Reviewed: September 21, 2004
Released: Augsut 31, 2004
Trivia games haven’t fared all that well on consoles in the past. Over the years, developers have tried to capture the allure of the top rated game shows – Jeopardy, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, Weakest Link, even Family Feud – but failed miserably due to poor production quality, clumsy interfaces and limited libraries of questions. One of the worst offenders I can personally remember was a version of Jeopardy for the original Playstation, which not only had you typing in answers using the Playstation controller, but also featured often-repeating categories and questions, and horrendous load times as you waited for something as insignificant as say, Alex’s mug to appear on the screen and congratulate you because for once the game actually recognized your answer.
Still, in a sea of duds, there was one console trivia game worth keeping - Berkeley Systems’ You Don’t Know Jack. Arguably the best console trivia game ever released, Jack hit the shelves in 1999 and successfully combined a large library of questions, an easy-to-grasp control scheme, full multiplayer support and best of all – a great sense of humor. Jack took the structure of the very popular Trivia Networks that are featured in many college town bars, slapped on a narrator and put it all in your living room. Jack was (and still is) a blast, especially at parties – I still have fond memories of the Y2K New Years eve, when I and a group of ten-or-so friends played Jack all afternoon buying time before the big bar tour. Still, although the PC versions of Jack were wildly popular – even branching off into a television game show of its own – Jack didn’t make much of an impact on the console market, and save for one follow-up Playstation title, we haven’t seen the likes of it again on the big screen.
So jump a few years into the future – a bunch of fellas are sitting around a table somewhere brainstorming ideas for the perfect party game:
First, we need a genre –What about trivia…everyone likes trivia.
And with that, we get the next entry in the trivia game genre, Topheavy (giggle, giggle) Studios The Guy Game. Equal parts MTV Beach Party, The Man Show and Girls Gone Wild all wrapped around a game strangely akin to You Don’t Know Jack. Add in a dash of Crash Bash and Skee Ball into the mix, and you’ve got a console game that is unlike any other.
Shot live on location on South Padre Island during Spring Break, The Guy Game features:
That’s where The Guy Game cashes in on the Girls Gone Wild phenomenon. You see, while paid strippers definitely appeal to men’s nether regions, they are paid for their work and know how to work for their pay – so the whole scenario comes off as a silly act. What The Guy Game and Girls Gone Wild do right (financially, that is – I’ll get into the morality issues later) is tap into man’s voyeuristic tendencies – letting them feel like they are getting the one-time-only chance to see the never-looked-upon breasts of a young woman. A woman who more than likely wouldn’t want these guys to see her pristine breasts under normal circumstances…and even if she did…she doesn’t get paid for it.
It all sounds a little dirty when it’s put like that, doesn’t it? And that’s where I have some reservations about this title – because as much as like the female figure, naked or not, and even though I achieve the very same voyeuristic excitement from the scenario as any other red-blooded fella does, and even though it’s quite apparent that these girls weren’t coerced into this under false pretenses and that it was all in good fun – I still can’t get it out of my head that I’m taking part in something that is inherently wrong by playing and supporting this game.
Maybe it’s because I have a daughter of my own now, and I wouldn’t want to pop this game in and see her on it someday. Maybe it’s because I have a strong, beautiful wife who has shown me that women can be sexy and intelligent. I don’t know what it is, but playing a game where I find myself hoping the next girl would be just as dumb as the previous one, simply so I could scope out her breasts, left me feeling dirty. And not particularly a “good” dirty.
Still, I agreed to give The Guy Game a fair shake, and that I will do.
The Guy Game does a great job of playing itself off as a real-deal MTV styled game show. Host Matt Sadler guides players through twenty episodes of Q&A with plenty of T&A. Each episode has four rounds – which will be explained below – for you to build points. Geared either for the single player (fairly enjoyable) or the multiplayer (a guaranteed riot) situations, the gameplay is simple enough for a party, but complex enough to reward those who stay on their toes. However, since The Guy Game is so obviously intended for Friday night dorm room sausage parties, even including its own variants on popular drinking games – staying on your toes after an hour or so isn’t as easy as it initially seems.
If you’ve ever played the NTN Trivia at your local bar, you already know how the Q&A works. A question is asked at a set point value and released with a set of multiple-choice answers. A timer kicks on and you have to make your choice. As the timer counts down, the possible score decreases. As each person makes their choice, the point level at that moment is applied to their choice. What this means is that two people can record the same answer to a question, and they will both gain points, however, the person who answers quicker will get (or lose) more points when all is said and done. To make it a bit easier for all, as the timer ticks off, “wrong” answers are removed from the list until only two are left, meaning a last-ditch coin flip just might save your ass.
Oh did I say something about ass saving (nice segue, eh?), because during each episode, you are provided a single Ass Saver to use at your discretion. An Ass Saver is a special “move” you can make to either double up your bets (when you know you are right), double up the opponents (when you know they will miss is) or give you a guaranteed full points even for a miss. You only have one of each, so you need to use them wisely, and this adds to some interesting situations.
Each episode is broken down into four rounds, each having a unique twist – but all with the same goal. Boobs.
