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Freeze Frame
Haven't We 'Scene It' All Before?
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on July 18, 2007   |   Episode 68 (Show Archive)  

   

The Wii Fit pad is pretty cool, but will it appeal to the core group of gamers that are waiting for the next Zelda game?
If you're a self described "hardcore gamer" then chances are you were really disappointed by this year's E3. While a lot of major games were shown off for the first time, most of the big announcements centered on casual games that were meant to attract a broader audience. Long gone are the days where Nintendo would announce a new Zelda game and Sony would bring back some forgotten PS1 classic. Instead we sat through three conferences where the game companies tripped over themselves to appeal to women, grandparents and other non-gamers.

How else do you explain Shigeru Miyamoto's newest "game", Wii Fit, or the Xbox 360 party game, Viva Pinata: Party Animals? That's not to say that these will be bad, but they're a far cry from the hardcore titles that a lot of traditional gamers had been hoping to see announced. Even though some of these games looked like fun, there's one title that left most of the E3 goers scratching our heads. That game is Scene It?, the video game version of the hugely popular board game of the same name.

In case you've never been to a party or a store that sells board games, Scene It? is a cross between Monopoly and a video daily double on Jeopardy. Depending

The good news about Scene It? on the Xbox 360 is that there's a whole lot less set up involved with getting it to work properly!
on the category, the game will show you a brief clip from a movie, a quote from one of the actors, a film's one-sheet or some other clue where you're supposed to ring in and answer the question. Given the multimedia nature of the original board game (which comes with a special DVD), Scene It? feels like a perfect fit for the Xbox 360 ... especially when you consider that the console is woefully out of touch with this type of market.

So what makes Scene It? so perplexing? Perhaps it has something to do

If only they could figure out a control for the Match Game video game!
with the custom Xbox 360 control that comes with every copy of this game. Scratch that, it's not a "control" that comes with the game, but rather "controls" ... plural. Each box features four game show-style controls that you can use to get the party started. Anybody familiar with how a traditional game show works will feel right at home when ringing in and answering questions in Scene It?, which is one of the reasons that this game promises to be a smash hit when it's released later on this year.

But despite the game's potential, there's just something about the controller that doesn't feel right. It's not the way it fits in my hand, the Scene It? control was a great fit in my average-sized hand. It's not the way the control looks, I'm not the biggest fan of the bright white, but other than that it looks just fine to me. It's not the fact that the control doesn't make "buzzer" sounds when you ring in, I can imagine that this kind of sound would get annoying after only one or two games. What could the problem be? Oh, I know ... it's the fact that Sony had a device that looked almost exactly like this control two years ago!


That's right, the Scene It? control is a rip-off. If you're wondering why Microsoft's newest control looks so familiar, then chances are it's because you've already seen Sony's game show-like control pad, which comes with copies of Buzz!, the popular PlayStation 2 quiz game only

Considering the popularity of game shows and reality TV it's hard to believe that Sony waited this long before bringing the Buzz! series to the United States!
released in Europe (and New Zealand). While there are one or two differences in the two designs (one is black the other is white), these two controls share more than a passing similarity to one another.

While it's hard to tell from the pictures, both controllers are specifically designed to be as comfortable as possible. They also have large colored buttons at the top that you're supposed to hit to ring in. Moving down the two devices you have the four "answer" buttons in exactly the same position. At the bottom you have the Xbox and Sony symbols (which in the case of the Xbox 360 actually works as a guide button). And let's not forget that the four colors used on the 2005 Buzz! control (green, red, blue and yellow) are the exact same colors used on the Scene It? control. These controls are the same. They look the same, they control the same, and they play the same kind of game. I'm more surprised that Sony didn't announce a lawsuit at their E3 press conference than I am about Microsoft announcing this as one of their big 2007 games.


If this video game game show trend does not bring us a rebith of You Don't Know Jack then somebody is going to feel my wrath!
Of course, one could probably argue that most American gamers won't even notice that Microsoft's Scene It? controller looks exactly the same as the Buzz! control. And that's true, most American gamers have never seen (or even heard of) the Buzz! series (which currently has six installments in Europe, with more to come in the next few months). But all that is about to change, as Sony has finally decided to experiment with bringing Buzz! and its controls over to the U.S. And guess what, the package comes with all four controls ... just like Scene It? for the Xbox 360!

I can already hear the Microsoft fanboys yelling and screaming that Sony is ripping them off, completely ignoring that Buzz! has been around for more than two years. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised to see Nintendo fans complaining that Scene It? requires a Wii-like sensor to make it work. Either way, this is an exciting turn of events for those gamers who have been waiting for more interactive game shows. With two controllers coming out this year that do exactly the same thing, it makes me wonder if You Don't Know Jack's rebirth can be far off. If there's any justice in the world we'll see Jellyvision bring us the long awaited next generation version of Jack ... complete with brand new control.
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