The big downside – and one that’s not really a fault as such – is that if you have only one movie buff in the household and everyone else isn’t quite so knowledgeable, the continual losers will find that the novelty wears thin very quickly. Families with pre-teen children won’t find many questions that give the kids a fighting chance, and if you’re a film buff but your spouse or partner isn’t, playing Scene It? might not result in the most harmonious relations (see the note about victors dancing around the room above). Still, it’s hard to blame a film quiz game for the fact that it will be best enjoyed by movie-lovers. If you have got a house of film fanatics, the competition hots up and – predictably – so does the fun. Despite a slight bias towards films that any thirty/forty-something will know and love, the game covers enough periods and genres to give everyone a fairly even chance.
The only other possible objections concern that ever-prickly subject, fairness. For one thing, the fact that those who do well in each round are then rewarded with bonus points at each rounds’ end hardly gives the pack a chance to catch up. More seriously, there is a bigger issue with those rounds where you have to buzz in. Canny players will soon realise that buzzing in early gives them a good few seconds looking at the multiple choice answers while everyone else is locked out. This gives them a chance to muddle out an answer before they have to make up their mind. The various penalties for answering incorrectly work against this, but it is a real problem – especially in the anagram round.
Otherwise, all you have to ask yourself is this: will my household or circle have enough people who will get something out of it to make Scene It? Lights, Camera, Action a worthy purchase? Like all quiz games it hasn’t got an endless lifespan, but with over 1800 questions and a mechanism that tracks which ones you’ve already seen, the lifespan shouldn’t end all that quickly. What’s more, Microsoft is promising downloadable content packs to come.
I reckon that if your motley crew of movie buffs get the game for Christmas, you might still be getting it out this time next year. Arguably a general knowledge quiz would have appealed to a wider range of people, but I’m marking Scent It? for the cinephiles it’s aimed at. Feel free to adjust the score according to your own family circumstances and connections, but provided you and your family like your moving pictures, this game will give them and you many hours of fun.
At the end of the day it’s just a movie quiz game – and one targeted squarely at movie buffs, not the occasional Cineplex visitor. All the same, it’s a well-designed and enjoyable one, and the Buzz-inspired controllers are an improvement on Sony’s originals.