What 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.
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?
26 Ridgeway, Darlington, Co Durham DL3 OSF
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.
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.