Bother’s Bar Plays Badly: It’s Quiz Time

By | December 2, 2017

Last night we took a look at It’s Quiz Time, the new quiz from Snap Finger Click made up of some of the developers from Buzz on the Playstation. Buzz was great fun, does this stack up?

The video is a intended to recreate the experience of people sitting in a room whilst actually being on the Internet, so it’s 5FPS over Google Hangouts so lag isn’t an issue. The game features proper streaming options which I haven’t explored.

There’s about five minutes of set-up here, about an hour of gameplay followed by about ten minutes of discussion. I’m joined by TV’s David Bodycombe (a bit late), TV’s Michael Harmstone, Alex Richards and Bother’s Bar stream debutantes Dave Tipping and live from New York Mathew Palmieri.

Here are the key takeaways, I think:

  • There is a lot of faff in setting up, everyone needs to download the app, then it asks for a name, then Salli the host asks everyone individually if she’s pronouncing your name correctly, then it wants to know how you would prefer to be referred to, then it wants a selfie or avatar selection and then it wants your year of birth and then it’s time to go home. It’s a bit onerous. Now I get that it’s not something you would need to do on subsequent playings, but the nature of party games like is that many tend to get played once with the same people, it’s quite possible you’ll lose everyone’s interest before you start playing.
  • I get why they’ve done it, it knows who you are and remembers you. Hopefully this means it remembers the questions you’ve faced and won’t give them to you again.
  • This can’t be escaped: the questions are pretty lousy. They’re certainly factual, but they’re really not interesting – real pub quiz machine stuff. It feels a bit like the AI nature of the host gives the questions an AI nature also, like they’ve just downloaded a load of data off of Wikipedia you can make comparisons with and hoped for the best.
  • The rounds vary, none especially original, many that go on a bit too long. It felt a shame that in round two having picked science as a category we got five entire boards on astronomy. We had no idea how the scoring on Best Friends Forever is worked out. It’s telling that the round we had most fun with, Describe Me, was probably the least quiz like (it’s Talkabout/Slimste Mens).
  • It’s annoying that the answers don’t show on your phone, just the letter buttons. Jackbox can do this and that’s on a website, come on. One of the best things about the Buzz buzzers was their tactility, I could position my finger and quickly feel my way to the correct response, this is much more difficult on a touch screen, I constantly have to shift my eyes from one to the other.
  • Also having to hold the phone horizontally is quite difficult for the length of time the game demands.
  • Basically the game doesn’t have the creativity and sense of fun that Buzz had, nor does it have its well crafted questions. The AI idea is not enough to sell on its own, and whilst it boasts almost 30,000 questions (with more to come) you won’t derive a huge amount of entertainment from them.

On the basis of one playthrough I find it difficult to recommend, but it’s early days and might get better. It’s £15.99 on Steam and also out on PS4 and XBox One.

7 thoughts on “Bother’s Bar Plays Badly: It’s Quiz Time

  1. Brig Bother Post author

    Just had a quick go of Solo mode – it’s the Big finish round as a 30 question quiz, pick a specialist subject to score bonuses on.

    On my first go I’m 9th best player in the world.

    Reply
  2. Alex S

    Interesting to see, looks like a lot of effort has gone into the back end, with smartphone integration and all that, although it’s let down a bit by the actual creative content. Have you got any plans to try out the ‘live show’ mode they’re touting, with support for supposedly up to 10,000 remote players watching the stream?

    One thing I did notice on the final round is that your score is based on your reaction time, both if you get it right and if you get it wrong, so if you don’t know the answer and you time out, you don’t lose any points because the score for that question has reached zero. You’d have to see how it worked in practice but it puts a bit of a negative incentive towards answering the questions if you’re well in the lead and you’re not 100% certain of an answer.

    Reply
    1. Brig Bother Post author

      You Don’t Know Jack works the same way these days, although of course there are added wrinkles to that to make it a bit more interesting.

      Live Show: maybe. I hope it won’t just me talking into a camera whilst everybody gets a minute to answer a question.

      Reply
  3. Mathew Palmieri

    look what i found on the developers discord….
    “It’s cool to see how good the system is at generating the quiz questions. A big problem with Buzz (and a lot of other quiz games, and TV), is that they’re always handwritten – which also means that you’re almost always stuck with the bias and knowledge from the question writer itself. We don’t have that problem with It’s Quiz Time, since our system that creates our quiz questions works in a completely different way. It’s one way that machines have an advantage :stuck_out_tongue:
    Much better than quiz question writers that try to sneak in lots of questions about their favourite Britpop bands, or things like that :stuck_out_tongue:.”

    That….Explains ALOT about who wrote the questions…..
    its the game itself…. my god. Who thought THAT was a good idea?

    Reply
  4. Mathew Palmieri

    HOLY CRAP THEY RESPONDED TO ME ON DISCORD!
    “We saw the video review and we’ve taken on board your comments. I’ll try and give you a bit of background on the game and explain some of the decisions we made 🙂

    The set-up can take some time, especially if there’s a lot of players. However, we see the set-up as part of the game itself. The original EyeToy used to take about 20 minutes to set-up. It can be a faff for some, but others find it cool to listen to Salli say out their name, pose for a selfie, etc. The alternative was to skip out some of the features, or bury them in the settings. But we really wanted to build up the personal aspect of the game and we found in our user testing that people enjoyed it. The app download for sure can be a bit of a barrier, and we’re looking into a web version. Hopefully that’s something we can add as an update.

    In terms of the round length, playing the main ‘Play With Friends’ mode should tailor the game to be about half an hour on average if playing locally. The game picks a selection of rounds that best suit the number of players. In the review, you guys played almost every round in a custom game, so it will go on way longer that way. We got a lot of feedback on Buzz! from our players that they didn’t like it when we cut certain rounds out because they had more than 4 players, so we didn’t want to restrict this. We expect most people would only try out Custom Game once they’d played the main mode a few times. The scoring on Best Friends Forever works by you getting points if you guess the right answer, and the person who chose the order of the answers will only get points if their best friend correctly guesses. (The best friend doesn’t get any extra points for being the best friend, unfortunately :P)
    There’s no technical reason why we don’t show the questions and answers on the devices. We’ve done a lot of user testing with the game and we found it made players too engrossed in their phone when playing, and they would rarely look at the game and – more importantly – at each other. The game is primarily designed to be a social experience, so we tried to keep the phone as much as ‘just’ the controller as possible. That said, we might make it an option that players can turn on if they wish, if we get enough interest in it as a feature.

    As for the questions, yes, we build most of them from a database of facts. This has the advantage that we can create a huge number of them – which gives great replay value, especially for streamers – and we are able to localise for all over the world without question writer bias. Being based on pure facts makes them quite ‘straight’ of course, they are based on hard facts after all. But on the other hand, a common criticism from Buzz! is that the questions were too easy, the answers were often puns or they rhymed, and they weren’t well-localised for outside the UK. We strongly believe in our question system. We’re adding more variety to it all the time and it continues to improve every day, especially with the feedback from our players. We’re also experimenting with a ton of things that we haven’t released to the public yet. It’s a system which keeps evolving and improving.

    We’re sorry to hear It’s Quiz Time wasn’t your cup of tea, and we do appreciate and are listening to everyone’s feedback. If you’re still curious about the game, feel free to drop by to one of our streams at twitch.tv/snapfingerclick. We stream every Thursday and Friday from 6pm-10pm. We play the Live Show and the regular game with our community.”

    Reply

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