E3 '07: Scene It? Lights, Camera, Action Hands-On

We put our knowledge of movies to the test in Microsoft's recently announced trivia game.

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Unveiled at Microsoft's pre-E3 press conference, Scene It? Lights, Camera, Action for the Xbox 360 is a trivia game in which up to four players will test their movie knowledge against each other in about 22 different challenges. Only five of the challenges were playable at E3, and having spent some time with all of them, we can confirm that they're more challenging than those big-buttoned controllers shipping with the game might lead you to believe.

Incidentally, those controllers are wireless but require their own small receiver that you can place atop your TV. Each of the four controllers that will ship with the regular-priced game requires a couple of batteries and has a different-colored large button that determines which player you are: red, yellow, blue, or green. Those big buttons can also be used as D pads, although they weren't used in that way in any of the Scene It? games that we played. The four face buttons are used to answer multiple-choice questions, while the start, back, and guide buttons suggest that the controller might conceivably be versatile enough to navigate the dashboard or even to play other relatively simplistic games.

Click to enlarge!
Click to enlarge!

Anyhow, back to Scene It? Lights, Camera, Action. The challenges that we played included some that required us and others to use the large button to buzz in, which all four players had an opportunity to answer. In both cases, more points were awarded according to how quickly the question was answered, so the odds of any two players ever ending up with the same scores are very slim.

The challenges that we played were quite varied in terms of both content and difficulty. For example, finishing famous movie quotes wasn't too hard, but identifying the names of movies or actors using a series of images that kind of spell them out phonetically was a lot harder for the most part. Answering questions on a two-minute clip of a movie was as much a test of memory as it was of movie knowledge. The same could arguably be said of the challenge where you're tasked with identifying which item has been removed from a single movie frame--without you first getting to see the complete picture. Perhaps the strangest game of the five on show was the one that re-created famous scenes from movies piece by piece in the style of a colorful illustration. Among those that we were asked to recognize were Psycho, North by Northwest, and This is Spinal Tap. All of the illustrations looked quite amusing in the challenge's art style but did little to convince us that Scene It? Lights, Camera, Action will be quite as child-friendly as Microsoft claims.

Currently scheduled for release toward the end of this year, Scene It? Lights, Camera, Action will feature more than1,800 all-new questions. It also seems reasonable to assume that additional question packs and the like will be released on Xbox Live eventually. We look forward to bringing you more information as soon as it becomes available.

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