Athleticism is put in its proper place — recreation — in a world that treats its most accomplished intellectuals as superstars. Quinn and Arturo arrive as conquering heroes, fresh from their greatest achievement — sliding! The two decide to assume the lives of their doubles in order to find the machine that will get them home. This requires Quinn competing in the Mindgame Tournament, this America’s answer to the NCAA Basketball championships. If competing in a game he doesn’t understand isn’t bad enough, it gets much worse when he finds out how much his double owes the Mafia in bad gambling debts. Meanwhile, Arturo is reunited with his late wife — who is suing him for divorce. Once it becomes clear there is no sliding machine and that his double’s a fraud, Quinn attempts to do the right thing by winning the championship for his coach against the wishes of the mob.

Worlds Visited

Einstein World

It’s brains over brawn on a world where classical intellect and knowledge are the cornerstones of civilization.

Read the full Travelogue entry »


  • The San Francisco Central Library pixel board reads: “Back by popular demand, longer library hours…”
  • Taxi Cab 43 is part of the San Francisco Cab Company and is radio dispatched.
  • Quinn’s home is being sold by Dana Bingham at Baypoint Realty. Want to call them? Try 555-7171.
  • Quinn’s double has his picture on the “Weeties” box (“the breakfast of geniuses”). On the left is a little cartoon-like caption that reads: Crunch!
  • Quinn’s double also appeared on the cover of Popular Sports magazine with the University of California academic Dream Team.
  • As the Sliders are being greeted by Professor Myman on an upper level of a university building, a sign in the background points the way to Lecture Hall C.
  • On this world, a professor named Wertz was after Smart Arturo’s chairman position at UCAL.
  • A poster in Smart Arturo’s office says that he once gave a live lecture at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas. Another advertises the Algebraic Variation Tour.
  • Rembrandt and Wade watch a video called “The Library Rap” by M.C. Poindexter & the Study Crew, put out by Flaubert Records. The rappers mention [Ernest] Hemingway, [D.H.] Lawrence, [Anton] Chekov, [Arthur] Miller, [F. Scott] Fitzgerald, [Norman] Mailer and [John] Keats. A spray painted sign on a wall in the video reads “Book Brutality.”
  • The title of the book Quinn goes to for game information is Mind Game Rule Book: How to Play, How to Winby noted physicist Stephen Hawking.
  • The crests on the TV announcers’ jackets bear the logo for the San Francisco News [SFN] channel, a station that’s been the prime source of news information for the Sliders thus far.
  • Sponsors for the game are “Weeties” and “Nikke: Just Think It” which features a flopped image of the trademark Nike ‘swoosh’ logo — Smart Quinn’s double is the company’s pitch man.
  • The semi-final and final Mindgame matches are played at the “Mind Field at Berkeley.”
  • The Mindgame referee’s number is 27.
  • Teammates for the UCAL Eggheads include: Wilson #3; Mallory (captain) #4; Boyer #5; Miller #6; Tormé #7; and Silcox #10. Other numbers that are visible while the names aren’t include 8, 9 and 12.
  • Teammates for Harvard Crimson include: Andrews #3; Harmon (captain) #7; Norlic #10. Other numbers are 5, 6, 9, 11 and 12.
  • The 27th annual NCAA Mindgame Final is seen in 123 countries, broadcast live on SFN network via satellite.
  • Teammates for the M.I.T. Beavers: Atkins #11. Others numbers are 3, 4, 6, 9, 10 and 11.
  • The four are scheduled to slide just before 10:00 p.m.

Character Information

  • Being a musician, Rembrandt has developed an intricate knowledge of classical composers.
  • In the early 1970’s, Rembrandt and his female back-up singers performed at New York City’s Apollo Theatre where they were billed as Little Rembrandt and the Shandells.
  • Quinn gives his address to the cab driver as 4159 Blue Jay Way.
  • The real estate agent mentions that Mrs. Mallory “had to move back east.” Since Quinn doesn’t seem overly surprised by this, it suggests that the Mallory family once lived “back east.” This is also possible because Quinn acts as if he knows the agent and addresses her as “Mrs.” though she hasn’t introduced herself as such. It’s a stretch but this could mean that Quinn’s family dealt with Mrs. Bingham before on Earth Prime when they first moved to San Francisco.
  • Quinn attended California High School.
  • When Arturo was in his 20s, he met a woman in graduate school named Kristina Fox whom he eventually married. They were only married for a few years before she died of a brain aneurysm at age 27. “When she died I discovered that I’d lost everything that gave my life any meaning,” he says later. It is never mentioned whether they had any children though it’s revealed later in Into the Mystic that Arturo has a son. Unfortunately, it’s still unclear as to whether the boy was a product of this marriage.

