Quick: What’s the newest hybrid sensation that combines video games, television programming and social aspects? Is it:
X: 1 vs. 1oo on Xbox Live
A: Twittering With The Stars
B: Donkey Kong’s Digg for Dollars
If you said “X”, then you’d be right. Of course, savvy Xbox players might have been tipped off since the X, A and B controller buttons are used to answer questions in the Live version of 1 vs. 100. Microsoft (s MSFT) launched the game in late May, but I just got around to participating in a session last night. Players simply show up at the pre-scheduled “on air” time and play for free. In my 30-minute episode, over 15,000 people were logged on and collectively we were “The Mob.” Each of our Xbox Live avatars were shown in the mob and we could even control our virtual selves to a point; pressing the Y button repeatedly shows excitement, while moving the left stick can be used to taunt.
Unlike the original television show, you can answer questions incorrectly and still stay in the mob. You don’t, however, gain points for wrong answers and there are incentives for speed as well as answering consecutive questions correctly. The more incorrect answers in the mob, the more points you earn with a correct answer. Questions are answered in sets of 10 and during the commercial break, you can see how you stack up by viewing your stats.
I was pitted against three formidable opponents last night, which is a nice touch. Without some small group context, it’s easy to get lost in the mob and the game would lose some competitive feel. It came down to the final and 37th question but I just edged out my live opponents to win bragging rights in our quartet. With an Xbox Live headset, you can voice chat with your three opponents, but I felt it to be in poor taste to brag about my informal win. (OK, I did jump around and scream wildly, but I had the mute button on.)
Microsoft’s Xbox Live version of 1 vs. 100 has essentially created a live and exciting game-show feel. But it’s virtual, so you don’t have to worry about wardrobe or sounding like a goofball in front of millions of people. The controls and concept are simple, yet I could see myself tuning in and playing on a regular basis just to see how well I did against the thousands of other participants. Given the simplicity of it, I wouldn’t be surprised to see mobile versions of this, and possibly other game shows in the near future.
Kevin C. Tofel is co-editor of our sister site jkOnTheRun.