*UPDATE: Now included is a video from the beta, it’s at the end of the article.
Last night I got a chance to participate in the Canadian 1 vs. 100 beta. I had been anticipating this game for some time now. It seemed different from most of what Microsoft had to offer for the 360 and the whole social aspect of it really drew me to it. I was really excited to see how it would all work out. After playing for about an hour and a half last night I finally was able to experience 1 vs. 100. Was it the ultimate social experience that gamers had hoped for? Or is it just another failed attempt to draw the causal gamer to the 360? Read on to find out.
Note: I am assuming everyone knows how to play 1 vs. 100, I will not explain all the rules in this write up as they can be found on numerous sites around the internet.
I will explain how to set it up though. On the 360 dashboard you go to the Primetime channel. You will see the next few scheduled session of 1 vs. 100 that are going to take place. One thing to note about 1 vs. 100 is that it is live. So there are scheduled times that it starts and ends at. You can play it on your own time but the experience won’t be as good. You have to play this game live when it is actually taking place, with the real hosts and a real audience and real players.
So you select the day and time that you want to play 1 vs. 100. Yesterday being Friday, I selected the Friday show; it started at 10:00pm EST so I set a reminder on my XBOX and downloaded the show. When it became closer to 10:00 I went back to the Primetime channel and went over to the Friday show of 1 vs. 100, it now had a Play Now option. I clicked Play Now and was entered into the game. After the necessary loading screens it put me in a lobby. The lobby was essentially a lobby of a theater with a bunch of avatars standing around, including yours. Unfortunately you couldn’t walk up to other Avatars and chat. Your avatar just stayed still and chilled in this theater lobby. From the lobby you could view your stats, and view the stats of the current game in progress. For example you could see how many Mob members were left, how much time was left, who had the most questions right etc. From the lobby you could also choose to join the game and it would put you in when the next round started. Until then all you could do was look at the stats and wait.
The rounds are pretty quick so within no time my avatar was transferred from the lobby into the theater. If anyone is familiar with the show 1 vs. 100 it looks the exact same, you got your 1, your section for the Mob and the crowd section. Now here is where it gets interesting. In 1 vs. 100 you can be one of three people. You can be the 1, you can be in the Mob or in the crowd. Now since it is a live show that means only one show of 1 vs. 100 is going on. It’s not like everyone gets their own private game. If John Doe is the 1 for that round than whether 1 million people are playing or 10 million people are playing they will all see John Doe as the 1. So now your asking well if only one person can be the 1 and only 100 people can be the Mob than what do the other million of people do, and that’s where the crowd comes in. Last night when I was playing, the maximum number of people participating never hit more than 11,000 at once (at least from what I saw) which was quite surprising, I was expecting millions of people playing simultaneously. Anyways if your not one of the people selected to be in the Mob or the 1, than your stuck in the crowd. The Mob and the 1 are chosen based on a few things. They are chosen from the crowd and they are chosen based on number of questions right, number of times you’ve played, how fast you answered the questions, your score etc. So if in the current round you’re in the crowd than your goal is to beat out the thousands of other people in the crowd so you can get chosen for the Mob or the 1.
Now if you are in the crowd you still get to watch the show, still get to answer questions, still get points etc. In fact the top three scores from the crowd win prizes. It is much better to be in the mob or the 1 though because your chances of winning prizes are way better.
For some reason I was stuck in the crowd all night. I did extremely well, I got a ton of points, answered most questions right and answered them all quickly but for some reason I was never chosen to be in the Mob. This was very frustrating and one of the biggest flaws in the game for me. It is so hard to be chosen to be in the Mob or the 1 and most of the time you spend playing will be in the crowd. Although you can still participate in the crowd it’s just not the same. The game is called 1 vs. 100 and I want to be either in the 1 or the 100, I want to be part of the game.
In the crowd it always seemed that no matter how well I did some people just always did better. Even when I got every question right and answered them all quickly it still wasn’t good enough. Sure you could win prizes in the crowd but you have to be top 3 which is no easy feat. So I was frustrated about never being in the Mob or the 1 but I kept on playing. They say the more questions you answer and the better your scores are the better chance you have of being in the Mob but that wasn’t so for me. Anyways I can only relay the experience of being in the crowd since that is what I was stuck in for the whole night.
