E3 2007: Hands-on with Smarty Pants (working title)

After playing the recently announced Wii trivia title, Smarty Pants (working title), at this year’s E3, I’ve come to two conclusions.

First of all, trying to play a trivia game with a hangover is a bad idea, especially one that requires you to make precise selections with the Wii remote. Two, when it comes to questions about anything other than 80s teen starlets, celebrity sex tapes, or Slayer, I’m about as smart as an eight-year old. So be it.

Hit the jump for information and hands-on with Smarty Pants on the Wii, one of the first titles to come out of Electronic Arts’ new games division, EA Casual. 

 

Smarty Pants is a fairly simple trivia game, squarely aimed at casual players and families whose idea of getting a party started is Trivial Pursuit: Genus Edition. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, as the game is a brilliant and quick attempt by EA to tap into a flourishing Wii casual market. 

The goal of Smarty Pants is to take the simple act of answering multiple choice trivia questions and make it a fun, social experience. Replace beer  and half-price appetizers with a Wii remote and your mom, and you’re getting the idea here. The game is broken up into two modes — Competitive and Family, both of which require two or more players.

I only had a chance to demo the Family mode, a cooperative experience that requires each of the four players to quickly answer questions. As questions are answered, a timer slowly counts down … once it reaches zero, you lose and your grandma laughs at you. Answering questions correctly, as well as making certain remote gestures at given moments, will increase your time. Gestures included waving your hands around, dancing, and one mini-game that involved playing tug-of-war against a computer controlled opponent

The game will contain over 20,000 questions of various difficulties, for various age groups. When I first started a game, I created a profile and chose my age — I chose 15, as not to rattle my delicate brain. The game decided it would be a good idea to fire off sports trivia at me, an area in which I’m admittedly weak.

As I proceeded to answer all of them wrong and shame team Destructoid, I was told that the game would actually adjust itself accordingly to my strenghts (pop culture, in my case) and weakness (for me, anything pratical), asking me quetsions better suited to me. It’s this way that an entire family of all ages can play Smarty Pants and it enjoy it together; even your stupid friends can get involved.

While the game seems like a fun replacement for those archaic board games of old (why don’t you just make me walk to school uphill, barefoot, in the snow?), the lack of modes seems like it might hurt the game’s longevity. As long as the game comes in at a reasonable price point (read: not $49.99), Smarty Pants will probably be a winner at retail this holiday.

Nick Chester