Beta Impressions: Beta vs Canada.
At last year's E3, Microsoft unveiled 1 vs 100, an upcoming interactive live game show on Xbox Live featuring real prizes. Not much has been said since that announcement ? until now, that is. The 1 vs 100 public beta launched on May 8 and runs through May 24 exclusively in Canada. Yup, hosers like me up in the Great White North are the first in the world to experience this ambitious next step in interactive entertainment before it launches globally later this spring. And from what I've seen so far, 1 vs 100 is going to be a hit.
The Xbox Live game faithfully recreates the experience of the original televised version, which pits a single player (The One) against 100 other players (The Mob) in a battle of trivia knowledge. The goal of The One is to knock out all members of The Mob, who are individually eliminated when they answer a question incorrectly. The One is also eliminated if he or she answers incorrectly, but can fortunately use up to three lifelines or ?Helps? if they get stuck: Trust the Mob automatically rings in the most popular answer chosen by the Mob; Trust the Crowd does the same but amongst The Crowd (people who are not The One or in The Mob but can still play along for points); or Trust the Brain, which picks the answer of the top scoring player in the round.
The more members of The Mob that are eliminated, the bigger The One's potential prize winnings grow. Periodically The One can choose to take their current ?money? earnings and cash out, or continue playing against The Mob for a chance to win more but risk losing everything.
The One and members of The Mob are chosen randomly from all players in the game, with the majority placed in The Crowd. Once The One or The Mob is eliminated, the game picks a new One and Mob and starts a new round. Each round seems to average around 15 minutes, depending on the skill level of The One. You can only be picked as a Mob member once per episode, and as The One once per season.
Everyone (including The Crowd) plays for points, which are earned for answering correctly, clicking in your answer as fast as possible, running a streak of correct responses and racking up bonus points for eliminating members of The Mob.
No prizes are being awarded in the beta but when the game launches for real, the top three point earners per round will win an Xbox Live Arcade game, and surviving members of The Mob who beat The One can win Microsoft Points or a XBLA game. If The One can eliminate the entire Mob, he or she can win the top prize of 10,000 Microsoft Points ? which is worth well over $100. Nice!
The most impressive aspect is that everyone can play ? and I mean everyone.
During the May 12 show, there were over 16,000 people playing in the same game at the same time. Think about that. Sixteen-thousand.
And that's during a weeknight; I can't imagine how many people there will be on a weekend show when it goes live.
Fortunately you don't have to worry about listening to 16,000 people or even the 100 members of The Mob yammering all the time because you cannot hear or speak to anyone outside of your own personal lobby, which can hold up to four players. The game imports each player's avatar, which you can make clap, fist pump or perform some funky dance moves. Playing with your friends is an absolute blast as you talk trash, help each other out and poke fun at those who pick the wrong answers.