Hermon man to appear on ABC’s ‘Million Dollar Mind Game’

Posted Oct. 24, 2011, at 3:51 p.m.

As a self-described “computer geek” who graduated from Harvard University, Frank Tota has always been interested in video games and game shows.

Tota, a native of Rochester, N.Y., who has lived in Hermon for just under a year, will appear on ABC’s new game show “Million Dollar Mind Game” at 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 30.

The way the show works is quite simple: A team of six people are assembled to take on numerous logic-based questions. The more questions they answer correctly, the more money they take home. If the team answers a question correctly, they have to decide as a group to take their winnings and run or move on to the next question.

“Our team was computer geeks and it was a bunch of people from the video game industry,” said Tota.

Tota isn’t allowed to disclose how much he and his team won, as per contractual obligations, but was willing to say he and his team “went very far.”

“It was really hard,” he said, adding that the pressure of answering the questions with cameras everywhere was nerve wracking.

The show, a remake of one of Russia’s most popular TV game shows, is filmed in Los Angeles and hosted by Vernon Kay, a well-known presenter in the United Kingdom.

The show premiered last weekend, with a group of six middle school teachers walking away with $75,000.

“Each round you progress up to a higher dollar amount,” Tota said. “One of the lessons from the show is the importance of teamwork. The questions were really, really hard.”

If you choose to go for the next question after getting one right, you either earn more money or leave with nothing. Tota and his teammates were not allowed to talk with each other between questions.

“It’s all or nothing,” said Tota. “You either go home or you risk it all to take the next question. It’s a tough decision. Each person has different priorities. Some want to go for the glory, others could really use that money.”

Even though the show only airs for an hour, don’t be fooled. Tota and his teammates had a long day.

“We were there for more than 12 hours,” he said. “By the end, there’s all sorts of things going on. You’re hot, it’s 9 at night, you’ve been up since 5 a.m. You’re mentally exhausted by the time the hardest questions come.”

Some of Tota’s undisclosed winnings may be put to good use later this fall, as he and his fiancee, Erika, plan to tie the knot on Nov. 11.

When asked whether his winnings could be used for a subsequent honeymoon, Tota said,

“It could, it very well could.”

Tota’s teammates are planning on having a viewing party in California on Sunday, and he may participate via Skype.

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