Clock Game is a game where the contestant races against the clock to win two prizes, and an additional bonus prize.
- The contestant has 30 seconds to guess the price of two prizes, one at a time. The contestant makes guesses at the price; after each guess, the host will tell the contestant "higher" or "lower," until they guess the correct price, which is displayed on screen for the audience and for the people at home to see. Unlike most pricing games, the audience is not allowed to provide contestants with any help during Clock Game, and like with Hole in One (or Two) are thus told to be quiet. On some occasions, audience members have blurted out answers despite being told not to. If this happens, generally, offending audience members are removed from the studio. The only help the audience can offer is, as the host, shouting "higher" or "lower". This has happened on at least one instance.
- If the contestant successfully guesses the price of the first prize within the 30 second time limit, he/she wins it and keeps the prize no matter what happens. Then with the time remaining, the contestant will bid on the second prize, as before. Successfully guessing both prices wins the contestant a bonus prize; however, if time expires while bidding on the second item, the contestant still wins the first prize.
- If the contestant does not bid the first prize in time, the losing horns are played, which has been done rarely. If the contestant does not bid the second prize in time, the one and only foghorn is heard.
The best way for contestants to win the game is to give a bid in $100 increments (eg: five hundred, six hundred, seven hundred, eight hundred, etc.) Then the contestant would give a bid in between $700-$800 for example and go for seven-fifty. Then, they'll try adding or subtracting $10 depending on what the host tells the contestant. The contestant is allowed to take shortcuts in pronunciation to save time. One common example many contestants did would be counting by tens and then count by ones which would be 991, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99. Another example that some contestants did would be saying the numbers in the one's column only which would be 991, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. This logical strategy for the game is a binary search strategy, which makes the game fairly easy to win, however trying to do the math in one's head might be more time consuming than following the above strategy.
- Clock Game's clock was very problematic during its first rehearsals back in 1972, to the point where it very nearly never debuted. Two early Clock Game losers were awarded their prizes after their shows were taped because the clock had counted down from 30 to 0 in only 22 seconds.
- Clock Game was lost on the day it first premiered, but it was won for the very first time 2 days later, on September 13, 1972 (#0023D).
- Beginning on December 14, 1998 (#0941K), as a way to compensate for the fact that Clock Game never offers prizes worth more than $999, winning Clock Game awarded the player an additional $1,000. During the primetime specials that aired in 1986, a winning contestant chose a cash bonus from one of four envelopes. The available bonuses were $1,000, $2,000, $3,000, and $5,000. In all primetime specials since 2002, a $5,000 bonus has been awarded to winners. For Clock Game's first six times it had been played on the 1970s syndicated edition, players won a $1,000 bonus for winning both prizes with at least 2 seconds to spare.
- Also during the 1970s syndicated run, starting with Episode #215N, until the end of that run, Clock Game was played for three prizes.
- On occasions between 1982-1988, Clock Game was played with four-digit prizes, including cars. Originally the game was played normally, but the large numbers proved to be too hard for contestants to handle in the fast-paced game, so the show began offering a $1,000 range for contestants to bid in and allowing them to make the standard three-digit bids within that range.
- By 2008, Clock Game, even with the $1,000 cash bonus, again had the lowest payout of all pricing games. For a brief period from 2008 to 2009 (Season 37), prizes with four-digit prices were offered again, but with the exception of one technical win, the game was never won under this format; so the rules were amended to the player bidding on a small portion of the second prize package and throwing in the larger prize as a bonus prize beginning on April 29, 2009 (#4733K). As of this season, prizes with four-digit prices were offered as bonus prizes in addition to the $1,000 bonus.
- There have been some memorably bad occasions for Clock Game. On January 21, 1994 (#9045D), a contestant named William Nixon (who looked a lot like Rod Roddy) bid $50 on a $701 baker's rack, and increased his bids in very small increments, never even making it to about $300 before time ran out. Bob was at a loss for words, but finally told him, "You will never buy a baker's rack for $50!"