Money Matters

  • Even though they’re staying for five days, the Sliders don’t get jobs here because they seem to have a bit of money saved up… unfortunately Rembrandt loses “all of it” when he bets against UCAL.
  • Hotel accommodations? Nope. They stay at Quinn’s house.
  • The mobster says that Quinn’s double skipped out on a million dollars worth of gambling debts.

Mindgame Questions

The questions are flashed very briefly on the screen but their detail warrants freeze-frame analysis.

Q: What is the Linnaean system of classification for flora & fauna?

  • Kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species.

Q: Name the five dinosaurs that belong to the sauropod group.

  • (only three are shown) Apatosaurus, Diplodocus, Brachiosaurus.

Q: Name the eight units of measure beginning with the letter “P.”

  • (only six are shown) parsec, peck, pint, point, pound, pipe.

Q: Name the six craters on the dark side of the moon.

  • Szilard, Tsiolovsky, Fermi, Planck, Schrödinger, Oppenheimer.

Q: Name the different types of dynamic gas flow.

  • Molecular, continuum, slip, transition, free molecule.

Q: What are the first eight lines of the standard Shellen eye chart?

  • (only six are shown) E / FP / TOZ / LPED / PECFD / EDFCZP.

Q: Who were the first eight men to orbit the earth?

  • Gagarin, Titov, Glenn, Carpenter, Nikolayer, Popvich, Schirra, Cooper.

Q: What are the layers of the Earth’s Atmosphere?

  • Troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere, ecosphere.

Q: What are four types of lasers?

  • Chemical, excimer, free electron, X-ray.

Q: What are the five traditional branches of chemistry?

  • Organic, inorganic, physical, analytical, biochemistry.

Q: From the softest to hardest, what is the Moh’s scale of mineral hardness?

  • Talc, Gypsum, Calcite, Fluorite, Apatite, Orthoclase, Quartz, Topaz, Corundum, Diamond.

Q: Name a common characteristic of string theory? Quinn give his answer as Multiple dimensions though it’s not the most correct answer. He’s unhappy with the #1 answer given by M.I.T. (infinite density) because string theory, the building block for sliding, was his specialty at university. Needless to say, he knows the #1 answer isn’t true.

Q: In the human head, what are the 12 cranial nerves?

  • Olfactory, Optic, Oculomotor. (Tag).

Q: Name the four heaviest chemical elements?

  • Fermium, Mendelevium, Nobelium, Lawrencium.

Q: What is * (Pi) to 13 places?

  • 3.1415926535897. (Note that the final “9” in the answer appears on the screen about three seconds before Quinn actually calls it out.)

Notable Quotes

  • “Bizarre to the point of lunacy.” — Arturo’s take on the overly amorous Mrs. Dana Bingham.
  • “How come you’re always asking stupid questions?” — Wade to a very confused Rembrandt.
  • “Unbelievable, it’s like everybody expects me to be Wayne Gretzky, except I don’t know how to skate.” — Quinn commenting on the media attention his return is getting.
  • “You bet on a game that you don’t understand? You’re an idiot.” — Wade, to Rembrandt, who’s intent on learning what the point-spread was between Harvard and UCAL.
  • “Slide for your lives!” — Quinn to the others on the roof just before the shoot-out.


“Intellectual refinement is one thing. Moral refinement is something different.” — Arturo’s musing about Einstein World.


  • Quinn’s decision not to play causes shocked Rembrandt to click at the TV with the remote control, apparently turning it off. But while Quinn goes on to explain his reasons, the announcers on TV are still talking about the game.
  • Arturo refers to the Einstein-Pudalski-Rosen bridge rather than the already established Einstein-Rosen-Pudalski bridge.
  • The opening graphics for the Mindgame broadcast on SFN shows clips of plays that haven’t occurred yet, they go down minutes later in the UCAL-Harvard game.


