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Switchquiz logo

No, no, Mr Bond, we expect you to answer tricky questions about Australia.

Game: Switchquiz
Runs on: A500, A600, A1200
Publisher: Switchsoft
Author: In-house
Price: £29 (two-player version) and £37 (four-player version)
Release: Out now

W Switchquiz hat is the link between states of Australia, Bond movie locations and 1950s rock (”and” – Ed) roll sounds? A clue? Okay, this is a review of a game called Switchquiz - think about it, the answer is in the title.
In the 1980s, Trivial Pursuit sets instantly robbed parties everywhere of communication, variation and interest, replacing the buzz and laughter, loud music and the guzzling of gallons of (”lemonade”- Ed) with the homogenised sounds of rolling dice, arguing couples and cries of “Quiet now, this one is for a pie”. The pubs fell next, with crowds of folk hanging around Give Us A Break machines, all shouting “A! it’s A! No B! D maybe!” while knocking back pints of (”Tizer”- Ed) and leering at members of the opposite sex. And now of course, the inevitable computer trivia games are upon us.

BOB
There is already a CD32 version of Trivial Pursuit, but Switchquiz is different because you need additional software. For your fairly large wad of cash, you get a connector box that plugs into the parallel port and links up your handsets to the Amiga. The answer boxes are black plastic decorated with four buttons and a sticker marking them A, B, C and D, and they look exactly like they were made in someone’s kitchen, which presumably they were.

However, on the good side the wires are long enough and the game supports the second disk drive, so once you are slammed in the boot and question disks, there is no disk swapping. You can alter the time limit on each question, the number of points needed to win and whether the correct answer is flashed up after guessing, but unfortunately not the names, so everyone gets to be plain old Player One or whatever.

Curiously for a game that places four buttons in your hand, you have got to use the mouse to start the game and pick the number of players. So what is wrong with A for one player and D for four? And that is another thing – a one player game option? Does that not sound like living well in the borders of Sadshire?

HOOTER
The questions come up in teensy letters and everyone races to get the answer right before time runs out. This is actually quite fun first time round, but every time someone gets the answer right, you are, o-ho, rewarded by a sample of TV’s famous Mike Smash saying, “Quiz-tastic mate”, which grates after the third time and forces you to play any subsequent games in silence.

Odd things happen the more you play it. Even though there are, as they say, ‘over 1000’ questions on the disk, you frequently get the same question asked twice in one game. To be fair, the possible answers are differently ordered each time, which leads to everyone waiting hawk-like for the correct one to appear with a leisurely ping.

The greatest fault is the limited range of questions. Whoever set them obviously has a factbook of the states of Australia and a worrying tendency towards ’50 music. Still, further disks are promised, so maybe we will get a question master with a more comprehensive library, eh? But even that won’t help the alarming lack of excitement in the game. Considering it is the first person to get 75 points to be declared the winner, there is a distinct lack of flashing lights or hooters as you pass 25, or 50 or whatever. And nothing happens when you win a game, beyond a message saying ‘Player X wins’. Bah.
Switchsoft reckon they will sell their game to pubs and clubs across the country – this mouldy old presentation does them no favours at all.

DAMAGE
So how many games did we play before we all got bored? Five, which works out at over seven quid a game. Even the forthcoming sports and trivia data disks won’t draw us back as it is the incredible dullness of the presentation that does the most damage. Who want to crane forward to read tiny writing? It is the psychologically-designed flashing lights and tweety sounds that trap people on pub machines. Fact.

If you are interested in buying Switchquiz, then Switchsoft can be contacted at 26 Ridgeway, Darlington, Co Durham DL3 OSF.
CAM WINSTANLEY

Amiga Power, Issue 41, September 1994, p.48



"26 Ridgeway, Darlington, Co Durham DL3 OSF"


Upper UPPERS It is a four player game, there is no doubt who got the answer first and as long as Switchsoft keep pumping out questions it is expandable.
Downer DOWNERS It is expensive, the handsets are a bit Heath Robinson (Wilf Lunn, more like. – Ed) and the questions are too small on the screen and frequently repeat during a game. Oh, and that bloody “Quiztastic mate” sample freaks me out.

THE BOTTOM LINE
A nice try at doing something different with the Amiga, but the hardware makes it too expensive and the relatively few questions do not justify the cost. If you are prepared to overlook the shoddy presentation and you think the data disks will materialise, then by all means consider it: there is certainly nothing else like it. If they could only link the hardware to the professionalism of the Trivial Pursuit game, eh?
54

P E R C E N T

THE BOTTOM LINE

A1200 Equally tatty presentation and the “Quiz-tastic” sample is still there. Aren’t Harry Enfield’s characters great, mate?



Switchquiz logo

Steve Keen, angel of sobriety, tests his encyclopaedic knowledge against an accessorized pub quiz for the Amiga...

