Have you heard? Did you see? Were you there? 1 vs 100 now offers prizes!! Oh em gee, stop the presses! Or, you know, whatever the Internet uses. Stop the tubes?
Anyway. This weekend when I logged on to my XBOX Live! dashboard, I noticed that 1 vs 100 had a nice little note up that said you could actually win prizes today, and I was very excited. I'd stopped playing it after the first few weeks because I didn't care about just racking up points like everyone else. I figured I'd wait until I had a good reason to play, and that was for a prize! I quickly logged into the game and joined the crowd, and soon I found myself as an actual player in the 100! How exciting, right?!
Well, to cut a long story short, I didn't get my prizes. The prize that I would have won is about 160 Microsoft points and the game Puzzle Quest, and that would have been super to have and all, but since 1 vs 100 is still in Beta and is still buggy, guess what happened? XBOX Live! frakked up, and all of a sudden I got booted out of the game to the dashboard. Not just to the lobby, I was sent all the way back to my Sam and Max themed dashboard! I couldn't even log back in, either, because for some reason all but three channels had disappeared! I had my Welcome channel, my personal channel, and my Friends channel, but the rest was gone! I had to reboot my XBOX to get back into the game, and by that time I was eternally crowded, and that was really unfortunate because in one round I managed to get all the questions right up to the last 20 people! I would have won so much! It was brilliant too because the last question that made everyone else in the crowd die was "What size are 45 rpm records?" 7 inches! Duh! Who on Earth has 10 inch records, people. Seriously.
I'll come out and say it flat: I think that 1 vs 100 is probably the coolest thing the XBOX team has done in a while. I don't care about Facebook and Twitter on the box, and I don't care about avatars and paying for clothes. Heck, those that have my gamertag know that my avatar looks nothing like me to the point of absurdity and impossibility. However, 1 vs 100 is the first thing that XBOX has done where I feel they've created a true and unique experience that isn't offered by any other system and won't be offered by any other system. The Prime Time Channel idea is absolute GOLD for them! I want to see more games like this because it's easy to casual game it as well as bring in people who aren't big gamers. Nate, Kara, and I - we could potentially sit at our consoles for days if the game is right. But our significant others? No way. They'll play games every now and then, but if they never played a game it probably wouldn't bug them. When you get something like 1 vs 100, though, I've seen that it makes them more interested in playing.
This is something I'd like to somewhat call the Wii Technique. The Wii obviously didn't create this, but it's their biggest selling point - you don't have to be a gamer to enjoy or even want the Wii. Whenever I end up being suckered into using this machine, it's always in a "party" atmosphere (like last time I played on the 4th of July). When you're in a large group doing something simple, it's easy to get everyone involved. 1 vs 100 is a basic concept everyone can get behind - trivia. You're all playing to see who can answer the most questions right, and you get to laugh and joke while you're playing because you don't need to spend every waking moment staring at the screen worried that some n00b is going to frag you. The same works for another popular XBOX game in my friends group: Scene It! We just play it - if you win, you win, and if you lose, everyone gets to make fun of you! ("You thought that quote was from Shrek?! It's CLEARLY from Training Day!") The Wii capitalizes on this but is ridiculed by people like me for lack of any other form of substance. If I want to pay 2-300 dollars for something like that, I might as well just buy a butt-ton of paint thinner and start sniffing glue! (Too much?) But now, on XBOX Live!, we have a free game where there are actual benefits to playing, and most of all, it's insanely fun.
So kudos to you, XBOX. You may have robbed me of my Puzzle Quest (which I, admittedly, probably would have played once and then never though of again), but you have positively enriched me in so many other ways that it doesn't matter. Hopefully we'll get more games soon. I can't think of any game as involving as 1 vs 100 to the large market they have (when I was playing, there were over 30,000 other players) because most game shows involve 1-3 people playing at a time. Deal or No Deal (or as Michael Showalter calls it, Money or No Money)? Jeopardy? Wheel of Fortune? None of that works as well as 1 vs 100. Looks like it's time to invent a game, guys!
One last note - Marvel vs Capcom 2 comes out on XBOX Live! This Wednesday! As I said months ago when it was first announced, I was putting $20 away just for that. Did you think I was joking? Nope. Dead serious. In fact, I have a fresh crispy 20 dollar bill in my pocket right now, and I'm having it placed directly towards the purchase of Microsoft Points. So, if anyone wants to play with me, feel free to log in and find me Wednesday night. I'd be more than happy to go a few rounds with any n00b.