As a crowd member it is like being a crowd member at the real show. You get to watch the 1 compete against the 100 which is fun I guess, it’s especially fun when you know the 1. The mob members don’t have their names featured anywhere but the 1’s gamertag is displayed on a big screen for the whole game and you can see their avatar. So if you know the person it’s kind of neat. By the way everything in this game is avatar based. Your avatars are used for your character the whole game whether your in the crowd, Mob or the 1.
So in the crowd since there are thousands of people you obviously don’t hear everyone. You hear the host of the show (which is a live host by the way) and you hear the people beside you in the crowd. Usually it is the two or three people sitting beside you that you will hear. I was lucky and was sitting beside the same two people for the whole night in the crowd so the three of us got to become pretty good friends and talked a lot. I did not try to go in with a XBOX Live party but I assume if you did you would be seated with your Party, I don’t know for sure though. So in the crowd you see the scores of your group (the two or three people beside you) and you essentially compete against them. At anytime in the game you can bring up a little stats menu in the corner that show your stats, the stats of the crowd and the stats of how the 1 is doing. It’s very easy to access these stats as it doesn’t stop the game, it is just a little sidebar that pops out. From here you can see the top crowd players and compare yourself to them.
Since you’re competing against other crowd members for a chance to be in the Mob or the 1 this is very handy. You are able to tell if you will have a good chance of being chosen for the next round to be in the Mob or the 1. At the end of each round the top 3 crowd members get featured on one of the screens. Their gamertag, avatar and score is shown. It’s always fun to see someone you know on that screen also. One of my friends who I didn’t even know was playing 1 vs. 100 was shown as the #2 player in the crowd for a particular round which was kind of neat. Always nice seeing someone you know up there. With so many people playing it’s cool to see someone you know, especially when you didn’t even know they were playing. That’s the thing; you really don’t know who is in the crowd since there are thousands of people. You see the people beside you and see the leading scorers on the stats boards but that’s it.
Anyways that’s really about all there is to say for the crowd. As a crowd member that is what I did. I sat there chatting with these two guys as we answered question after question in hope that next round we would be chosen, although none of us ever were. It is fun watching the 1 vs. the 100 especially if one of your friends is part of it but even if there not it’s a fun show to watch on TV so it’s just as fun to watch here, especially because your are in a way participating from the crowd. I found myself playing pretty competitively trying to climb the stats boards to make it to the Mob or the 1. I watched the stats closely all night. You get bonuses for answering quickly, correctly, getting streaks etc. Like I said before, I did extremely well but was never chosen. Most of the questions are very very easy and they are hard to get wrong. It’s always fun to see a super easy question and than see like 15 Mob members get it wrong, I just don’t know how some Canadians don’t know which company makes the Timbit. 18 people in the Mob got that one wrong.
Overall despite being stuck in the crowd all night I did have fun. The people beside me who were within voice chat range of me were cool so I enjoyed talking with them and being a bit competitive I did try my hardest to make it to the Mob or the 1. Even if you are a casual player though I think you will enjoy this game. As the crowd you still do feel like you are participating and like I said I enjoy 1 vs. 100 when it is on TV so it’s even better getting to actually watch it and participate as a crowd member. Another thing is not only do the top 3 crowd members win prizes but the more questions you answer, the more entries you get for the sweepstakes they hold, so everyone has a chance to be a winner.
My only complaints are firstly the ads, which there were plenty of. Every so often there would be like a commercial break and you would be forced to watch commercials which got real annoying. My other complaint is being stuck in the crowd all night. I really wanted to be chosen and no matter how well I did it seemed as there were always 100 people better than me. One round I was 30 points back from being on the top 10 leaderboard for the crowd (30 points is nothing by the way) and still I didn’t get chosen in the 100 for the next round. Now some people say since it was a beta that the selection process was random and not based on how well you did. Who knows? Maybe it was maybe not.
Either way 1 vs. 100 is a great social experience. If you hop in with some friends and one of you gets chosen to be the Mob or the 1 it makes it 100 times better. Although, even if you are stuck in the crowd all night, as long as you got some good people beside you, it’s a nice way to chill out and watch a great game show. And who knows, maybe next round you’ll be chose to be the 1 or the 100.
Check out this video, courtesy of Giant Bomb. It is from the beta last night