hit them hard.
For example: Player A just defeated the 3rd Cornerstone, guaranteeing themself $250,000. Moving on toward Obstacle 10, if they win, they will win $500,000, yet failing it will reduce the money for Obstacle 10 (and the rest). Lets say they lose. Now their given a second shot at it, but now they have to beat the obstacle to move on, but doing so will only grant them $300,000... which is only $50,000 more than the previous Cornerstone will guarantee them. This will hurt their morale, but in Player A's situation, they will be sitting on a Cornerstone, and they will attempt a second chance at the obstacle. Will they pass or fail? Did they learn their mistake, or will their body be too sore to let them pass? Pure drama.
Next example: Player B Just defeated Obstacle 10, and still has his second life. He is currently guaranteed $250,000, but by beating Obstacle 10, he can walk out with $500,000. Instead, he goes for the next obstacle, and fails it. His money just fell out from under him, and he's now only earned $300,000... once again, only $50,000 more than the Cornerstone guaranteed him... and that's only if he walks away right then. But maybe he/she's frustrated, figures they know what they did wrong, and feels they can earn it back by beating Obstacle 11, earning themself $550,000. Or maybe they feel the tiredness in their body, want to walk out with as much as possible, and step out with only $300,000.
Imagine the possibilities with the final Cornerstone.
There's even the potential to have some competitors go against the contestant, such as TV stars or comedians. Using an obstacle where the two can race each other to finish a goal would be good, or basically something the two competitors cannot fail except by not finishing faster than the other person. These contests could be run after the first or second Cornerstone, best ran at Obstacles 4 or 5, and 7 or 8.
However, I find that the most drama should be used in mystery. Once again, this is meant to mess with the competitors head. Right before a Cornerstone obstacle is run, it should be covered. Say, put sheets on all sides of the obstacle, and dim lights that illuminate a very basic showing of the obstacle, so no-one truly knows what it is until the sheets fall. Having bright lights shining would show too much of the obstacle, and not give enough mystery.
One last thought, would to have some sort of ability for the player to gain an extra life somehow (possibly by beating a celebrity?), or to make it harder, the game could carry the "extra-life=more money reward" for the final group of obstacles, down to the third set of obstacles as well. However, I would emphasize that the third cornerstone would remain at the same value, so the contestant doesn't lose all hope at a strong goal. Because of that, I'm not sure that reducing the money down would work too well, but I do think that only having 3 obstacles fit under this rule/idea with the extra life, would be too constricting. I guess it would have to matter with the actual obstacles used.
Well, that's my idea for today. I wonder how well it would work.