“Ellen’s game of games” is an American television show that is a mix of games, jokes, and contests created by famous comedic actress and host Ellen DeGeneres. The first episode was released in 2017, and the show quickly gained popularity due to its unique format and fun atmosphere. The games feature regular people from the audience as well as celebrities competing for cash prizes and other awards. One of the most popular segments of the show is “Know or Go,” where contestants must answer questions or try to stay on a platform to avoid falling into a pool of water. Another famous segment is “Blindfolded Musical Chairs,” where contestants play “musical chairs” with blindfolds over their eyes. Ellen DeGeneres, known for her sense of humor and warmth, makes the show fun and exciting for viewers of all ages.
Every episode features contestants chosen to participate in one of four initial rounds. The victor of each round progresses to the semi-final stage, known as “Know or Go”. The ultimate survivor then competes in the “Hot Hands/Hotter Hands” game, aiming to seize the opportunity to claim the $100,000 prize.
In certain rounds, contestants form teams to compete together, with the victorious team selecting a member to proceed to the Know or Go challenge.
- Snap Attack: Participants stand back to back, tethered by a bungee cord, and strive to snatch five apples of their designated color (red or green) from stands placed in front of them. Utilizing only their teeth, they must transfer the apples to a scoring basket. The first contestant to secure all five apples emerges victorious. In a special episode from Season 2, Episode 12, twin sisters competed in this game, with one sister participating while the other observed. Notably, all contestants in this game have been female thus far.
- Blindfolded Chair Chase: Five contestants (reduced to four in Season 3-4) don blindfolds and groove to music while navigating the stage, aiming to secure a seat on one of several stools when the music abruptly halts. Ellen DeGeneres activates a mechanism determining the stools’ placement. Mirroring the rules of musical chairs, there’s always one less seat than the number of contestants, leading to elimination for the one left standing without a seat. The last contestant remaining clinches victory. Additionally, in the Christmas special, this game is alternately dubbed Blindfolded Musical Packages.
- Blast ‘n’ Burst: Two competitors take aim from colossal cannons, aiming to blast down their opponent’s trio of portraits. While contestants dictate the firing, DeGeneres operates the cannons remotely, adding a twist to their aim. Upon hitting a rival’s portrait, their cannon whirls wildly. The first to obliterate all three opponent portraits claims victory. Should time expire, the contestant with more hits emerges triumphant. In case of a tie, sudden death ensues, resetting the portraits for a swift showdown, where the first to land a shot wins. Remarkably, all participants in this game have been female thus far.
- Brain Burst: Introduced exclusively in Season 4, three contestants encircle a triangular platform. Each takes turns answering questions while positioned over a balloon gradually inflating with shaving cream. A correct response ends their round, passing the balloon to the next in line. Upon balloon burst, the holder gets a foamy surprise and exits the game. The last two standing vie for victory once more, with the ultimate survivor claiming the win.
- Risk Factor: Resembling the classic game Password, contestants pair up into two teams of two. Each team’s clue-giver receives a “victory word” (e.g., “bicycle”) and a related “risk word” (e.g., “crash”), taking turns providing single-word clues to their partners. A team earns a penalty (and the guesser faces a squirt from a cannon) if they utter the risk word or their opponents correctly guess the victory word. Furthermore, a penalty is incurred if the clue-giver provides an impermissible clue (like a multi-word hint or any form of either word). Accumulating three penalties results in elimination. In select episodes like Season 3, Episode 1, and Season 4, Episode 19, DeGeneres and Boss assume the role of clue givers for two lucky audience members, with DeGeneres even declaring Risk Factor as her preferred game.
- Muddy Business: An exclusive addition to Season 3, two duos find themselves joined together within a colossal shirt, armed with three hints to decode DeGeneres’s descriptions. The objective: snatch their respective colored ball and hurl it into the oversized washing machine. The first team to accomplish this feat must then decide whether to tackle the question themselves or pass it to their opponents. Securing three points first secures victory. This game bears resemblance to The Laundry Game featured in Grant’s Game of Games in Australia.
