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1 vs. 100 Live Review

Developer: Endemol Publisher: Microsoft
Release Date: Fall 2009 Available On: Xbox 360

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First announced last year to coincide with the launch of the New Xbox Experience, 1 vs. 100 Live has been a very interesting project to keep track of. It is being billed as the first live video game trivia show, one that will also give away real prizes. After the New Xbox Experience was released, Microsoft claimed 1 vs. 100 Live would be coming soon, but we did not know how long we would have to wait. Well the wait is over, sort of, as the 1 vs. 100 Live Beta has officially launched.

Yes, you read that right. This initial “pilot season” is in beta and available to play for any Xbox Live Gold subscriber for no charge. What this essentially means is that Microsoft and its developer, Endomol, are using this time to work out the kinks in their little experiment. Not only are they looking to fix any technical bugs that might be present, but they are also taking user feedback into consideration. So if there are certain aspects of the game that most people share some disdain for, it may end up being removed from the game or replaced.

For those who are not familiar, 1 vs. 100 is based on the game show of the same name. There is a contestant known as The One who competes against a mob (which is actually an acronym for mass of bodies, but we’ll just leave it as the mob) of 100 people. The One and the mob are both asked the same question, and every time the One answers correctly, it is revealed how many mob members answered incorrectly and those members are then eliminated from the game. Depending on how many questions are answered correctly and how many mob members are eliminated, the One will earn a varying amount of money, obviously increasing as the game continues. There are intervals reached where the One is asked if he wants to keep his winnings or continue facing the mob. If he chooses the money, then the game is over and he walks away with what he has earned, but if he chooses the mob, the game continues. The goal of the game is for the One to eliminate all members of the mob and win as much money as possible, and the mob’s job is to eliminate the One by answering questions right until he answers one wrong, at which point all remaining mob members split the winnings.

The 1 vs. 100 Live plays similar to the game show, with a few obvious changes. Firstly, instead of money, people will be playing for MS points, with the top prize being 10,000 MS points. Secondly, everyone who decides to join the game will be allowed to play in some capacity. If you are not chosen to be the One or part of the mob, you will then play as a part of the crowd, but you will still play along answering questions. No matter where you are chosen to play, you will still have the opportunity to win real prizes. The One is the only person with the chance to win the top prize of 10,000 MS points, but mob members will also win prizes if they win the game and the amount of remaining members is 40 and below. Even the top three scorers of the crowd in each round will be awarded a free Xbox Live arcade game. It’s this aspect that will definitely have every person playing always trying their best to answer question quickly and accurately.

The 1 vs. 100 Live Beta is split up into two games. One of them is the Live event, which is what I have been describing up until this point, but the second one is called Extended Play. It’s played a little differently than the Live event and its function is different as well. In Extended Play, everyone plays as the mob and competes against each other answering a stream of trivia questions with increasing difficulty. There are no prizes given away, but it’s been confirmed that the more you participate in Extended Play, the greater your chances there are for you to be chosen as the One or part of the mob in the live events. Each Extended Play session lasts only half an hour compared to the 2 hours the Live event is, but there are usually quite a few Extended Play sessions scheduled each day, whereas the Live event, so far, is scheduled once every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. You are able to check the schedule and even set a reminder for yourself at anytime on your Xbox 360.

The beta has been up and running for 2 weeks as of this writing, and is planned to run for 3 months total. During this time, the game will be free to play for all gold subscribers, but no actual skill related prizes will be given away during this time. I suppose it does take a little fun out of playing the game knowing you won’t be able to win anything just yet, but there are sweepstakes being made available for all who play. Every time you answer a question, whether it be right or wrong, you gain one entry in a sweepstakes that will be giving away prizes such as a Zune or and HDTV. A brand new car is even being given away in a sweepstakes for this Father’s Day weekend alone, so even if you can’t win those 10,000 MS points, you still may walk away with a car, and that is definitely nothing to scoff at.

Ever since the idea for a live game show was presented, I was always intrigued by the idea. The Internet has always been a huge change in how people play video games, and this seems like another big step in the right direction as to what can actually be achieved by use of the Internet. Even though it is in beta, I have hardly noticed any major issues with the game. I have been disconnected a few times and after a few weeks, I think I have started to notice just a few questions being repeated but I am willing to let those slide since the game is in beta. The range of questions is huge, which is important for anything trivia related, and it is virtually impossible for people to cheat, seeing as how you only have a few seconds to answer a question, definitely not enough time for even the fastest typer in the world to use Google. Overall, it is a very entertaining experience and something every Xbox Live Gold subscriber should check out. What’s the worst that can happen? You winning an HDTV?

Written by Matthew Cales