Beta Impressions: Beta vs Canada.
The game is actually split into two ?shows,? 1 vs 100 Live and 1 vs 100 Extended Play. 1 vs 100 Live is the primetime scheduled two-hour show that awards prizes and features a live host, Emmy award-winning comedian Chris Cashman who does an excellent job of keeping players entertained and engaged in the gameplay with his witty real-time commentary ? when you can hear him, that is. One of the beta bugs is that he can only be heard intermittently but hopefully this will be corrected by launch time. When you can
hear him, however, he gives shout-outs to participating players and reads emails you can send him during the show. Yes, you can communicate with Chris while you're playing, which is way cool and elevates the game show to a whole new level of personal interaction.
1 vs 100 Extended Play is a half-hour non-hosted show that puts everyone into one giant Mob where you play for points and bragging rights. You do not win prizes in this show; think of it as practice for the real thing. However, the more you play, the better your chances of being picked as a member of The Mob or The One.
Whichever ?show? you play, you will have loads of fun pitting your trivia knowledge against thousands of other players. The game will be free when it launches, thanks to ads that appear during brief ?commercial breaks? which are simply static ads that appear on a billboard behind your party's avatars. The commercial breaks are fairly frequent ? not quite enough to be annoying, but close ? and only last a minute so aren't long enough for a bathroom break. Still, not a bad trade-off for a fun free game.
So far the questions are pretty easy, and even the ones that have you scratching your head are relatively stress free. Typically, one of the three answers is obviously and humorously wrong, which usually gives you a 50/50 chance each time. Some would argue that the questions are too
easy but for a family-oriented casual game, the difficulty level feels just right. Ramping up the difficulty to Jeopardy-level might provide more of a challenge but would adversely restrict the game's accessibility and appeal.
The cool thing is that many of the questions are surprisingly topical and up to date, often referencing news and entertainment stories that are barely a week or two old. This bodes well since it is unlikely the questions will get stale or repeat themselves (though a question did appear twice in a row once, but don't worry since this is the type of thing the beta is trying to iron out).
The general easiness of the questions can lull you into a false sense of security, however. The game will happily throw in some clever trick questions or provide answers that are very similar to the correct response, so you need to be aware at all times and read each question and answer carefully. These clever little tricks do wonders for culling out The Mob, sometimes eliminating 30-40 at a time.
Not surprising for a beta, the game suffers from bugs including the aforementioned problem with not hearing Chris Cashman. Network connection issues are the worst so far; joining a game can take a long time, sometimes consuming 10-15 minutes with repeated attempts. Once you're in the game you can lose the network connection, be booted out and lose all your points ? d'oh! These issues were especially bad on the first day of the beta but were significantly improved ? though not entirely eliminated ? on the second day. Judging by the amount of progress they made, however, they are well on their way to resolving these issues.
Another issue crops up when you try to click in your answer as the timer runs down. The timer is represented by a segmented bar that shrinks as your time runs out. When the bar is down to the last one or two segments, the game will not recognize your response even if you clicked in before the bar runs down. As a result, it appears as if you did not answer the question in time and is quite frustrating.
Of course, these are the types of issues that need to be discovered and hammered out in the beta and should hopefully not appear in the final version, but are still worth mentioning here. Overall, however, the game is incredibly fun and accessible, and will no doubt be extremely popular when it goes live globally.