- Another memorable playing was on February 11, 1999 (#1014K), with a contestant named Brian Mulholland. Although he managed to win the first prize, a rower, in about 20 seconds, he bid $89 and then $105 on a $983 set of dinnerware, promoting Bob to stop the game to chide him for his ridiculously low bids. Then, he remarked that "you couldn't buy those saucers for $89!" Bob jokes with Brian that a bid like $150 is low for dinnerware. So as they resumed playing, Brian's next bid was $485, but he said it so quickly (pronouncing it "four-eighty-five"), it sounded like $45, which prompted more chiding from Bob. He jokingly adds "to do this successfully, you're gonna have to speak English". Bob then reminds Brian to "try again" and go higher. Brian continued to bid low (going from $550 to $650); his final bid was "eight or nine hundred." When the game was over, Bob wanted to know if that was really his bid. He remarked that "for both of our sakes, I'm glad your time is up!" Bob then reveals his emotions on Brian's performance, the actual price of the dinnerware, and also how he was aghast that Brian ever said $89 for it.
- Another memorable playing was on May 2, 2001 (#1793K), where contestant Karen forgot how to play the game since she became "so nervous." Bob understood her situation, but settled her down and joked that throughout the years, "they have never lost a contestant." Afterward, Bob explains the rules of the game and they start playing for a rocker valued at $908. All is well for the first 9 seconds of gameplay, but all of a sudden, in the $900 range, she repeats a couple of her bids ($910 & $905), which cause her to stutter before shouting more of her bids. She even messes up a bid by saying "nine-nine-nine", when she really meant to say "$909". But in any case, Karen wins the rocker, with 6 1/2 seconds remaining. Bob was proud that she won it, but went to sit down for a few seconds. Karen massaged Bob's shoulders, after which he got up and remarked that his brain "shorted out" trying to follow her. Karen then asks Bob if she was allowed to "look out at the audience", for the last part of the game, but then remembers that they were "not allowed to say anything." Bob said she could look out for just a moment, and Karen smiled at them but wondered how she could get a message from the audience with only 6 1/2 seconds left. Upon being shown the price of a Washer/Dryer valued at $909, the audience groaned, which prompted Bob to pause. This got the audience to laugh and Bob to joke about sitting down again. However, Bob did not want to waste any more time, so he continued on with the rest of the game. As the rest of Karen's time was running out, she gave a few bids in the $1000 range ($1197, $1192, $1000), then $900 and her final bid was about to be $800 but quickly changed it to $902. As time was up, Bob falsely claimed that the rocker was the same price, but the audience and staff correct him by saying that the rocker was really $908 (he couldn't remember the price of it after he and Karen took too much time to recover from the first prize). He confirmed the rocker was true $908 and also joked that "he does need rest." As the show headed to a commercial break, Bob remarked "We'll be back- I'll try to be back, after this."
- Another memorable playing was on November 14, 2002 (#2304K), where contestant Gabriella didn't know how to play the game, shocking Bob and the audience. He reminds her that it's been around for 30 years, but Gabriella defends herself by saying "I've been in school!" (a common excuse from younger contestants who don't have time to watch the show), despite seeing other pricing games being played on the show. Bob explains the rules of the game, and some of them seem to be familiar to her. She plays for a desk, valued at $939. During the first 13 seconds of the game, she starts bidding, but she later bids so fast, that she doesn't give Bob a chance to say "Higher or Lower". He stops the clock and chides her, even though he understood some of her bids before he stopped the clock. When the clock started up again, Gabriella kept bidding between $875 and $950, but she accidentally went so low (by saying the price of $155, instead of $955) and received more chiding from Bob. Exhausted, he asks "Could I have a glass of tequila, please?" So they resumed the game and she finally won the desk, but only had 1¾ seconds remaining. Gabriella had to use that time for a dinette set, valued at $999. Before the price was even shown, she bid $3,500. Bob says that he wasn't ready, but he gives her a hint that "it's lower than $3,500!" The price is then revealed and her last two bids were $700 and $1000. At first, Bob was in dismay that she missed it by $1, but he reminded her that she's been an outstanding contestant.
