When my wife and I first met, there was a computer game that we played with our friends called “You Don’t Know Jack” (YDKJ) which has got to be one of the most fun games I have ever played. Ok, I admit it, I played it a lot more than she did. I spent hours in front of a computer with friends (mainly the guys), huddled over a keyboard, trying to answer trivia questions that were presented in creative yet humorous ways. I think I still have the CDs somewhere in my house and would love to bring those out again.
About 13 years later, I’m now presented with a new type of trivia game called “Buzz! Quiz World” for the Sony PlayStation, and when I first started playing it with my kids, I started thinking about YDKJ again (and that is a good thing). Incidentally, you can still play YDKJ online and it’s still a blast.
First, a little about my gaming background. I’m not a hard core gamer. I have spent many late night hours playing Quake, Halo, Need for Speed, and other driving and FPS (First Person Shooters) games but only periodically. I have a Wii (for the kids – yeah right!), a 1st generation Xbox and a N64 (and a PSP and a few DS Lites). When Sony (as part of the Sony DigiDads project) sent us a loaner PlayStation 3 with the promise of some new games to play with, I was definitely excited.
My wife isn’t super happy when I decide to “get my game on” (she is fine with me doing it but gets a bit concerned when I involve the kids or let the kids play on their own). I fully understand her concern (reluctantly) as I’m typically called the 4th child of the household. There have been a few weekend afternoons where my parenting responsibilities have completely evaporated and I have played Guitar Hero with my daughters for hours or (recently) let them go wild playing LittleBigPlanet. That episode (which I will write about later) ended with the game being banned for a while and the kids staying away from gaming for a few weeks.
Buzz! Quiz World
One of the things that I love about doing product reviews or testing out new gadgets or software, is that I get to use it as an “excuse” to try out new games or gear. With the “deadline” of writing about Buzz! Quiz World looming, I had to enlist the help of my wife. However, I did spend some time with my kids playing the game a few weeks ago, but based on that experience, I had to get an adult to play as well.
When I first played Buzz! Quiz World, I played with my 6 and 11 year old daughters. While I am a slightly competitive person, I did try to let my kids win a bit, but that was hard. The game is broken up into a series of rounds (you can choose whether you want a 15 or 45 minute game, if you want to play just the crazy rounds or if you want to play content that you have downloaded from the PlayStation Network). At the beginning of each game, you select your persona (name and character) that will travel with you through games. I was the super-hero looking guy, perfect for a supper-daddy (he’s the one on the right in the image below)!
The game supports between 1-8 players and is controlled a bit differently than most PlayStation games in that you don’t use the normal controller. To play Buzz! Quiz World, you need to have a Buzz Buzzer which is essentially a wireless controller that consists of a big red button and 4 colored buttons.
You plug a USB dongle into the PS3 to enable all of the controllers wirelessly.
So my first attempt to play the game was fun but it was a bit one-sided. When all of the trivia questions were done, we finished in order of age. While my kids really enjoyed the action of the game and its humor, many of the questions were beyond their understanding or they simply didn’t know anything about the category or the answers. Luckily, there are a few “point balancing” games within the full game that allowed me to shave off some of my points and give it to my kids to make the games a bit closer. I’m glad that the developers included these methods to get the games a bit closer. (It reminded me of the lightening rounds in You Don’t Know Jack – Jack Attack – where anyone who was behind could suddenly jump to the front and win.)
The kids had a good time but I really wanted to test it out against some other adults. Unfortunately, holiday vacations prevented me from trying other parents in the neighborhood (I will be trying during New Years), so I begged my wife to play a quick 15 minute game. It took a little bit of time for her to understand the controls when selecting a name and avatar (I must admit, I was a bit confused as well trying to remember). Eventually, she chose the old granny character and away we went. The game remembered me and my oldest daughter as “returnees” and that my wife was a newbie.
Gameplay was fun. I pulled ahead and my wife dropped into second with my daughter right behind at a respectable third. At one point, there was a game where you could take points from another player if you won the answer to a question, and my wife and I went back and forth taking points from each other. The great thing is, when you have that back and forth, the host starts making commentary about the competitive nature. It was actually quite funny.
In the end, the game ended well. My wife “won” and I came in second (after losing in the final round). We both had to help our daughter along so that she could place respectably. However, after discussing the game, we all agreed that there needs to be a version (e.g., Buzz! Quiz Junior) that is more designed for kids. Of course, there are probably some Quiz Packs (downloadable) that are more geared towards younger players. There are lots of Buzz! Quiz game in the family actually that cover a wide variety of topics.
Some quick criticisms, it is a bit difficult to set up characters if you don’t understand the usage of the buttons. Sometimes, the quizzes that start revealing the answer as seconds tick by and it was a bit difficult to figure out when to buzz in. The Short Fuse game, where you pass a lit bomb back and forth between characters, was a bit confusing as I was never quite sure when the bomb would explode. Personally, I didn’t like the quizzes that had the answers slowly reveal. I liked the ones that had the answers there from the beginning.
However, the game is actually pretty fun. I like the fact that you can create a personality for your character and that there are over 5000 answers that are possible. The categories that we played were fun (we only scraped the surface of the content I think). Also, the fact that you can write your own trivia questions and answers, something that I haven’t tried yet, or download other Quizzes from the PlayStation Network is great. The fact that this capability exists is nice because it extends the life of the game and makes it even more personal if you add your own family or personal questions.
I look forward to playing this game a bit more, possibly getting a more “kid friendly” version as well as trying with some other adults. It definitely brought back some good memories of other trivia games. If this is your first Buzz! Quiz game, you will need to get the controllers. Look for a package deal that includes them with them game. For example, the Buzz! Quiz World bundle on Amazon is currently about $55 or so.
This post is part of series called the Sony DigiDad Project by Sony Electronics where a group of dads, including C.C. Chapman, Jeffrey Sass, Max Kalehoff, Michael Sheehan, and Brad Powell, have been given the opportunity to test and review Sony gear (lent to us by Sony). If you want to know more about this project, view my SonyDads tagged posts here or visit the Sony Electronics Community.
HTD says: If you are looking for some good, older family (not kids) trivia fun in a video game, you should take a look at Buzz! Quiz World as it is a game for even the non-gamer out there.