A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Scene It? Box Office Smash! is the second in a series of video games based on the popular DVD party game Scene It?, and that it features dozens of clips from popular films. While the game's makers have taken care not to include any overtly offensive movies scenes, some of the clips still contain discussions about sex, while others feature fighting, blood, and mild profanity. Players can go solo, but Box Office Smash! is designed to be experienced and enjoyed as a social multiplayer game, both locally and online.
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What's it about?
The second video game version of Screen Life's popular movie trivia game Scene It? is, not surprisingly, very similar to the first game. Up to four players test their movie trivia knowledge over several themed rounds composed of five questions each. Some rounds have players watching a clip from a well-known movie, then answering questions based on what was shown in the scene, while others are more abstract, such as a round in which players have to identify the names of movies based on drawings that depict not the content of the film but rather the words that compose its title.
Exclusive to the Xbox 360, SCENE IT? BOX OFFICE SMASH! requires Microsoft's Big Button wireless controllers; small and simple eight-button devices that should prove intuitive for rookie gamers. If you have the original game, you can use the controllers that came with it and buy the sequel software on its own for $40. Otherwise, you'll have to purchase the Box Office Smash! bundle, which comes with four Big Button controllers and costs $60.
Is it any good?
While Box Office Smash! feels akin to its predecessor, it features several subtle changes that enrich the game experience. For starters, the goofy preamble that preceded most rounds (and significantly slowed down play) has been drastically abbreviated. We're still treated to the odd quip, but it's short and sweet and doesn't feel like its coming at the expense of the game's pace. What's more, there are now more than 20 kinds of game types, including several new challenges such as Crossword, in which movie titles must be guessed based on gradually revealed clue words that highlight individual letters in a movie's name, and Pixel Flix, a puzzle that sees famous movie scenes recreated in old-school 8-bit video game graphics.
The most significant addition is an online multiplayer mode that lets us instantly hook up with other Box Office Smash! players over Xbox Live. It's a great way to satisfy a Scene It? fix when none of your friends are available to play. Plus, it makes use of the Xbox 360's new customizable avatars, which means your onscreen character in the game will be the one you created and attached to your Xbox gamer profile.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether the game favors people with a particular taste in movies. Does the game's emphasis on films spanning the last few decades give adults an advantage over teens? Does the lack of many classic and black and white movies place your grandparents at a disadvantage? Do you think that people who tend to watch movies in specific genres, such as romance, comedy, action, and science-fiction, will be able to compete equally with players who have broader tastes?
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