Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Family Feud (2006)

by Global Star Software
for the PC

Let’s get all of the niceties out of the way fast. Todd Newton (of E’s “Coming Attractions” and several game shows) does the voiceover for the host in this latest take on the now 30-year old TV classic. You can customize an entire family to face another, either in the form of a computer family, your friends, or in a first for “Feud,” a distant acquaintance online. The game just came out before John O’Hurley took over, so you’re stuck with the set and music from the waning years of Richard Karn. In something new for a game show port, you can unlock sets from “Feud” past and extra clothes for the family by completing certain tasks.

Which is all great, if the game played worth a crap. What follows contains game spoilers, in case you want to actually plunk money down on this thing. Here’s a mere sampling of some of the oddities I’ve encountered thus far.

On the question "name something that beeps to alarm you" typing "smoke detector" did not turn over the "smoke alarm" card. Alarm clock was number 2, "Alarm" by itself was number 5. Pager & Cell Phone counted as two separate answers.

Speaking of separate answers, I think the developers got the raw survey data and failed to do quality control on it. "Name a section of the newspaper kids don't read" featured business, finances and stocks as three different answers.

"Name a famous tennis player" had these answers verbatim on the tiles: "Agassi, Ashe, Venus, Sampras, Serena, Navitralova."

Playing "name a famous Dolly" I typed in "Parton" and the card turned over to say "Dolly Parton." I typed in "Dolly Madison" and "Madison" flipped over. I failed to uncover more than those two, because the remaining three answers were Barbie, Cabbage Patch Kids & Chuckie. Similarly on "name a popular swimming stroke" I said "breaststroke" and "breast" turned over. I said "back" and got a strike, only to find at the end of the round that "back stroke" was on the board.

"Name a game played at a kids party." Trying to appeal to the game's whacked sensibilities, and since the entire phrase "pin the tail on the donkey" wouldn't fit in the input, I tried "pin tail donkey," "tail on donkey" and other combos to no success. The number 1 answer (worth 60-70 points mind you) read "tail/donkey."

With such a feat against me, I passed on questions like "name something people say about money." Even if I could venture a guess as to the direction of that question (it's the root of all evil? you can't have enough of it?), there'd be no way to guess how the game would judge my answers. Questions like "a downside about eating peanut butter" got ignored by me for the same reason.

The set renders are wonderful - the stuff that actually matters, i.e. the board, is entirely inconsistent in readable fonts, especially in Fast Money. It takes $100,000 to unlock one of the sets, something that requires you to play continually without quitting until you accrue $100,000 from Fast Money. After winning $80,000, the game simply failed to offer a chance to play again and went to the menu. Twice.

Roughly 5 people I've found, through tech support boards and my own acquaintances, are having trouble running this game - it crashes before it can even launch. I've seen no common trait between them that would be the root of the problem; and nobody on the boards has yet found a fix.

Should mention also...the game does not reveal the remaining answers on the last question in a game. Even though Todd says "we give you $5 for every point" the game awards your family $1 for every point scored in Fast Money.

It retails for $20, and I found copies at several EB Games locations. I have yet to see a single person in the online section. Many sites currently host a downloadable version that also retails for $20, but it’s far more reliable, has add-on question packs, plus, there’s an “Online Party” version that I can confirm is more fun than playing this title.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

read your blog. great commemtary. i've been playing FF on droid/iphone and get the same results, though not as often as it sounds like you have and quality control on the product.