#158 - The $100,000 Pyramid DVD Game
Ejecting this game faster than Billy Crystal scales the Pyramid
DVD Game (2006)
Text by: Robert Seidelman
The $100,000 Pyramid is one of the best game shows in television history. Solid game play, Dick Clark's masterful hosting and one of the most tense end games in the history of game shows in the Winner's Circle. You would think that this would make for a wonderful home game experience. Well, in the board game market, the conversion was good. It basically kept true to the format of the show, which is all you can ask for in a home game. When DVD Games became a thing in 2005, a lot of them were coming out from Imagination Games with Family Feud, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and others. So, Sony Entertainment paired up with MGA Games to come out with a DVD Game of one of their properties: The $100,000 Pyramid. What we got was something that would make people yearn for John Davidson hosting Donnymid with Henry Polic II announcing. Let's scale this pyramid of mess to figure out what went wrong.
Let's talk about the packaging itself. It's an eye-popping box and I like the Pyramid shape that houses the contents. It's attractive enough that people that are looking for a game show party game would pop $20 down at their local Wal-Mart or Target.
When you open it...that's where the problems come in. You get a egg-timer with two DVDs, one of them being two games based on those ugly Bratz dolls, and a bunch of ads for MGA's games, which are a lot of Bratz DVD games, and cheap LED games that go for about $5 at Walgreens. Looking at the ads make your question the quality that actually got put into the game itself.
Putting the game in, and the graphics look really good. I mean, it's not as amazing as the original $100,000 Pyramid set, but at least it isn't as barren and heartless as the Donnymid set. It gives off certain vibes of the old set, but it's more modernized in the Millionaire esque styling.
Then you get to the game itself. The game only features 15 games. Which means this game will only get 15 plays and then you have to store this for a long time because everyone will know the answers. Not only that, a DVD can store a lot of information. You could store a lot of text on one of those, so you could get more than 15 games, maybe even 45 games would be enough to put on a game.
Next, I want to talk about the two play modes of Single Player and Multiplayer. Single Player is one team playing all 6 categories. They first play the bottom 3 categories and after that, play the remaining three. Multiplayer is played like the actual show itself. The game play is the same as pyramid. One person turns their back to the TV and their partner gives clues. This is where the small hourglass comes into play. You have the time of that hourglass to convey the seven answers given.
Here's where the problems lie with this. The loading times of the words are quite long. I could clock them at around 8 seconds. And for a round that's about 60 seconds long, that eats away at a lot of time. Another problem is some of the words in certain categories that are quite impossible. There's one category in Game 3 about Australia where two clues are Sydney Opera House and Aborigines. Now, if you're playing this at a party, getting someone to get those two would take the entire time. This is without even getting to the score. If you're playing Single Player, each correct answer is worth $1,000 and in Multiplayer, it's worth $2,000. I'll explain why this was unneeded later on when I get to the Winners Circle and its scoring.
The Winners Circle played like the actual show, so the actual game play element is fine. Where it got terrible was in its execution. Instead of completing the Pyramid and getting the big money, whether it's $5k, $10k, $15k, $20k, $25k, $50k or $100k, they had you playing for singular correct answers with the bottom 3 being worth $6,000, the middle 2 worth $10,000 and the one up top worth $20,000. The total for completing it all was $58,000. That never settled well with me since the game is called The $100,000 Pyramid. You kind of expect to win the $100,000 if you complete the Winner's Circle. Here's where the tie-in with the front game comes in. If you get a perfect score in the front game being worth $42,000 and then complete the Winner's Circle, that's how you get $100,000. And that's not how the bloody thing works. If you get a perfect score in the front game, you get a bonus prize (as in the original versions of the show, such as $1,000 or a color TV), or set up for a $5,000 Tiebreaker if both teams got 21 points in the New $25,000 or $100,000 versions, or $1,500 and play for $25,000 in the Winners Circle in the GSN Revival. Not $42,000 to combine with a half-assed Winner's Circle payout to make $100,000.
The DVD Game is a beautifully presented game, but deep down it's an terrible experience, much like working for Naomi Campbell. The load times in the front game kill any thrill in this experience, and the lack of any drive in the winners circle to complete it to get the big money is terrible. I guess my biggest problem is the woeful execution of it all and that they put more effort in the Bratz DVD Games that came with it rather than the main release that they didn't give a toss about. Let it be known that this isn't the worst game based off of The Pyramid. That honor goes to the $1,000,000 Pyramid game for the Nintendo Wii. Look up Tim Connolly's Review of that monstrosity on YouTube. Your life will be better for it.
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