Rules of the Game


The four crash land into a deadly war game, where teams compete to survive a lethal obstacle course for prize money. With too much time left until the slide and no safe houses to sit the game out in, the Sliders are forced onto the playing field. Their chances of survival are further damaged when the Professor is blinded by a flashpoint. He gives into despair and urges the others to leave him behind, but they won’t comply. Rembrandt and Arturo end up split from Quinn and Wade, who enlist the help of Laurie, another player who has lost all her teammates. A blind Arturo must shoot his way out of a booby trap that’s ensnared Rembrandt, and his success heartens him. Reunited, the five reach the final level. Laurie is killed, and Quinn decides to win the competition to honor her sacrifice.

Worlds Visited

Igloo World

A world that’s, well, cold. The Sliders are wearing parkas and Quinn relishes the thought of going to “the beach.”

Read the full Travelogue entry »

Game World

Guns and gamesmanship are the order on this world. Win and live comfortably for life, lose and you’re left to die and rot in the streets.

Read the full Travelogue entry »

Details

  • The sign above the exit of the airplane simulator reads “Welcome to Level I.”
  • One banner hanging in the rafters of the simulator reads “North South Invitational Oslo Exports ’95.”
  • Another reads “Vividtek ’92.”
  • The headlines of The Daily Chronicle read “It’s A Good Day To Die!” and “Conflicting Factors Cause Factors [sic] Turmoil in U.S. and Abroad.”
  • As the Sliders check the Humvee truck for explosives, the two stores in the background are “Ski Haus” and “The Berkeley Grill.”
  • If the four don’t slide when the initial gate opens, they are stuck on that world for 29 years.

Character Information

  • Wade is afraid of flying. “You have no idea how much,” she says.
  • Rembrandt served in the Navy where he took a couple of classes in auto mechanics before he left on the USO tour.
  • A blind and scared Arturo opens up to Quinn by saying, “Every teacher goes through life hoping just once he’ll have a student like you.”
  • Wade says she used to be pretty good at hopscotch. She was undefeated until the second grade when a girl named Rosemary Caraway took her title from her.
  • Wade says that she once had a crush on a boy named Norm Roberts in the second grade. “He was so cute,” she says. “I think he became an attorney.”
  • Wade says she weighs a hundred pounds.
  • Arturo has served for England’s armed forces.
  • Rembrandt had a friend in the navy named Guy Yaniger, who wanted to study painting in Paris but went blind from diabetes and became a sculptor instead.

Money Matters

  • The four obviously had enough to deck themselves out in cold weather gear on Igloo World but money isn’t necessary on Game World; food, supplies and shelter are all provided — provided you can survive long enough to take advantage of it.

Notable Quotes

  • “Sliding between parallel worlds doesn’t bother you but flying does?” — Quinn, to Wade, on her fear of flying.
  • “I don’t think I want to play this game.” — a very frightened Wade, who is probably speaking for all of them.
  • “This ranks very high on the weird meter.” — Quinn, describing the whole bizarre business of it all.
  • “See you at the beach.” — it means good luck on Game World.
  • “Maybe they got bored with the Super Bowl, huh?” — Rembrandt’s opinion as to why someone would even invent such a game as the one the Sliders have stumbled upon.
  • “Well … you know what they say — let sleeping ‘droids lie.” — Quinn, while investigating a dead robot dog.

Arturoisms


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“A pen is a mighty instrument.”

Nitpicks/Errors

  • The Sliders exit a large warehouse where the simulator is located, but the exterior is a much smaller suburban house.

Neatpicks

  • Quinn talks about the Pilot while explaining the circumstances for which the quartet went sliding: “Wade, Arturo and I were conducting an experiment and Rembrandt just happened to be driving by outside and accidentally got sucked into the vortex.”
  • Two elements of this episode closely mirror those of Jerry O’Connell’s film “Stand By Me,” the scene where the dog barks crazily behind the chain link fence and the scene where Quinn takes the first guard watch while Wade and Nicky are sleeping.

Rewind That!

  • When the Sliders are first attacked by the humanoid robots, it is in the area that would, in later episodes, become the become Elston Diggs’ bar.

Rewind That!