- In 1994's syndicated The New Price is Right, the game was played using the show's on-set video wall (with a digital clock). The game frequently used prizes with four-digit prices (the contestant was provided with the $1,000 range), and on some occasions, the game was played with two three-digit prizes and a third prize was awarded as a bonus for winning.
- The blue Chroma key screen on the Clock Game board was problematic on March 25, 2003 (#2482K, aired out of order on April 8) after the turntable was redesigned to a pink/purple/blue pattern, as the blue from the turntable was interfering with the Chroma key. To combat this, the producers originally placed a large yellow circle behind the game on April 23, 2003 (#2513K), until finally repainting the board yellow on May 30, 2003 (#2565K) with the Chroma key changing to green. On November 23, 2005 (#3423K), the board was repainted again to feature a blue border and base.
- On one of Drew Carey's The Price is Right $1,000,000 Spectaculars on March 7, 2008 (#026SP, aired out of order on April 4), Cynthia Azevedo won $1,000,000 off Clock Game, which was the Million Dollar Game of the evening. To win the million, you must win both prizes in less than 10 seconds (winning both prizes in more than 10 seconds but under 30 still won $5,000). Given the prices for the items ending in "x99", a common bid by contestants playing Clock Game, it was fairly easy for her to win. It is the only time the million was won in a pricing game; the other two times were due to the showcase bids being within $1,000 ($500 in later episodes).
- On September 26, 2014 (#6815K), a completely overhauled look was introduced. After the prizes were described, the previous look was seen on its backside of the turntable, and then Drew Carey explained that there were so many pricing games making changes, so everyone was about to see a new look of Clock Game. So the turntable turned its way around to the front to show everyone the new look - a new electronic blue stopwatch look with its Clock Game logo on top and a new look for the clock underneath, with only hash marks for the 30 seconds. Instead of a Chroma key, the left side of the clock is now where the contestant's graphic is shown. Additionally, the price tag graphics for the prices to be shown to the audience, instead of chyron, were now CGI. Finally, the red price boxes became silver. Also, the $1,000 bonus was discontinued.
- On February 9, 1984 (#5194D), November 26, 2014 (#6903K), and February 21, 2022 (#9731K), Clock Game has offered a car as a bonus prize. (The latter is played only if the contestant won the first prize.)
- Clock Game was won 7 times on the primetime series out of the 8 that have been played.
- On January 30, 2017 (#7791K), Drew Carey gave contestant Tawny Vasquez incorrect information on a couple of occasions while playing for the first prize and because of this, he asked the producers to put some time back on the clock, and 6 seconds were added. Tawny won the second prize, and thus the bonus, with 1 second to spare.
- On October 15, 2019 (#8852K, aired out of order on October 18), for Big Money Week, Clock Game was played for $50,000, which was won with 13 seconds left on the clock. The two small prizes were a headphone package worth $560 and a laptop worth $725, for a total of $51,285 in cash and prizes.
- The most number of times this game was played in any season was 79.
- This game is played the same way as Bullseye 'I' with a time limit. The only difference is how many times a contestant can bid from Bullseye 'I'. And in the Clock Game, you can give as many bids as you like.
- Clock Game was one of seven pricing games seen on the first taping session of season 36, which was seen on October 15, 2007 (#4041K, aired out of order on October 16), October 23, 2007 (#4052K, aired out of order on November 1), November 1, 2007 (#4064K, aired out of order on October 24), November 9, 2007 (#4075K, aired out of order on November 6), November 14, 2007 (#4083K, aired out of order on November 27), and November 19, 2007 (#4091K, aired out of order on December 11).
- During the first several years of production, whenever a game is played on the Turntable, after the game ends, the camera will stay focused loosely on Bob as he speaks while pointed directly at the Turntable. During this time, the Turntable is often rotated back around so the production staff can begin removing the game, so the game is still visible while being rotated out of view. While rotating back around but while still visible to the camera, the Clock Game pointer would often be reset to its upright starting position. The effect of this happening "magically" in the background while Bob is speaking has been called out by commenters on videos and in other Internet locations, considering it anywhere from amusing to downright creepy.