  • A bus vestibule advertisement features The Cap Khakis, picturing Albert Einstein, a send-up of ads used by The Gap chain at the time this episode aired.
  • On the UCAL team, one player is “Tormé #7,” a tribute to Tracy Tormé done by the production team in Vancouver. “I didn’t have any part of that,” Tormé insists.

Rewind That!

When Quinn, Rembrandt and Wade are being chased by the mobsters backstage at the Mindfield, they run right past two guys in togas and a huge Einstein bust.

History Lesson

While the history of this world isn’t explained in great detail, the basics of Einstein World are pretty simple: smart equals cool. Here, people walk around with books while boom boxes blast classical music and songs about famous authors.

Everything in this world essentially mirrors Earth Prime with the exception that professional sports, like football and basketball never reached the same popularity here. There is athletic competition, but it comes in the form of “Mindgame,” a court-played hybrid of the board game “Othello” and the game show “Family Feud.”

In Mindgame, teams of three players are led by captains who square off with one another at the center of a sectioned, numbered court and must beat each other to a buzzer to answer a scientific trivia question, often containing multiple answers.

The captain that wins gets his team possession of a basketball-sized ball which is thrown in-play to his fellow players after the referee reads a question. As long as a player has the ball, he must provide an answer to the question in order to move around the floor, all while trying to avoid getting tagged by an opposing player. Tags are made by touching to a holster-like device worn on the hip of all players.

The player with the ball works toward getting to a certain numbered square (out of 36 squares total) on the court but can only do so after he’s answered the entire question completely. Strategically, if a player captures the right square, his team can take over all of the squares that lay in between that square and another square already captured.

A game lasts for three periods, 60 minutes total, and points are given out depending on how many squares a team captures. In the end, the team with the most squares wins.

Yes, it probably sounds complicated, which is why only geniuses can play — and the Quinn on this world was one of the best. An All-American academic decathlete, most valuable player in the California High School academic championship, and TV Physicist of the Year. Here, Quinn is the Michael Jordan of Mindgame and he’s in good company; Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking were both also Mindgame superstars in their days, in fact, Hawking wrote a book on how to achieve technical superiority in the game. The Mindgame college championships have been played for 27 years.

Such a world of elevated intellect seems to be a terrific place for Quinn and Arturo’s doubles to display their supreme intellect but alas, they have squandered their opportunities. Alt-Quinn here is an academic superstar complete with magazine covers and shoe company endorsements but who has who essentially turned bad. After developing mob ties, becoming immersed in gambling debts and evading his taxes, he’s now wanted by the FBI. Alt-Arturo is a popular, touring orator and chairman of the University of California but his wandering eye has ruined his marriage. Both have dropped out of sight.

The Inside Slide

The working title for this episode in pre-production was “Genius.”

· · ·

Tracy Tormé says that it was Robert K. Weiss who came up with the working concept for Mindgame. “That was all Bob’s idea, he really worked hard on that,” he said. “I didn’t have much to do with it and I don’t know a lot about it but I remember that he spent a lot of time just trying to make the game as good as he could.”

Whoever thought it up, it didn’t rank high on Tormé’s list of first season episodes. “My least favourite was ‘Eggheads,’ — that was the thinnest in terms of the plotting.”

Guest Stars




  • Sigmund the young autograph seeker.
  • The student who thanks Arturo for picking up her books after he bumps into her.
  • Jimmy’s two thugs.
  • The cab driver.
  1. Andrew Guy would return in the second season episode Love Gods as Australian Trevor Grant.
  2. Sheelah Megill would return in the second season episode Gillian of the Spirits as Mrs. Henry.

In Brief

Teleplay by Scott Smith Miller
Story by Scott Smith Miller & Jacob Epstein
Production # 70405
Network # SL-108
Directed by Timothy Bond
Music by Mark Mothersbaugh
Edited by Tannis Chandler



In Review


“Eggheads” attacks the cult of celebrity with a smart edge while placing Quinn and Arturo through the wringer morally and ethically. Where do you end and your double begin?

Read the review »


While Quinn struggles with fame in a world where intellect is prized, Arturo tries for a reconciliation with a long-lost love.