Cue David. Cue blooming David. "Am I on now? And. Yes, er, here we, ah... At long, ummmm, last, the official, well, the erm, Question of Sport, the game they're calling. Er, Question of Sport. Errrm, absolutely extrornery!"
Well is it, or isn't it? Can a mere computer game capture the subtle blend of tack and sporting trivia that keeps the nation engrossed once a week? Would they want to emulate this if they could? True fans of the show were well impressed with the way it was transformed into a board game so there have been high hopes (not to mention a long wait!) for the CPC version.
The first thing to strike you is that that all-time musical classic, the Question of Sport theme tune, is missing! Heads will roll at Elite, surely...! If one is denied the pleasure of watching a TV professional like David Coleman at work, the least you can expect is a chance to hear the music!
Play kicks off with the choice of being of Bill or Ian (What a decision!) and whether you play your CPC or a friend. Then you pick one of the ten specialist sports and the people who make up your team. These are presented in the form of the infamous 'It's either Princess Anne or Viv Richards, David' picture board, though naturally the names have been changed to protect the innocent. Our old mate Nigel Mansell, for example, becomes "Gary". Fair enough, I guess they can't pay everyone in showbiz just to bring A Question Of Sport to life.
Then it's down to the nitty gritty of showing off your immense sporting intelligence. The first round, as usual, is the "There goes Emlyn's Knighthood" picture board. Here another 'adaptation' rears its ugly head. There are no pictures, instead you get an in-depth (12 word!) description of a sporting star or event, with four answers to choose from. Even in questions about phenomenally dull sports such as show jumping (whoops, there goes my Knighthood!) you don't get a chance to humiliate yourself with a completely wrong answer. Not really in the Question of Sport vein, is it? "Who won the F.A. Cup in 1942?" - "Er, was it Shergar, David?"
David 'our hero' Coleman then guides the teams through the rest of the traditional AQOS sections: mystery personality; home or away; the quick-fire round; and what happened next. All are faithfully reproduced, except that words replace pictures. This, however, doesn't dampen the AQOS spark, for even in this very static form it is an enjoyable quiz format. The program and the game are both fragmented enough to avoid boring too many people for too long, with enough continuity to ensure that when the other team do get ahead on points, it does matter. I mean, being beaten by Bill Beaumont? This is major league shame we're talking here!
A Question Of Sport scores over all its rival trivia games simply because it has a tired, er, tried and tested formula, and is based on a two team principle. Playing on your own leaves you sneering at the opposing captain's errors - or fuming when they start to get all the easy questions! Playing in a group soon elicits strong loyalties to your beloved leader, be it Ian or Bill.
If you like sport and/or cheap TV shows, you are in for a treat. The structure is a mite constricting, and there are features which would make the game more playable but less like the Telly. A 'Could you please say that again David, I was slurping me coffee?' feature would be very useful, for instance, but would ruin the authenticity.
Similarly the speed of the game varies vastly from snail's pace in the home and away round, to ridiculously fast in the quick-fire round. This lifts the game, even if it's a bit annoying at times, especially since you only have six rounds to prove you're a sports trivia Einstein and not a complete Billy Beaumont.A Question Of Sport has an obvious target public, but will confirmed Quizzie addicts get enough for their 15 or 20 quid? (Scandalous pricing, incidentally!) Initially yes: it's remarkable how a little picky of our Dave jabbering away will satisfy and entertain the die-hard fan for a while.
Yet even the most fanatical viewer only has to enjoy/endure (delete as applicable) thirty minutes every week. But with the CPC game this can become every thirty minutes, and even David 'Charmer' Coleman can't take that kind of exposure and remain fresh and fun.
Elite have taken on a tricky task, converting quite a visual and immensely popular game. And I think they've done as well as can be expected. We certainly had fun with it here in AA Mansions.
First Day Target Score Not applicable.
Green Screen View Good on yer, sport!
P. Detailed portraits of David, Bill and Ian.
N. Incredibly static visuals.
P. The audience claps. The clock ticks. The buzzer buzzes. And that's it - no theme tune!
Grab Factor 72%
P. Surely you can't lose to Bill?
Staying Power 61%
P. Play sparingly and interest will last.
N. Overdo it and you'll get very bored.
P. Loved the show? You'll love this!