Who Wants to Play a Stupid Game?
Hello everybody! This is your host, Johnny Liu. Let's get right into this, shall we? Someone here, yes perhaps you, friend, reading these very words, has the chance to play a boring game. You might be saying, "Noooooooooo - that's not possible!" Let me tell you, it is. And as your host, I must warn you to keep away from it. But time is short, what with all the commercials we're selling, so let's begin.
Why do people watch the television show, Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
A> Because it's high quality entertainment, with a depth that whups even top notch literary works 10 times over.
B> For Regis. Oh, that sassy Regis.
C> Because no one cares about those people stuck on the island. Hope they all die, I do.
D> Money, money, money.
Yes folks, the final answer is D. Money. Scrilla. Cheddar. Dolla' bills, y'all. Greed is good, remember? In this age of a tripped out economy and ne'er do well dot-coms, it feels like the dream of success is at arms length. A show like Millionaire lets people live vicariously - the questions are easy enough, allowing the viewing audience to believe that they too have a shot at riches and glory.
So, it's a ratings winner. Not because it's deep, provocative, or has an iota of meaning, but because it's about one million dollars on the line. Next question:
Why was this game made?
A> To create the first true work that would signify the stepping stone between gaming and high art.
B> For Regis. Oh, that artsy Regis.
C> Why, to get the very first Game Revolution A+, of course!
D> To prey on fans of the show, playing them off as suckers.
Screw the poll - it's D again.
The original game show has a single player in the hot seat. Regis asks them questions. Each succeeding question nets more money, but becomes increasingly harder. There are three lifelines that can be used when a question stumps you: polling the audience, removing two choices, and calling a friend.
The game version has a single player answering a succession of questions with increasing difficulty. The three lifelines are still there, with a virtual friend of Regis offering the phone-a-friend support.
There's an attempt to simulate the overblown suspense of the TV show, with drawn out pauses and the ever annoying "Is that yer final answer?" Makes for good television, but it only manages to stall and slow down the game.
Between questions, there are some low key, uninspired graphics. Just sparkly color whirls and cheesy CG of the Millionaire set. They've modeled the chair and monitors of the show, and then just track the camera around it every which way. Way to go for effort, people.
What really cracks me up is the cover of the game, touting "More Regis." More Regis? What masochist out there wants more Regis, with his un-witty bantering in his uniquely shrill voice and the constant arm gesturing? In the game, you will get enough Regis solely with his voice reading all the questions. More Regis is NOT a good thing.
On my first try, I won half a million, easy. I was rewarded with a check on my TV screen. Getting that half mil wasn't fun. Everything I won after that continued to be not fun.
So, what does a non-gamer think of Millionaire? For that, I turned to my mom. She doesn't play games. She's watched the show a few times but isn't a big fan. And as someone with the perspective of complete newbie, she still doesn't like it. It just isn't fun to get boring, seemingly easy question after boring, seemingly easy question.
The only thing redeemable about the game is a little joke between me and Reeg. If you enter your name as "Regis," the one true Regis says, "Ya' liar. There only one Regis!" Man, that guy gives me the creeps. Chalk one point up for the only shard of creativity in this trivia wasteland.
When it comes to quiz show games, You Don't Know Jack has always been my favorite. You'll find plenty of originality, personality, and difficulty. Millionaire has none of those things. It didn't have those things when it was a TV show, and it doesn't have those things as a game. Jack had competition between two to four players. In Millionaire, their idea of two player interactivity is one answering the questions while the other sits slack jawed on his ass doing nothing.
In fairness, Millionaire the game does duplicate Millionaire the show, except for one very significant factor. The money. That's all the show is really about, and as a game with nothing on the line, it feels so pointless. Some things simply don't translate into games. What'll be next? A Survivor game? A Real World game?
Final Question. What does this game get?
Omigosh, it's a D, once again! And that, friends, is my final answer.