Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Scene It? Lights, Camera, Action

Pop-culture knowledge is like kung fu. It’s all well and good to have a brain full of useless trivia, but what good is all that prowess if it can’t be used to crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of their women? Scene It? Lights, Camera, Action brings the popular DVD party game to the Xbox 360, giving gamers the opportunity to flex their movie-trivia muscles.

The package comes bundled with four color-coded wireless buzzers. Competitors face off in 21 different movie-themed competitions. Some require hard, fast knowledge of cinema: “Sequentials” asks players to sort a list of four movies in the order they were released. Others give more casual moviegoers an edge by testing their ability to unscramble an anagram or puzzle out a rebus translation of a movie title. The coolest segments use real movie assets: Clips of movies as diverse as Animal House or Postcards From The Edge roll. Players are then quizzed on the content. “Now Playing” slowly assembles the elements of a movie poster, testing player memory of 20-year-old promotional artwork.

Scoring works like it does in bar-based NTN trivia boxes: Lightning-fast answers net 2,000 points. The longer it takes players to buzz in, the paltrier the prize. The goal, of course, is to rack up the most points. But in most cases, the contest is decided in the game’s final round, where huge score multipliers put a massive amount of points on the table. The fact that many sessions of Scene It? Lights, Camera, Action are decided in the last minutes is beside the point. The little victories (like remembering that The Breakfast Club came out a year after Sixteen Candles) are what make the game worth playing.

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Beyond the game: There are tons of Scene It? DVD games, with subjects ranging from Harry Potter to Marvel superheroes. It will probably be impossible for Microsoft to wrangle permission from their competitors for a game that covers the history of video games. We can still dream, can’t we?

Worth playing for: The game tracks which questions each player has seen and populates each quiz with fresh puzzles.

Frustration sets in when: Of course, avid players eventually exhaust all the game’s questions. As a consolation prize, folks who witness every quiz earn the “Groupie” achievement.

Final judgment: Way more gratifying (for movie geeks, at least) than busting heads in Halo 3.

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Grade: B

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