Who Wants To Play Nintendo?

Self-confessed elitist David Morgan blogs on his experience on “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” on Monday night, and you can’t help but get the impression he’s not a huge fan of the format:

WHO WANTS TO SHAKES HANDS WITH EDDIE MCGUIRE? Not me, after failing to be the Fastest Finger on Who Wants to be a Millionaire last night.One of those who beat me to it was a Kiwi who took an inordinately long time to answer the $100 question: ‘Where does the sun rise in Australia: North, South, East or West?’

What you didn’t see was that there was actually another ‘Fastest Finger First’ between the two that were shown. It had to be abandoned due to a computer stuff-up: it displayed names of the previous week’s contestants. (Tantalisingly, the camera was on me!) On the next attempt I came third, but the difference between me and the winner (the Kiwi) was only about 0.6 of a second.

I have to say that I’m not a big fan of the new “Fastest Finger”. David’s responses were both correct, and around the 2 second mark, but in both cases it wasn’t quick enough.

In the show’s first year, the FFF questions were difficult enough that only about 50% of contestants got them right, and the average time was around 3-4 seconds. What this meant is that anyone who knew the answer without having to think about it was going to have a reasonably good chance of making it to the hotseat.

This year, however, the questions are so easy that most 10 year old children would know the answer, and the fastest responses are getting below the 1 second mark. In effect, unless your fingers are positioned over the 2 correct answers before the question is asked, you aren’t going to win the FFF section.

The best strategy seems to be to choose 2 buttons and hammer them instantly, regardless of the question. You may not get it right very often, but at least you’ll get to the chair if you do. (Note: The 2 answer format is a significant improvement over the single answer in this respect, but making the questions so easy still makes the temptation to guess too great)

This game may well appeal to a significantly larger proportion of the population due to the chance to get in the seat by guessing, and a guaranteed $1000 if you do. Conspiracy theorists may even theorise that it’s a deliberate ploy to get dumber people into the chair and, by extension, give away less money.

I don’t know if that’s why they did it or not, but for me it takes away from the fun of watching quiz shows, and discourages me from attempting to get on myself. I still think that “Sale Of The Century” attained the best balance between speed and knowledge of any of the quiz formats tried in Australia during my lifetime. Maybe I’m an elitist too.

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