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Check Game is a pricing game where contestants write an amount of a check to win a cash award and a prize. Created by former producer Roger Dobkowitz, the game was originally called "Blank Check".


Gameplay[]

  • The contestant is asked to write an over-sized check for an amount (that will translate into cash) that they think when added to the price of a prize, will total between $8,000 and $9,000 (inclusive). If the sum of the two amounts totals within that range, the contestant wins both the prize and the cash; if the amount falls outside of the desired range, the contestant loses the game and the check is voided, with "VOID" stamped onto the check.
  • The contestant is given the check they wrote to keep as a souvenir whether they win or lose. Bob Barker has jokingly mentioned that staff members often find voided checks in garbage cans outside the studio.

Notes[]

  • Check Game is known for contestants becoming confused by the rules. Several contestants have attempted to write the check for amounts over $5,000 and several contestants have attempted to write on the game board's egg-crate displays (though this is typically edited out in most episodes). While these difficulties might appear to endanger Check Game's status in the active game rotation, the confusion has become something of an inside joke over the years. Former Price Is Right host Bob Barker once stated that it is actually one of the reasons he enjoys the game. Contestants playing this game are commonly asked if they know the rules and, if so, are then asked to explain them. On January 27, 2017 (#7785K), Drew Carey actually started to explain the rules incorrectly, saying that the check needed to be written in the amount of the prize. Contestant Jason Layton actually ended up explaining the rules.
  • Drew Carey, in a similar vein to the "Ezekiel Barker" running gag on the Barker's Bargain Bar pricing game, implies that the show has been using the same (magic marker) quill pen since 1872, 1873 or other (less frequently used) 19th-century years. The game has used a magic marker designed to intentionally resemble a quill pen, complete with the quill feather.
  • The checks used are not legal checks. As noted above, the checks are given to contestants as souvenirs, win or lose. Each bears the same check number (4620 while Bob Barker hosted the show and 1133 since Drew Carey has taken over), the show's logo, the signature of the current host, the contestant's name in the "PAY TO THE ORDER OF" field, the prize name in the "MEMO" field and the invalid date of "TODAY, 19/20NOW".
  • The actual retail price of the prizes played for this game has to be less than the minimum total needed to win the game.

History[]

