“Emogenius” Review

Set Design- 7
Gameplay- 9
Show Flow- 9
Potential Viewer Ratings- 7
Play-Along Factor- 10
Host- 7
Overall Rating- 8.1

Premise: Two pairs of teams face a series of three rounds where they will have to decipher famous names, places, events, TV shows and other pop culture references solely based on the emojis shown on the screen. Here’s how each round is played:

Round 1: Get The Message
Teams view screenshots of a conversation and have 15 seconds to decode the emoji response based on the context clues from the question in the message above. Correct answers are worth $100 and if a team’s time expires, their opponents have five seconds to solve the same response for $50. Four conversations are played with each team solving two while alternating turns.

Round 2: In-App Purchase
Teams are given a category followed by an emoji-coded clue. If they are stumped by the first clue, they are allowed to make “in-app purchases” and buy up to two more clues. Guessing the puzzle in one clue is worth $300, using two clues is worth $200 and using three clues drops the value down to $100. Teams will have 20 seconds to solve the category. If time expires, the opposing team has five seconds to guess for the remaining value of the category. Similar to the previous round, four categories are played.

Round 3: Hit Send
On each team, one contestant is the clue-giver and has 45 seconds to get their teammate to guess as many words as possible by sending them a message using a keyboard filled with 14 preselected emojis. The emojis change with every new word that appears. Each correct answer is worth $400. The team with the highest total at the end of the round wins the game, keeps their winnings and advances to the bonus round

Round 4: Masters of Text
The end game is similar to the third round except both teammates alternate as the clue-giver. The team has one minute to solve five messages correctly. If successful, the team’s winnings are boosted up to $10,000.

Ever since the emergence of emojis on a global scale, perhaps tracing back to the early 2010s, there is no denying the quirky, colorful texting symbols have gradually become a permanent fixture in our technological society. From James Corden creating his own segments based on displaying current events in emojis to companies transforming the digital images into tangible merchandising, more people are using emojis in some form or fashion as a creative means to express themselves. A couple of years ago, we were teased with the idea of the possibility of an emoji game show hitting US airwaves. Although we haven’t heard of much of the Studio Lambert’s million-dollar game show since then, we can finally see how an emoji-themed game show would be executed thanks to the premiere of GSN’s Emogenius.

Emogenius reminds me of Idiotest in this regard; not only do both shows utilize similar graphics, both have excellent formats for home viewers to interact and play along with the contestants throughout the entire program. Much like James Corden’s Late Late Show segment, attempting to decipher and decode emoji messages and puzzles is pretty fun. It’s even amusing to see some of the contestants struggle to blindly guess and talk their way through a few of the tougher puzzles. Emogenius’s picture puzzles have the modern day appeal of the classic game show Concentration sans the matching element. I love the variety between rounds to keep the game interesting, especially the third round where viewers have a glimpse of the various ways contestants try to get their teammates to guess a title based on which emojis they use. It’s similar to how partners quickly think of their own creative and clever clues for games like Pictionary, Password or Charades. As much as I like the variety, the producers could have created a more unique end game, rather than stick to what essentially amounts to a carbon copy of round three. Speaking of round three, the final round of the front game could use a 30-second increase to give teams a better chance to bolster their scores since it is the catch-up round. 

Other than the aforementioned minor critiques, Emogenius is a solid game show with a good host in Hunter March (his grandfather Hal March, famous former host of The $64,000 Question, would be proud) and a fun, interactive concept that is perfect for today’s social media-savvy society. As good as this show is, I have a hunch that Emogenius won’t be sticking around GSN past this season.

Stay tuned for new episodes of Emogenius every Wednesday at 8:00pm & 8:30pm on GSN!
**Photos courtesy of GSN**
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