A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is a movie trivia game that shows stills and clips from a wide variety of films and that a healthy interest in movies on behalf of the player is assumed. Also be aware that included among the films referenced in the game are some that are unsuitable for younger audiences, such as Manhunter, The Fisher King, and Robocop. However, while some films mentioned in the game contain sex, violence, and illicit substance use, the clips shown are quite innocuous. Note, too, that while the game is available with and without Sony's Buzzer controllers, they are required in order to play, and that two sets are necessary in order for eight people to play at once.
What's it about?
BUZZ! THE HOLLYWOOD QUIZ is the second Buzz! quiz game to show up in North America (the series is well-established in Europe), and it focuses entirely -- as its name suggests -- on the world of films. Action takes the shape of a TV quiz show, with a cheeky British host guiding up to eight players through several rounds of questions. Each round has its own gimmick; for example, one round might see players organizing movies in chronological order while the next could provide the opportunity to steal points from the competition by answering questions more quickly than anyone else. There's also a single-player mode, in which a player answers as many questions as possible to build up time on a clock for the next round, during which points are awarded for correctly answering multiple questions in a row. Some 5,000 questions span four levels of difficulty, which, in theory, could allow for nearly 100 half-hour games before seeing any repeat queries.
Is it any good?
If you're a movie buff, this is the PlayStation 2 game for you. Aside from showing clips and stills from some of the last half-century's greatest movies, the game also serves up plenty of fun and obscure trivia into which film fans can sink their teeth. Did you know, for example, that as a youth Jim Carrey wore his tap dancing shoes to bed in case his parents were ever in need of some spontaneous, late-night cheering up? Or that Casino Royale holds the record for most flips of a single crashed car? (007's Aston Marton flipped seven times, in case you were wondering.) And it's all been put together in a deep, highly customizable package that offers a variety of single- and multi-player game types.
Of course, the risk in making a trivia game dedicated to a single subject is that anyone not interested in that subject will likely perform poorly in the game. And while The Hollywood Quiz does offer several levels of difficulty -- the easiest of which even people who aren't fans of film should do reasonably well at -- it doesn't really level the playing field, since any respectable movie buff will ace every one of the easier questions. Still, the game's name ought to tell potential players all they need to know about its content, so any non-film fans who still elect to play will have only themselves to blame if they have a bad time.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about pop culture and the role films play in shaping our society. What does it say about our culture that so many of us have seen the same films? Are movies simply a familiar and reassuring point of reference that we all share, or does our cultural zeal for film say something about who we are? Given how many people watch their films, does Hollywood have a civic responsibility to monitor and manage the kinds of messages their movies convey?
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