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November 27, 2009

XBox Live - 1 vs 100

Are you a big trivia fan, like I am?  I've loved trivia for a very long time, so much so that nobody will play Trivial Pursuit with me anymore.  I have so much trivia in my mind that it crowds out all the important stuff, which can sometimes be a problem.

Ok, all of that is a bit of an overstatement, though usually Trivial Pursuit is the first option to be turned down at family gatherings where somebody utters those fateful words:  "Hey, let's play a game!"  But I do love to play trivia games.  When I lived in Chicago, I used to be in a Sunday night bowling league, and one of the guys I bowled with would stay afterward with me.  We'd have a couple of beers and play NTN trivia, that networked game that showed up in a whole lot of bars, restaurants, and other social establishments.  (I understand it's called something else now).

All of that is a lead-up to my latest trivia passion:  Xbox Live's new game show, 1 vs 100.

This is an online version of the game show that was on a couple of years ago (is it still on? I don't think so).  In the game, there would be "The One" (no, not a Matrix reference), somebody who's facing off against 100 other players, who are called "The Mob."  The idea was to answer trivia questions, and you would win money for each Mob member who missed the question.  When they missed a question, they were out of the game, and if The One managed to outlast the entire Mob, then he/she would win big money.  In this version, you can win Microsoft Points, the "money" of Xbox Live, which will let you buy DLC (downloadable content) for some of the games you've bought, or XBLA (Xbox Live Arcade) games from the marketplace.

The online version of this game requires an Xbox Live Gold account.  Anybody can play, though there is still "The One" and "The Mob."  If you're not included in one of those, then you are in the audience and can play along.  The only way you're winning prizes in the audience is if your in the top three players for the game, but it's still fun to rack up points.  Every point counts!

That's because how The One and The Mob are chosen is based on the number of points you've accumulated during both the Live Show and also the Extended Play segments:

"Selection of “The One”
Subject to the participation limits for the role of “The One” described below. Before each Round, we will select the top player in the game lobby to compete as “The One” based on pre-determined score criteria that alternates every three rounds as follows:
  • SEASON: Your current accumulated score for the entire season
  • WEEKLY: Your current accumulated score for the week.
  • PREVIOUS ROUND: Your score for the previous round of play."
Similar rules are used for The Mob, except that they take the top 100.

Yes, I did say "Live Show" above.  There are two weekly two-hour shows (at least that's what it seems like, looking at the schedule).  It has a live host (Chris Cashman) who comments on the game during the breaks, and who will sometimes have guests (or at least he did in the Beta version).  Those people in the crowd?  Those people are actually sitting in front of their TVs playing along with you.

There are a number of "Extended Play" periods when the show itself isn't on.  Those people playing are still "live" but there is no host and it's just a bunch of half-hour segments with different trivia questions, often categorized.  Last night, I played "Music," "Movie Quotes," "The 80's" and then a general trivia game.  These Extended Play segments allow you to build up your score so that you're more likely to qualify to play in the game itself.  It's also a fun way to just play some trivia!  Last night, there were probably 30-40,000 people playing.

I know it's the "in" thing to bash Microsoft, and I am fully behind some of those criticisms.  But they should be commended for this.  This is a really fun game for trivia buffs.  If you have an Xbox 360 and like trivia, you should check it out.  You can see the game schedule for the next week here.


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