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1 vs. 100 Impressions

So finally got around to participating in one of the live betas for the US tonight.

Overall, I'd say this was a surprisingly enjoyable experience. The "live" atmosphere was fairly well structured, with commercial breaks being cut-in by "Chris" who would talk to the crowd and call out particular players. One of the more ingenious touches was the host asked users to e-mail him their pictures. Out of context (and to be honest, in context) it sounded really creepy and I feel sorry for the producer who had to sort out the (I can only  assume endless stream) of dick pix to find the ones of players with their children and significant other. It was a neat interaction with the game that really heightened that live feel.

The other thing I was really impressed with was how recent the questions felt. There was one about the Bruno "incident" at the MTV Movie Awards. There was a high call for pop culture recall, though most of it was stuff that I was kind of ashamed that I knew. Did learn that Ashlee Simpson named her kid Mowgli, and that apparently Australian Red Bull has cocaine in it. None of the questions seemed terribly difficult, especially given the three-option multiple choice format; the above Mowgli question I got right simply by the process of elimination. Granted, I might be having too high expectations; I was horrified when some people didn't know the date Cinco de Mayo occurred on, but everyone knew MySpace existed before Facebook.

The only criticism I have (besides the difficulty of the questions) was when I participated in the second, "Extended Play" version, the theme was E3 related questions. I was excited about the chance to flex my gaming knowledge, but once I got started it became evident very quickly that the whole thing was a giant chance to advertise Microsoft's E3 offerings.  Here's an example of one of the questions:

"Which Oscar-winning director appeared at the Microsoft E3 Press Conference?"

X) Vin Diesel    A) Uwe Boll    B) Steven Spielberg."

While that is kind of amusing, it also really just serves the purpose of highlighting "WE HAD SPIELBERG AT OUR PRESS CONFERENCE," and really robs the game any fun of being a challenge. I understand that Primetime is more or less a giant opportunity to advertise, and I fully accept that as I had fun with the experience. But to be so blatant as to put the company crowing front and center in the actual gameplay, you lose the sense of momentum and fun. I just become very aware and uncomfortable with the fact that I'm pitched to. Still, that wasn't in the real live event, which I highly recommend everyone try out next Friday. Hell, let me know if you do; maybe a Bomber will get to be the One.

1 vs. 100 Live: All of the Excitement, None of Saget
1 vs. 100 Live: All of the Excitement, None of Saget