The first round is called Foreplay, which consists of 12 questions posed. At first, it’s your job to answer the questions correctly. Then, you have to decide whether the chosen “hottie” will answer the same question correctly or not. Now here’s the twist – if the girl answers the question wrong, she has to flash the crowd. For each time you chose correctly how the girl will answer (correct or wrong), your Flash-O-Meter will fill a little more. As the Flash-O-Meter fills, the girls’ initially-censored flashes become less and less nebulous – starting with The Guy Game censor bars, progressing through pixilated “these boobs have been hidden to protect their identity” blurring, and onto a full frontal no-holds-barred (or bared) bust.
The second round is called Ballz, which basically takes a couple of Crash Bash-esque mini games called BallzIn and BallzOut, tosses in a variant of Skee-Ball, which all serves as a nice change of pace and are really some of the high points in the game.
The third round is called Titwitz. Yes, embarrassingly enough, I did say Titwitz. Again, you are posed the question and answer for points. The twist here is that you already know the girls will get the answer wrong, but you need to guess which wrong answer they will choose. Again, if you chose their wrong answer correctly, you will increase your Flash-O-Meter. Given the fact that you know these ladies will be answering wrong – you might want to get that meter filled up quickly.
The fourth and final round is called the Hottie Challenge, which is like having Final Jeopardy at the races, that is if the races were held in a topless bar. You see, a group of girls are challenged to compete in a few well thought-out physical challenges – hippity hops, sack racing, jump rope – and are strongly encouraged to do so without the use of their tops. You make a choice of who you think will win, and back up your decision by betting your points. Obviously, the plan is to either gain, or retain, the lead at the outcome of the competition. Now, I’m married, and having heard first hand about the pain that gravity can cause on women’s unrestrained wares, it’s a wonder these girls agreed to this stuff…but they did, and as interesting as the whole affair was, I couldn’t keep from wincing with every flop.
Now single player is fairly entertaining – but multiplayer is where it’s at with The Guy Game. Not only does the multiplayer feature the single player’s boobiness in all it’s glory, but also has an omnipresent game of President and Asshole running in the background. With built-in drinking game rules, pranking and the like – The Guy Game is sure to warm more than a few frat house PS2’s.
Each episode has a pre-recorded set of questions, and you must complete four episodes to progress to open the next four episodes. Each episode runs the same questions in the same order, but an included second set of trivia questions can be used to further add to the game.
Really, the interface couldn’t be much easier – and even though the game may sound a bit confusing on paper, it’s basically a glorified drinking game, so it’s not that hard to pick up. The questions aren’t all that difficult, but there are just enough toughies included to justify the game as a form of study, right?
FMV movies of topless co-eds. ‘Nuff said! No, really, the game features clean menus with FMV movie boxes. Sure, it’s not like watching a DVD, but given the content – well, you probably won’t be thinking much about the quality of the picture. The game screens aren’t too cluttered, and are very easy to follow. The handful of gameplay animations have their moments, but again – it’s not like we’re grading your standard video game here.
The game sounds like a mix between a Sunday afternoon football game, a game show and, well, a wet T-shirt contest – but not the most interesting. Host Matt Sadler is the definite high point of the game, but that’s not saying much, since announcers Steve and Dick’s annoying play by play will soon grate on your nerves. Still there’s not a lot to be said about the sound. Everybody sounds professional enough – just not all that funny after a few games.
The Guy Game is a bit pricey for what you get. Compared to most blockbuster title, the production value here screams of budget title, so why is it full price? I mean, forty bucks is a lot to ask for just 1000 trivia questions and a bushel basket full of boobies. And even though the multiplayer might hold over a houseful of guys for a weekend, it’s only a matter of time before someone knows all the questions by heart. Still, there is at least one weekend’s worth of fun on the disc, so a rental wouldn’t be out of the question.
So, the game is kinda fun, but I still have this little moral dilemma. Does this game represent good behavior, and should I be supporting it?
I mean, I know that it’s totally natural for heterosexual men to enjoy seeing topless women. For that matter, most of the gay guys I’ve known even got giggly over seeing boobs. Men have an intrinsic attraction to the female bosom. Period.
But a game like this, whose overtones are that “we are punishing women for being ignorant by making them show us their breasts – and in exchange, we win money because we were smart enough to know they would be wrong” just doesn’t sit right with me. And my fear isn’t the guys who take this as a light hearted peek, it’s the guys who think this behavior should be the norm – and it shouldn’t. And I know, these girls weren’t forced into this – but they obviously aren’t the brightest bulbs in the box either, and they don’t think about the repercussions that this behavior has on how women are regarded as a whole.
Other than that, quality wise, it’s a pretty good game, with a great gimmick – the whole rebirth of the FMV thing, finally being used in an entertaining manner, is great. It could have used a bit more polish, and maybe a couple more sets of trivia.
Just remember that a game like this is really offensive to girlfriends, wives, sister and mothers, and while your Dad might want to elbow up next to you at the controller, I really wouldn’t recommend it – because, well, that’s kinda creepy and all.