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1 vs 100 creates a new experience that feels real because of the genuine human host and the bona fide prizes. The package as a whole is simply a lot of fun. Bring on Season One proper.
This summer Microsoft trialed their version of the trivia game show 1 vs 100. Thousands of players were logging in weekly to the 1 vs 100 'Live' shows 'broadcast' on Friday and Saturday evenings. These are an intriguing combination of a preset video game with live players and a proper host talking through the action in real time.
As in the TV Show, one lucky gamer is chosen to be 'The One', with a further 100 making up 'The Mob', the remaining players play in 'The Crowd'. Following the game play of the TV version, relatively easy choice of three trivia questions are answered by selecting the appropriate button on the game pad.
'The One' has to stay alive long enough to knock out a large proportion of 'The Mob'. The more they knock out, the bigger the prize; which can go all the way up to 10,000 Microsoft Points - though I never saw anyone hold their nerve long enough to get that far, with the majority of winnings being in the 2,000 to 5,000 point range. Should 'The One' get an answer wrong, the remaining members of 'The Mob' are awarded a prize based on how many are left standing. There are also prizes of an Xbox Live Arcade game for being one of the top three scorers in 'The Crowd'.
Playing 1 vs 100 with a bunch of mates was great fun. You can have your own private little battle as you watch the egg-heads scores rocket away from you! Points are awarded based on how long a correct streak of answers you have, how quickly you answered the question and how many mob members got that question wrong.
One glorious Friday evening I sat down for a quick play around half way through the game, and, after a couple of rounds I was actually picked for the mob! Oh how the tension mounted.
Whether any lag issues come into play is a bit of an unknown, certainly sometimes I seemed to answer a question as quick as or quicker than a previous one only to get a slightly lower score. And it seemed that no matter how quick I was I was always slowly falling behind the leaders - only ever managing to get as close as around 200 points to the top 10.
Every few questions there is a stat-break where you might get a little live commentary from the UK host (James McCourt), pre-recorded game info or game advertising. While the live commentary was a bit sparse I can understand why it wasn't realistic to have a live presenter throughout. It did sometimes give the proceedings a bit of a lifeless feel, especially for solo players, which is unfortunate.
The stat-breaks give you a chance to see how you are fairing against the other players but can get a little tedious as they sometimes drag on a bit, presumably for scheduling reasons. While perusing the stats you'll be able to see how quick you are compared to others, and this usually shows someone with an insanely low average answer time - I'm sure some people were just pressing 'A' every time, maybe in order to get listed as the fastest player as I don't think that stat took account of wrong answers.
Selection for 'The One' or 'The Mob' was apparently based on how often you played, how quickly you answered and how correct your answers were. I'm not wholly convinced about how accurate this was and there was probably a heft dose of 'random selection' in there as well because sometimes I was staggered about how little the new 'One' knew, or the sort of questions some of the mob were getting wrong.
Still, on one glorious Friday evening I sat down for a quick play around half way through the game, and, after a couple of rounds I was actually picked for the mob! Oh how the tension mounted - what was up till then just a bit of a laugh became deadly serious. There were points to be won and I reckoned I had a pretty good chance. Well, question two came along; I panicked about the answer and didn't press my button in time. As well as me, 'The One' and over half of the mob also got it wrong so it was a very, very brief spell in the limelight.
When you play, if you are not playing with friends, then you are grouped with up to three other players; which helps add a bit of extra competition to the proceedings; and on another night one of my co-players was also chosen. A quick 'good luck' message sent, I played along to see how he would get on. Alas, even though he did pretty well he also fell at the same time as the 'One'.
As well as over a million Microsoft Points, other big prizes including cars and home-theatre equipment have been won. I can't wait for season one proper to start.
As well as the two live shows each week, there are a number of 'Extended Play' games where everyone plays as part of the mob (with the addition that if you get a question wrong you don't get eliminated). These sessions generally offer much harder and often themed questions. Another modification to the rules is that after answering a certain number of questions right you receive a 'skip'. This allows you to skip a question you don't know the answer to and preserves your 'streak' which is the key to high scores. Participation in these sessions is mainly a bit of fun, but also adds to your stats, improving your chance of being picked for the 'one' or 'mob' on the next live game.
I really enjoyed playing 1 vs 100, especially with friends. The use of Xbox Live avatar is a nice feature as is the 'amping' that you can do to make your avatar perform little dance moves. Trying to get you and all of your mate's avatars performing the same move is a hoot!
The test season has now finished and I think overall it was a resounding success. Over 2.5 million people downloaded the game and Microsoft were claiming the Guinness World Record for most simultaneous players. As well as over a million Microsoft Points, other big prizes including cars and home-theatre equipment have been won. I can't wait for Season One proper to start.
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