  • The models used to just simply void the check with a stamp in any way if the contestant loses. It is now mandatory for the people at home that the models must tilt the stamp a little to the left and stamp the check diagonally.
  • On December 8, 1981 (#4302D), after the total is shown, LOSS is also shown.
  • On February 29, 1984 (#5223D), the prop for Now....or Then was inadvertently left on the turntable, and this game's prop was placed in front of it.
  • The original name of Check Game was Blank Check. The game began using its current name on January 29, 1987 (#6354D) upon the threat of a copyright infringement lawsuit from Barry & Enright Productions, who had produced a short-lived game show in the mid-1970s with the same name. The suit is rumored to have stemmed from a playing in which Bob Barker said, "I wish Goodson-Todman would get a show called Blank Check and find someone to emcee that and get me a new game!" The game's last playing under its original name was on November 26, 1986 (#6283D).
  • The original think music was borrowed from Range Game; Since it didn't quite make sense, Check Game debuted a brand new cue (later used for Make Your Move and Cover Up) on September 14, 1988 (#6943D). The current think music originated on the failed 1986 pilot Oddball.
  • From the game's inception until February 3, 1989 (#7135D), at which point the winning range increased to $5,000-$6,000, the winning range was $3,000-$3,500.
  • On April 4, 1997 (#0325K), contestant Jennifer played for a trip to Puerto Rico. She writes a check for $7,000 which frustrates Bob and messes up the task of the game, as she would automatically go over and lose. He crosses out the $7,000, and writes the word "Void" above it and draws an arrow pointing at it (as indeed, the check would automatically be voided and she would automatically lose). He again asks her to explain the rules, and she says she has to write the check for any amount. He jokingly tells her, "Any amount? Well, why not write it for $10 million? Or write it for $1 billion?" He again explains what the range is for her to win and gives her another chance. She writes a check for $700 instead, which, when added to the $3,952 trip gives her $4,652 and the loss, which means her check was still voided anyway; this time, by the giant red stamp. After explaining she was closer to winning than he thought she'd be, he gives her the check and remarks the next time anyone asks her about this experience, she'd better tell them what happened.
  • A memorable playing occurred on October 2, 2002 (#2243K), when contestant Michael played for a Jacuzzi. He mistakenly writes a check for $13,000 (which completely messes up the task of the game, based on two outcomes; it doesn't fit inside the egg-crate display-used at the time- and it puts Michael at a disadvantage to go over $6,000) and this provides frustration from Bob. As he angrily scribbles out the "$13,000" on the check, he says that he's seen some worse things happen in the game, but this is one of the worst things that could've ever happened in the Check Game. After he reiterates the rules to Michael, he gives him another chance; Michael sensibly writes the check for $2,000; which added to the $3,495 Jacuzzi, gives him $5,495 and the win.
  • Check Game increased the winning range again, this time to $7,000-$8,000 on September 23, 2008 (#4432K), the game's first playing of Season 37. The range became the current $8,000-$9,000 on October 22, 2019 (#8862K).
  • After May 14, 2009 (#4754K), Check Game was removed from the pricing game rotation; it was not played again until June 20, 2013 (#6404K), when it returned with an all-new look, complete with new monitors replacing the egg-crate displays. The new displays are dark green and if it's ruled a loss, the three displays turn red; if it's ruled a win, the three displays flash a bright green, similar to that of Bonus Game, Card Game, and Grand Game.
  • Since its return, Check Game had never been the first or second game to be played in the game's slotting list, because, like Rat Race, Double Cross, and Pocket ¢hange, it needs the commercial break time to start up. Right now, Check Game can be played no earlier than third on the show (That is, after no less that one commercial break).
  • On March 25, 2016 (#7465K), the College Rivals episode, Christian Jenkins of Washington won a trip to the Riviera Maya, Mexico worth $7,220, while Kaiulani Bush of Washington State was denied.
  • On November 20, 2020 (#9185K), due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, contestant Jennifer Furlong has to pick the pen with a fancy feather to write on it. Also, a trip to Colorado is at stake worth $7,196, but unfortunately it was lost.

Trivia[]

  • Blank Check was also the name of a short-lived daytime game show hosted by Art James that aired on NBC from January 6 until July 4, 1975. In fact, Jack Barry's longtime partner Dan Enright sued Mark Goodson Productions, the show and its former host Bob Barker because one of their pricing games was called Blank Check. In 1987, as a result of the lawsuit, the game's name was changed to Check Game.
  • On Price's sister show, Let's Make a Deal hosted by Wayne Brady one of their games of chance was also called Blank Check in which a contestant is given a check as he/she chooses four colors to fill in the check. Once the contestant locks in their color, the numbers are revealed one at a time before the last two numbers are revealed as Brady offers them a deal to give up the check for a prize hidden behind a curtain.
  • Blank Check was also the name of a movie in 1994 where a young boy named Preston Waters (played by Brian Bonsall) inadvertently gains possession of a check for $1,000,000 as he proceeds to spend it.
  • The most number of times this game was played in any season was 36.
  • Check Game was one of four "new" pricing games seen on the eighth taping session of Season 36, which was seen on November 28, 2007 (#4103K, aired out of order on November 9), December 7, 2007 (#4115K), December 13, 2007 (#4124K, aired out of order on December 14), January 10, 2008 (#4134K), January 15, 2008 (#4142K), and January 21, 2008 (#4151K, aired out of order on November 16, 2007).

Gallery[]

To view the gallery, click here.

YouTube Videos[]

A near perfect Check Game win (March 13, 1997, #0294K)
A perfect playing of Check Game (January 4, 1999, #1004K)
A Misunderstanding Check Game win (October 2, 2002, #2243K)
Derrick Ferree plays Check Game (October 4, 2005, #3352K)
The Return of Check Game from 2013 (June 20, 2013, #6404K)
First Check Game win of the new set (November 19, 2013, #6502K, aired out of order on November 18)
Another Misunderstanding and win (November 13, 2014, #6884K, aired out of order on November 20)

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