Of course, there's no proof that the writers of the Michael Douglas film "The Game" ever saw this miniseries, (unlikely, as it was only ever shown once in a small region of the UK) but the two are sufficiently similar you can get a feel for what you're in for when you watch the One Game by comparing. The One Game, of course, came 10 years earlier, on a fraction of the budget, and seemingly disappeared having never been rerun since its original broadcast. As such it's a bit of a "lost gem" of a miniseries.
Like "The Game", it centers around a main character who is trapped in a "reality game", where there are no rules, only seemingly lethal obstacles, and not much of a hint of what the final prize, or the motivation for playing (beyond survival), really is. The two main stars turn in good performances: Stephen Dillane appears in 2004's "Arthur" in the role of Merlin, Patrick Malahide has been in a load of things including "The Long Kiss Goodnight". The twists and turns in the plot keep you guessing till the very last scene; like "The Game" you never really know what side any of the "players" are on, or how the puzzles come together, but unlike "The Game" the payoff actually makes a lot more sense, with a lot fewer plot holes having been reached along the way.
OK, it's not all good: like any cult film, particularly of that era, there's a fair amount of cheese, and some definite B-movie acting from the B-characters, such as Thorne's girlfriend, and his business partner, and an awful comic-book style "recap" before each of the 4 episodes. The sub-plot around Thorne's business doesn't quite work except in the context of exposition, which could have been done better another way. It shows its age with the computer puzzles, but then that's 1988: if you're into cult TV you'd just as easy eat all of that up and enjoy it.
On the whole though it's an enjoyable watch that deserves more attention than it got, and the good news is, it's finally been released on DVD, so maybe a few more people will get to see it now. For those interested, it's released by Contender under their Kult-TV label and can be ordered online
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