Appearances Outside The Price is Right
An appearance of Clock Game appeared in a 1998 episode of the syndicated daytime talk show The Rosie O'Donnell Show after an interview with then-host Bob Barker where studio audience members were the contestants but like the current Carey era, this only featured male models instead of female models showing the prizes.
Similarly, on January 27, 2021 (#1092), the $1,000 version Clock Game appeared on Drew Barrymore's eponymous talk show called The Drew Barrymore Show (or Drew for short), with host Drew Carey proctoring remotely and Ross Matthews guest modeling. Barrymore won a robot vacuum and washer/dryer set for contestant Jenna, plus the $1,000.
Foreign versions of Clock Game
- Clock Game is played on versions of The Price Is Right in numerous countries besides the United States, sometimes with minor alterations; for instance, on the UK's Bruce's Price Is Right, from its second series onward, contestants were told that all of the game's prices ended in 5 or 0. The 1980s UK version took a markedly different approach; after using Clock Game in its first series, the game was replaced with an original pricing game called "Time-Play". Time-Play gave a contestant 30 seconds to guess the prices of three prizes, and the clock would not stop after correct guesses.
- On Mexico's Atínale al Precio, the contestant was given 45 seconds to guess the prices of two products, rather than the usual 30. As such, the clock goes around ¾ of the way rather than only half.
- On Canada's Price Is Right: À vous de jouer (where it was called Contre la montre [Against the clock]), the audience was allowed to assist (a rarity for the game).
- Like most foreign versions of US pricing games, Clock Game has unique looks—for instance, Bruce's Price is Right in the UK used a watch-style setup with two computer displays, one for each digit, while Larry Emdur's runs in Australia used a setup resembling a castle, with the clock going around completely rather than only halfway like in the US and lighting up as each second ticked, and on the Vietnamese version, the show used a clock setup between two hourglasses, with the clock going half of the way like the U.S. version, but started from 0 to 30 (instead of 30 to 0) like Australian version.
- The Vietnamese version (called Đồng Hồ May Mắn (Lucky Clock)) offers 4-digit prizes, making the game slightly more difficult. To make the game easier, the host will give a range for the contestant to bid on (for example, on this episode, the range is between 2,000,000 dongs and 2,500,000 dongs). The audience may also help the contestant in this version, as the price is not revealed yet until he/she manages to win it.
- No foreign version is known to carry a bonus for guessing all the prizes correctly within the time limit.
To view the gallery, click here.
A down-to-the-wire moment of Clock Game (January 24, 2005, #3141K)
Craig plays Clock Game before Bob Barker retired (June 14, 2007, #4034K)
Primetime Clock Game $1,000,000 Winner (March 7, 2008, #026SP, aired out of order on April 4)
A World Record on Clock Game (December 1, 2010, #5333K, aired out of order on November 9, 2010)
A Clock Game Comeback from 2011 (May 19, 2011, #5574K)
A Clock Game Comeback from 2012 (May 14, 2012, #5971K, aired out of order on May 21)
Rhoda Dali plays Clock Game (February 28, 2013, #6244K)
New Clock Game set change (September 26, 2014, #6815K)
|1970s Pricing Games|
|Any Number | Bonus Game | Double Prices | Grocery Game | Bullseye (1) | Clock Game | Double Bullseye | Five Price Tags | Most Expensive | Money Game | Give or Keep | Range Game | Hi Lo | Double Digits | Lucky Seven | Temptation | Mystery Price | Shell Game | Card Game | Race Game | Ten Chances | Golden Road | Poker Game | One Right Price | Danger Price | 3 Strikes | Hurdles | Cliff Hangers | Safe Crackers | Dice Game | Bullseye (2) | Switcheroo | Hole in One (or Two) | Squeeze Play | Secret 'X' | Professor Price | Finish Line | Take Two | Shower Game | It's Optional | Punch-A-Bunch | Telephone Game | Penny Ante|