- Spin ‘n Sprint: Contestants face a series of (usually straightforward) questions. After being spun in chairs, they must dash to a mobile podium, snatching a ball as they go, before they can respond. The first to accurately answer three queries emerges victorious. Occasionally dubbed “Dizzy Dasher” in holiday specials, this game is predominantly recognized as “Spin ‘n Sprint”. Typically, two male contestants participate in this exhilarating challenge.
- Hold Tight: Three contenders find themselves suspended in harnesses, tasked with naming items that match a given category. Each incorrect answer, repetition, or delayed response earns a strike. Upon accumulating three strikes, a contestant is eliminated and propelled to the studio’s apex. The ultimate survivor claims victory in this thrilling contest.
- Wall of Wonders: Bearing some resemblance to Hold Tight, five participants are secured behind five imposing walls. DeGeneres unveils an image teeming with various objects for a fleeting 10 seconds. Each player then takes turns randomly identifying an object from the picture. Any contestant offering an incorrect or repeated answer, or taking too much time, faces elimination, crashing through the walls. The sole contestant left standing at the end emerges as the triumphant victor.
- Mind Match: Featured solely in Season 4 thus far, two sets of contestants are paired up. One participant in each duo views a series of words displayed on screens above their partner’s head and endeavors to elicit correct guesses, earning one point per success. Initially, verbal clues are permitted for 30 seconds, after which only gestures are allowed for another 60 seconds. Both the giver and receiver retain the option to pass as frequently as desired. The duo with the higher score emerges victorious and selects one player to advance to the next round, Know or Go.
- Slime Time Warp: Exclusive to Season 4, three contestants face simultaneous tasks within a strict 60-second timeframe. Upon completing a task, a contestant’s timer halts; however, when a participant’s clock runs out, they’re doused in slime and eliminated. Once all contestants have finished or been slimed, a new task begins the cycle anew. The game culminates when only one contestant remains with time left. In the event of a tie, tied contestants engage in a final task, with the first to finish declared the winner.
- Target Toss-Up: Premiering in the inaugural season, two couples form competing teams. The female counterpart from each duo endeavors to toss a ball as close to a target as possible. With two attempts per team, the team with the closest throws accrues the most points and secures victory.
- Melody Mayhem: Resembling elements of Don’t Leave Me Hanging and Song Association – DeGeneres, contestants tackle questions related to song titles or lyrics containing a designated keyword. If DeGeneres doubts the song’s relevance to the given word, the contestant earns a strike. Accumulate three strikes, and the contestant faces a boot-induced eviction. Notably, Season 3 features a musical artist joining DeGeneres and Boss in the game.
- Cash Cascade: Two contestants engage in a battle of wits, answering trivia queries to earn the opportunity to select from a range of umbrellas. In Season 1, one lucky umbrella concealed a $10,000 cash prize; however, by Season 4, it merely showered confetti, while the others doused the contestants with water. If a contestant unveils the confetti umbrella on their initial attempt, DeGeneres prompts them to pull additional umbrellas, ostensibly to demonstrate that only one bore the confetti.
- Puzzle Plunge: Introduced solely in the inaugural season thus far, three contestants suspended on harnesses endeavor to solve an oversized jigsaw puzzle. Those unable to complete the puzzle are catapulted into the air as a penalty.
- Mirror Maze Madness: A duo of contestants navigates through a colossal mirror maze, each entering through a designated, color-coded entrance. Their objective: locate an orb matching their entrance color, exit through the corresponding door, and place the orb on a pedestal to claim victory. Should a contestant exit through the wrong door, they must backtrack and find the correct exit.
- Summit Sprint: Three contestants embark on a treacherous ascent up a mountain that sways and trembles, with some climbing ropes perilously unsecured. The first to secure three diamonds at the summit emerges victorious.
- Celeb Cipher: Bearing resemblance to See Ya Later Alligator and Dirty Laundry, and exclusive to Season 4 to date, three contestants are securely strapped into an indoor roller coaster. DeGeneres reads aloud text messages from a mystery celebrity friend, and contestants must correctly identify the sender. A correct guess allows them to select who to send up the track next, while an incorrect guess results in their own ascent. If a contestant reaches the ride’s peak limit, they are eliminated and dropped from the apex.