  • For some reason, most of “the Announcer’s” lines were changed in post production. What you hear in dialogue isn’t what’s dictated in closed captioning. It seems that “the Announcer” was originally a surfer-type character who uses words like “bro” and “narlo” to describe things. Here are some lines that you don’t hear in the order of the announcer’s messages on screen:
    • As the plane lands: “Welcome to Level One. Narlo plane ride, wasn’t it? Our way of saying — Yo, bro’, heads up or you’ll be slabbed out before you know it. Attention: all players — Please be advised that under the new rules adopted by the National League, only one team or surviving player will be declared a winner. Tournament play will begin in 72 seconds.”
    • When the Sliders reach the save haven: “Congratulations. You can rest here safely until morning when we resume play. Have a pleasant evening.” You can tell that the dialogue and video screen effect were changed after filming because after the announcer says “Have a pleasant evening” in closed captioning, the Sliders turn away from the screen, even though he hasn’t finished speaking yet. Sometimes, the announcer speaks in a voice over, but the dialogue isn’t available in closed captioning.
  • When Arturo thinks he can see his hand in front of him, his dialogue says “Mr. Brown, I believe by sight is returning.” but in closed captioning it reads “Mr. Brown, I think I can see something.”

History Lesson

Ten years ago, the nation was poised on the verge of civil war. In an odd move, the government banned sporting events as a way of controlling the population. That was obviously unsuccessful.

When the citizens began to clamor for entertainment, the Games sprang up. They were government sanctioned and were immensely popular. To date, 228 million Americans watch the Games weekly.

There is a National League for the Game. Teams must first compete in regional playoffs in order to make it to the big leagues. There are five levels in the game. If a player makes it to the finish line, all of their family gets a piece of the prize money, five million dollars.

Someone who makes it to the end of the game must place their CD-like medallion in the recorder, which is guarded by well-armed android soldiers.

They used to hold the games at the “old coliseum” but the popularity of the contests dictated that there needed to be a bigger venue so the owners built a wall around the part of the city and held the games within. Then, any sponsor willing to put up the money could headline a team to compete.

The Inside Slide

The original concept sounds slightly different than what eventually aired.

“There’s also one about very wealthy people who contact these computer games, but they happen in real life, where you have to survive from level to level, and finally win a prize when you make it to the end,” says Tracy Tormé. “The Sliders accidentally slide right into it, so that’s going to be a very visual affair.”

Eventually, though, Tormé’s distaste for the show’s ultra-violence came through. Tormé cringes as he describes the ill-conceived one-line high concepts which mark the third season. Executives chose “Rules of the Game” as the first episode to air, suggesting what Tormé can only laughingly describe as ‘video game world’ as a prototype for the season: sleek, fast-moving and replete with eye candy.

“[It’s] video game world,” he laughs.

As Tormé recalls, the shift from quirky, imaginative stories to uninspired gimmick of the week-type episode began here.

“They were so gung-ho that the first show of the season was ‘Let’s have skate boarders! We’re going to hire those kids who do skate boarding tricks; that’s cool, that’s going to get us teenagers!'”

Ultimately, there were no skateboarders — but there were exploding Humvees, androids shooting fireballs and pointless gunplay.

· · ·

Rembrandt in the Navy? What that’s all about? It’s just one of many character changes that began at the beginning of the season — and Cleavant Derricks thought it was a good idea.

“I have never been in the military, so I find that fascinating about the character,” he says. “It gives him discipline, a sense of taking care of himself and those around him, and not thinking so much of himself.”

Eventually, Derricks would retract that statement in an interview with EP.COM, saying that it was just another thing they piled on the character of Rembrandt in an attempt to figure out what to do with him.

“Why add a whole new side to the character and then downplay it?” he asked. “It defeats the whole purpose.”

· · ·

For the third season’s premiere, three mechanical robot spiders, fangs bristling with deadly electricity, menacingly scurry down a metal web toward Rembrandt. The spiders were designed and modeled by John Daniel and animated by David Lombardi.

· · ·

The aerial footage shown in the airplane simulator is taken from high above Universal Studios — landmarks such as Universal Citywalk and the Universal corporate building are visible among the lights.

Guest Stars

Unaccredited

  • The actors playing Nicky Kent’s teammates — Frankie (the black man) and Oscar (the white man).

In Brief

Written by Josef Anderson
Production # K1805
Network # SL-302
Directed by Oscar L. Costo
Music by Danny Lux
Edited by Edward Salier, A.C.E.

Chronology

Previously:
Next:

In Review

B-
Good

“Rules of the Game” means well. It’s a guilty pleasure. And that’s about it.

Read the review »

Logline

Arturo is seriously injured when the Sliders become unwitting participants in a bloody game in which there is only one rule: stay alive.

Timer Status

The Sliders leave it in the truck when escaping the lasers, prompting Arturo to go back for it and become blinded by a laser blast.