So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Microsoft Game Studios Scene It? the Movie Trivia Game
- Lots of variety in game types and movie genres, easy 'pick-and-play' interface, will appeal to non-gamers
- No zany characters, scoreboard often frustrates
Despite a few notable flaws, and one of the worst puns we've ever heard, this remains a fun little party game that is ideal for families and non-gamers. If you're a movie buff, you're guaranteed to love it.
Price$ 119.95 (AUD)
The video game peripheral has come a long way since the Nintendo PowerGlove. What was once derided as a tacky 'noobs only' gimmick has somehow morphed into the fastest growing trend in the industry. From SingStar's karaoke microphone to Guitar Hero's Gibson SG, each new gaming gadget has consistently topped the best-seller charts with no end to the craze in sight.
Whether you support this move into the bubblegum mainstream or think it's killing hardcore gaming, there's no denying that a lot of these gizmos are pretty damn fun. If nothing else, they've allowed non-gamers to get in on the action, meaning we can now play with our granddads and girlfriends. (Hurrah!)
For whatever reason, Microsoft has tended to neglect this wildly popular sub-genre. While the PlayStation sports a wide variety of peripherals, the Xbox 360 has stuck to more traditional fare such as the wireless racing wheel. All this is set to change however, with the release of Scene It?: The Movie Trivia Game. This horrendously titled gaming peripheral does exactly what it says on the tin; allowing you to take part in your own cinema-flavoured quiz show. Similar in concept to Sony's rival Buzz franchise, it lets up to four players test their movie knowledge with Temptation style buzzers. (While some might call it a Buzz rip-off, it's actually based on an interactive DVD that first hit stores in 2001.)
The game comes packaged with four wireless controllers and an infrared receiver which plugs into your Xbox 360's USB port. Once the game is loaded up, players can immediately jump in with a press of their buzzers. Rather unusually, the game eschews the usual quiz show setting, and instead takes place in the middle of a studio lot. While this makes absolutely no sense in terms of plot, it does allow the game to mix up the scenery a little (and besides, since when did anybody play these games for the story?).
Rather less forgivable however, is the lack of selectable characters. Instead, players are represented by the colour of their buzzer and remain faceless throughout. We feel like this is a massive oversight in a game like this -- usually, half the fun is derived from your wacky on-screen avatar, which is one of the main 'hooks' for entry-level gamers. (This is especially annoying when you consider the rich comedy potential of the subject matter. How hard would it be to throw in a disco lothario (Saturday Night Fever) or psychotic drill sergeant (Full Metal Jacket)? But we digress.)
So how does the game stand up in terms of longevity? There are over 1800 questions in all, and 21 different trivia challenges to partake in. The impressive amount of variety on offer helps to lift 'Scene It?' above many of its rivals. Whether you're being asked to guess a film title from Pictionary-style clues, or recognise an actor from a hideous high school photo, the challenges never get old. Actual movie content ranges from the latest summer blockbusters to creaky Golden Oldies, ensuring everyone has a chance at answering a few questions, whatever their age or genre preference.
One last caveat: we were a bit put off by the scoring system in this game, which appears to be a bit broken. For starters, players keep their tally intact from previous rounds, meaning nerdy know-it-alls will swiftly enjoy an insurmountable lead. We'd much prefer it if the slate was wiped clean at the start of each game, making for an even playing field. Plus, we were perplexed by the massive amount of bonus points awarded at the end of each game for seemingly silly reasons. After every question has been answered, it's possible to fall from first to last place as your rivals chalk up an array of perplexing achievements (including 'slowest to answer a question.' No really.)
Despite all its flaws however, this is still a fun game that's hard not to like. If Gene Siskel were still alive, he'd probably give it two thumbs up.
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