New to the Xbox 360 this Christmas is Scene It? (yes, with question mark), a family, movie based quiz game where players get the compete against each other in a series of Hollywood related rounds, buzzing in to answer questions using the new Big Button Pads.
The PlayStation has had their equivalent now for several years in the form of Buzz and the general format is pretty much the same. Questions fired at you either require you to buzz in and answer or just hit one of the four coloured buttons to select the appropriate option, depending on how the round is setup. Either way, fast fingers earn big points and we all know what points mean.
The twist with Scene It? is that it’s completely movie related. All the rounds are set around the backlot of a production studio and put you in screening rooms, on set, in special effect labs or the props department and all have you answering questions on various aspects of films. Inbetween rounds you fly in an out of these areas to fleshout the feeling that you’re on a hotshot producer’s set. This is a nice touch and aren’t overly long but can become frustrating if all you want to do is press on with the next round.
What seperates Scene It? from Buzz further is its approach to the questions as they are far more interactive and make much more use of the fact that a simple quiz game has now been transferred to a console. You have the basic rounds, true, where you simply watch a clip and then answer questions on it but others go beyond that. My favourites are the movie poster round, where the poster slowly forms over time as elements swim in, and one which most resembles Pictionary where clues are drawn in real-time on the screen, both with the aim of guessing the film’s title before anyone else.
To complete the description, there are also finish the quote, name the face, what’s missing here, timelines, who am I and various other basic clue and question based rounds, too. In fact, I would probably only say there was one question-answer setup, each round usually has its own twist.
This is another example of Microsoft attempting to widen their 360 audience, another broad demographic title that is hoping to bring in non-gamers to the platform. Having been fortunate over the past few weeks to play this game with a small cross-section of the intended audience, it does seem to tick that broad box as both gamers and non-gamers alike have seemingly enjoyed playing Scene It?
The rounds are varied enough to keep everyone interested and, best of all, the game actually saves out the questions you’ve answered to avoid it repeating itself. You also get the option of quick (20 mins) or long game (40 mins), as well as a party mode where it just fires off rounds at you with no need to set it all up.
What does niggle, though, is occassionally the range of movies is too large. This may sound odd an odd statement but when Ali and I got a whole quiz where on pre-1960 movies which we’d never even heard of it took the fun out of it. Then again, I suppose it is the old addage of “it’s only easy if you know it” and someone else could have nailed them.
Personally, I’m looking forward to any expansion they may do that utilises the simple controllers. If it could take the topics to more general knowledge areas or even think of new party games (beyond mini-game collections) then I’m all for it as a starting point to greater things.
At the end of the day, it’s pretty hard to flesh out a description of a quiz game past “there are questions and you answer them”, especially as graphics and sound are pleasant but functional. If you have a group of people who are willing to enter into the spirit of this interactive board game then you shouldn’t be disappointed. It’s fun, reasonably paced and on a topic everyone should at least by able to join in with.