1 vs 100

“…and the answer is x! Veal comes from a cow.” I’d thought it was deer. Cue a shameful look between my girlfriend on the couch and myself sprawled out on the bed and mass laughter between the Ready-Uppers on party chat. I sat up on the edge of the bed and dismissed the jibes for the error. This was now serious, reputations were on the line and frankly I had to look good in front of my girlfriend. ‘lo and behold one of the most enjoyable evenings of gaming I’ve had since this gaming generation began.navtop1vs100

I, like many others, was a bit baffled by what 1 vs 100 was when Microsoft announced it and what exactly they wanted from a MMO game show.  Microsoft’s previous attempts at moving the console from the more traditional gaming set-up to a casual feel have fallen flat on their face (you’re in the Movies was hardly a E3 winner) and this just baffled people. A game that didn’t fit around your schedule? A game where the vast majority of people would never win? It just seemed odd and in no way appealing, hell it’s hard enough playing Call of Duty with the vast majority of Xbox Live members never mind  spending two hours in a largely social setting.

It was with a mix of journalistic curiosity and trepidation I sat down for the gala live event to begin the 1 vs 100 beta UK version. Turnout was high from our community but you can only enter into the game as a group of 4, so despite several full parties we were all split up. The level of spit and polish is staggering, sweeping camera shots and a real showcase for how fantastic an addition the avatars are to Xbox Live. A wide variety of looks and sizes all trying out the “amping” feature (which gives new actions to the avatars) gave the event the feel of a gathering for the community rather than a game and was great fun in its own right. At one point synchronised dancing for my party brought tears of laughter all round and generally acting like a bit of an idiot when the camera was on you lessened the tension of your brains being on display to the nation. Being a beta the bugs were still very much there. A few disconnects across the Ready-Uppers present and the live host was pretty silent most of the time showed this was still very much a work in progress albeit a stylish and fully rounded work in progress it must be said.

This didn’t lessen the sheer joy of playing the game with friends however. Chatting about the questions, laughing when you make a fool of yourself and light competition between everyone made for an engaging and high energy night. Then something pretty unlikely happened given my veal catastrophe at the start. I was chosen to leave the crowd and enter the mob, the “100” which stood against the “1”.  Suddenly I felt distinctly separate from everyone else, my avatar left my lovely party and I was thrust under the question screen in full view of everyone. Glory awaited me, no prizes this week but I had to do well… for my city… for the website… for myself! Palms sweaty I sat as one of the 76 remaining after a few questions then the “1” disconnected. The mob were subsequently disbanded and I returned to my party with nothing to show for my moment in the limelight. Why disconnect when your avatar has taken centre stage? I guess even in this setting idiots on Live can make your evening just that bit less fun. A little pop up window informs me that prizes are only awarded to the mob when 40 of the mob have gotten questions wrong. Suddenly the actual odds of winning even a paltry 400 Microsoft points begins to hit me. About seventy five thousand people played that night, only 100 get the chance to be in the mob and only 1 each round becomes the one who has a chance of really top prizes (cars and the like)… I’d hazard a guess that most will never see a prize from 1 vs 100 and that might put a great deal of people off playing.


But the joy isn’t in the game itself, or the promised prizes or the chance of individual glory. Its true fun lies in the same realm as Wii Sports and Guitar Hero, namely getting people together in a place where everyone can play. In hindsight I don’t know why I didn’t see the potential of this because at its heart it’s purely a social event and if you have the right people then it will be great fun.  After all, Buzz and Scene It work on similar principles albeit in a local setting and those are fun so why not 1 vs 100? All it aims to do is replicate that social feel but across a broadband connection and going by that first night it manages that with ease. One issue I would raise is that playing by yourself means that you miss the whole thrust of 1 vs 100 yet Microsoft doesn’t really give you much in the way of help in finding groups of like minded gamers aside from the somewhat hostile official forums. Lucky there are places about like here that help you find decent grown-ups to play with because with them I can see this becoming a regular feature in my life. Bottle of wine, good company and a quiz… what a thoroughly civilised way to spend a Friday night.