Switchquiz controllers Anyone who has even been down to their local with the innocent intention of just having a swift half will, most likely, have come into contact with the dreaded pub quiz. The pub quiz is a strange beast that captures the imaginations of adults and turns them into something akin to the Delphi Oracle.
It all starts so well. You sit down, blunt pencil and two sheets of carbon paper in hand, with all the optimism of a fourth division football team in the cup final and you think you can take on anything. But, by the end of the night, reality rears its ugly head and, although you thought you knew the answer to life, the universe and everything, your 15 out of 40 score sheet suggests different.

THE BARE BONES
Switchquiz tries to mirror the phenomenon that is pub quiz. It comes on two disks. Although there's a distinct lack of snazzy presentation or any kind of illustrative graphics, it's very easy to get into and surprisingly user friendly. Once the main programme's loaded the disk accessing stops and there aren't any annoying pauses between questions whilst the computer skips to another part of the disk. You may think that might be obvious, but I've sat once too often, twiddling my thumbs, waiting for the next question to come up, whilst the drive chugs away on lesser packages.

Switchquiz PLAYING AROUND
Switchquiz couldn't follow a simpler or more familiar path. There are two different packages available, a two-player and a four-player version. Just select the number of players in the game and away you go. Each player has a certain amount of time to answer the multiple choice questions. The question is typed out at the top of the screen and the four different answers revealed in the centre, one at a time under A, B, C and D. Along the left and right of the screen there are two bars divided into 15 segments. Each one represents one second time and on the default game you have eight seconds to answer each question. If you or your opponent answers a question wrong the other player does have a chance to answer in the time remaining. The quicker you answer the question the more points you'll have added to your score. The first one to 75 wins the contest.

Just about every aspect of the game can customised to suit the playing abilities. You can alter the amount of time you have to read the questions and the time it takes for the answers to appear, the number of points needed to win a game and how many seconds you have to answer the question. There's also a feature that allows you to discover the correct answer if you get your guess incorrectly, which is a bit pointless - you'll soon get through all the question on the disk if you do this.

THE LEADER OF THE PACK
There have been more than a few general knowledge games on Commodore's machines, from the simplistic PD, mouse operated quizzes to the old CDTV version of Trivial Pursuit. However, the Switchquiz package is the first to try and introduce a proper team competition aspect to the genre with the addition of some special hardware that comes in the package.

With the two-player parcel comes a controller interface and two black box controllers which act as buzzers. Each black box has four buttons, representing the A, B, C and D multiple choice answers. A quick stab on these lets you answer the questions - a much more preferable means of interacting with the game than a mouse, and one which provides a real feeling of competition, especially when playing a human opponent. The programme also lets you skip the question part of the disk and just use the Priority game. This gives you all the functions of the depleting clock and buzzers, just in case you want to sit around your monitor or TV and ask your own questions, or read off cards.

DOWN TO BUSINESS
So that's the package, but how does it play? Well, there's no denying that we had a lot of fun around the office with the novel black box controllers in two-player mode, but the software did seem lacking in a few respects. Firstly, in a two-player game you can't tell which answer your opponent has gone for. If he gets the question wrong before you his guess is not indicated. So, even though you have the rest of the time to go for the correct answer you've still got to guess the right one out of the original four. Although the hand controllers are infinitely better than any mouse of keyboard interface for this sort of game, the buttons are very old fashioned, the kind of home-made looking affairs that you find in electronics classes at school. They're not too responsive either and, if the battering we gave them around the office is anything to go by, they could wear out pretty quickly. Also, after only three rounds of competition the questions started to repeat themselves every now and again. More than ten games later though; the software was still managing to come up with fresh questions, not seen in previous rounds. However, for a few extra pence, another disk would make the package more interesting.

Gripes aside, in two-player mode, Switchquiz was a lot of fun. A couple of small Harry Enfield samples and a catchy ditty at the beginning of the game pepped up the overall and the novel interface method made this the best quiz master package I've seen. More general knowledge, sport and pop music disks are available to bolster the main programme disk and extend its life, as well as a special Question Creator package that lets you programme in your own questions and answers.

Get a takeaway in and a few mates around before settling down. It's more fun than sitting in the dark on your own.

CU Amiga, April 1994, p.p.64-65

SWITCHSOFT £28.95
A500
A1500
A500+
A2000
A600
A3000
A1200
A4000
SWITCHSOFT, 26 RIDGEWAY, DARLINGTON, COUNTY DURHAM DL3 0SF. TEL: 0325 365 773
 
RELEASE DATE:
GENRE:
TEAM:
CONTROLS:
NUMBER OF DISKS:
NUMBER OF PLAYERS:
HARD DISK INSTALLABLE:
MEMORY:
 
MARCH
QUIZ
DAVID CADMAN
MOUSE/INTERFACE
2
2
YES
512K
 
GRAPHICS
SOUND
LASTABILITY
PLAYABILITY
30%
35%
77%
85%
At face value a pleasing quiz game with questionable lasting appeal.
OVERALL: 79%