When I arrived on Friday evening we got through Chronology and Buzz. I forget which Buzz it was, but it was a fairly new one which allows up to eight players, so all six of us had a control. We found it somewhat of an anticlimax because, after the penultimate round (at which point one player looked like the runaway winner and I think I was second) all the points were exchanged for lives and it became a custard pie fight. After the high-scoring player had committed suicide by not quite getting the hang of the slightly delayed response from the control, all attention was diverted to me and I was next. After the field had been reduced to one player, the game put up a screen listing the people with: most correct answers, fastest trigger finger, least correct answers and slowest trigger finger. We were left with the feeling that we weren't quite sure exactly who had won the game.
Saturday began with more PlayStation games using the Eye Toy, which is like a webcam that you balance on top of the TV and you then get to control the games primarily by waving your arms about. It's an interesting concept which is quite fun in practice (but you can sometimes get into a situation where it doesn't seem to register properly what you are doing, and quite a few players ended up hitting their hands on the light fitting suspended from the ceiling). I might add that after doing the assault course game you feel a bit like you've done a real one (or at least a 100-metre dash). The ten-pin bowling game on there is quite good and somewhat easier than the real thing (and also easier than the Wii version) — although, like with the real thing, I still have no idea what distinguishes a shot that will make a strike from one that will knock 8 pins down. Anyway, I managed 184 which is about twice what I make at a real bowling alley. Sadly, when the game was repeated a couple of times this morning I scored 152 first time and 122 second time, so clearly practice doesn't make perfect.
This was followed by Ticket to Ride, at which I came next-to-last despite at one point believing I was doing rather well. In fact I've done fairly badly at that game every time I've played it, although at least I managed not to leave any routes unfinished this time.
Hollywood Bowl is a sort of movie quiz game in which you have to name movies or actors which fit a particular description (for instance: films with month names in the title, or comedian actors). This was played in teams — men against women — and the men fluked three victories in a row before the women admitted defeat. This game was followed by Scene It, a DVD movie quiz game in which one player managed almost as many correct answers as the rest of us put together. A game of Trivial Persuit Unhinged on the PlayStation — rather like the traditional board game version but the categories have been mixed up a little bit — took almost three hours so we were a bit relieved when one person won it and we vowed not to play it as individuals next time. I was rather irritated that I didn't manage to get a single wedge during that time — I could answer everybody else's questions and I think it was just being mean to me.
On the Saturday evening of the party it's traditional for us to play a murder mystery game. This time we made a slight change and played a movie mystery game instead. The players were invited to take part in a Bond-alike spy film and each was to play the part of a secret agent. Each player was given a cue card (all of which I think were identical) and a character card, having on it six aspects of their character: a cover story, a personality trait, a hobby, a specialist skill, a vivid memory and a character flaw. You then had to act out eight scenes in the film making oblique references to these traits but not using any of the words on the card, and at the end of it guess what the traits of each other player were (fortunately a list of all possible answers was given on the cue card). By sheer guesswork I managed to come one point ahead of the next best player, and on top of that (to my utter surprise) was given three nominations for best actor. I won't be hiring an agent just yet, though.
Sunday brought more Eye Toy games and an observation quiz, at which the team of three younger persons present managed to pip the other team of two by only one point. And finally, another game of Buzz in which I managed to be the runaway points leader going into the final round, but only managed to avoid being eliminated first because the other players couldn't shoot straight.