- Ship Shape: Contestants face multiple-choice questions and dash to designated holes corresponding to their chosen answers. Incorrect choices trigger water sprays aimed at the contestants’ faces. The first to gather three correct answers emerges victorious. Monster Mayhem: Contestants find themselves ensconced within the gaping jaws of a colossal prop monster. They must pluck out removable teeth for each incorrect answer; pulling a specific tooth causes the monster’s jaws to snap shut, eliminating the contestant. The number of teeth extracted corresponds to the margin of error in answering the question. Correct responses spare contestants from tooth extraction. In Season 2, contestants predict the percentage of 100 audience members who responded affirmatively to a survey question, with their opponent guessing whether the actual percentage is higher or lower (akin to the game show Card Sharks). A correct high/low guess sends the predictor into the monster’s maw, while an incorrect guess sends their opponent instead. The number of teeth at stake is determined by spinning a wheel. Bridal Dash: Introduced solely in Season 3 thus far, three contestants garbed in wedding attire sprint on treadmills, aiming to capture oversized cake slices and deposit them onto plates at the opposite end. They must navigate past additional food items and obstacles, such as swinging bells and spinning bars. The first to place three cake slices on their designated plate clinches victory. Whisper Wave: Played with two teams of five (or four in the inaugural season), with one team competing at a time. All team members, save one, don headphones blaring loud music. DeGeneres presents a sentence to the lone contestant, who must convey the message to the entire team through lip reading, akin to Telephone/Chinese Whispers. Each correct word from the original phrase earns one point. The team with the highest point tally wins; in the event of a tie, the teams engage in a rematch. Spin Cycle Showdown: Contestants take turns maneuvering three sizable balls across rotating platforms, while their opponent hurls additional balls to obstruct their progress. The contestant with the quickest completion time emerges triumphant. If contestants finish in equal time, they must repeat the challenge. From Season 2 onward, the game is played with teams of two.
- Later Gator, In a While Crocodile: Contestants decipher pictorial puzzles; the first to correctly identify the phrase they depict earns the right to eliminate a rival. The ultimate survivor claims victory. Offspring of the Cyclops: DeGeneres presents a series of words to two contenders, and the first to buzz in and accurately identify their commonality earns the privilege to select one of eight oversized eggs (seven in Season 3). One egg leads to victory, while the others unleash a deluge of slime. An erroneous guess grants the opponent two additional words before they hazard a guess. Foul-Smelling Cistern: Resembling You Bet Your Partner, but with roles reversed. (The individuals stationed alongside DeGeneres supply responses, while those suspended above the slime pit place wagers.) In Season 3, the celebrities accompanying DeGeneres provide the answers.
- Taste Sensation: Divided into two pairs with interlocked arms and blindfolds, contestants take turns sampling food and describing it to their partner. The team that can correctly identify more items within a set time frame selects one member to progress to the Know or Go round. Trumpet Toothpaste: A game exclusive to the inaugural season, contestants face challenging trivia questions. A wrong answer prompts the contestant to push up to three out of ten buttons resembling trumpet valves. Pressing the wrong button results in a blast of toothpaste to the face and elimination. The questions are intentionally difficult to ensure equal chances of losing for all participants. Wagering Wives: Typically played with duos, one contestant hangs suspended in a harness over a pool of food while their partner on the ground acts as a bidder. Bidders wager on the number of correct answers their airborne partner can provide for a given category (e.g., “Famous Landmarks”). Upon a challenge, the answer-giver has 30 seconds to deliver the specified number of answers. Failure results in a dunk for the answer-giver, while success dunks the challenger. The first team to be dunked thrice loses. Renamed It’s a Joyful Spouse! in the holiday special and dubbed You Bet Your Sibling when played with twins.
Ellen’s Game of Games Talent
Ellen DeGeneres, Host
Ellen DeGeneres is an American comedian, television host, actress and producer best known for her television show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show. She has become an entertainment icon for her natural humor, warmth and attention to social justice issues. Ellen actively supports various charitable and community initiatives, and her TV show has become one of the most popular and influential in the United States.