Now if you will excuse me I’m off to frantically read Wikipedia ahead of the next live event. No more veal mishaps for me. See you all in the mob.







13 responses to “1 vs 100”

  1. Jake avatar

    Pan Euro is the hardest thing ever though… unless you’re good at obscure Finnish mountains!

  2. Kat avatar

    Skiing! What’s with all the feckin skiing questions! ^_^

    Great blog John.

    That friday night was fantastic fun. I really did cry with laughter ^_^ (and possibly put veal being from deer too – oops)

  3. Tony avatar

    That veal/venison confusion is pretty widespread – a lot of people got that one wrong.

    Fortunately my former part time job at a butchers saved me from any baby cow related humiliation.

    I made it to the 100 too, but only got one question right before the One disconnected. Damn.

  4. John.B avatar

    Just read that this Friday there are prizes available 😀

  5. The Rook avatar
    The Rook

    Prizes available and Silver members get to try it out. That’ll make the odds of getting in the mob or even being the one much harder.

    It’s a great idea and one that can take so much of your free time, as you play just one more round with friends.

    A few connection issues to be ironed out, and not just for the one. The party suffered some disconnects last night.

    Hopefully when they sort out all the bugs, they’ll find a way to increase the onscreen party. Even if they could manage it to 8 at a time. If they can make a mob of 100, surely a bigger party can be sorted out.

    Good fun game thou, and dancing avatars. 😀

  6. MrCuddleswick avatar

    That veal moment was classic. I got it right, but everyone sounded soooo confident……..

    Skiing? Cycling? Russian Tsars? Some of the questions on the Pan Euro mode are frustrating leaps of faith.

    Having said that, I got the question about who won Euro 2004 wrong so I guess I can’t moan too much!

    That Friday was so, so funny. I think I’ll remember that with a smile years from now, when we’re all working in the Pop Cap mines.

  7. Barry avatar

    Certain questions are most definitely common knowledge, but there are loads of really obscure questions that do require ‘guesstimates’

    The last Tsar (Nicholas II) falls into common knowledge for me, that was part of the Russian Revolution and everyone should know that.

  8. Kat avatar

    Yeah, obviously we all know about the Russian Revolution. Totally.

    Silver people are allowed in on Friday? Ewwww, can they at least keep them below decks or something ;D

  9. Barry avatar

    You should, it was in my GCSE, why wasnt it in yours? :p

    It basically was the start of Communism

  10. Kat avatar

    A-ha! I didn’t do that GCSE. I did the really brainy subjects like… business studies and… DT :/ So when a question comes up on making little boxes out of balsa wood I will so pwn you all ^_^

  11. Pete avatar

    Played 1 v 100 extended play with Kitt last night…. Top Dancing mate!!! Such fun.

    Xbox Gamertag: MisterStaples

  12. Lorna avatar

    Nice post! Sounds intruiging but I am a lazy sod who despises avatars, so I fear it will be only Monkey Island for my gaming this week 🙂 Besides, screaming at the contestants on various TV quizzes will make up for it 😀

  13. Ramsden avatar

    This presents a dilemma… on the one hand, an excellent, fun and long overdue outlet for my extensive knowledge of otherwise pointless trivia since I don’t seem able to get onto The Weakest Link or Who Wants to be a Millionaire. On the other, it would require me to evolve social skills.

    Ironic that the kind of person best equipped for one of those two key aspects of 1 vs. 100 is also the least equipped for the other. You can, in my experience, either choose a social life or to spend all your time reading in order to know about Russian aristocracy and gourmet meat products. If you are allowed to do both in life, I shall soon feel cheated and start to demand a refund… which in itself presents insuperable theological and philosophical obstacles due to my not believing in reincarnation. Perhaps I can attempt to pull off the “colossal nerd everyone calls the Prof. at the pub quiz night and ignores or scorns the rest of the time” gambit on there?

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