MSN Zone.com Kicks Off Its New Celebrity-Based Online Game Show With a Host of Greats: Bob Eubanks, Monty Hall and Wink Martindale
Together on one stage for the first time, legendary game-show hosts Bob Eubanks, Monty Hall and Wink Martindale appeared at the Hollywood Entertainment Museum today to help Microsoft Corp.'s MSN® games site officially "turn on" its hot new online game show Microsoft® "OutSmart," played exclusively at Zone.com.
Developed for Microsoft by Jellyvision Inc., "OutSmart," a free* interactive celebrity-based game show, incorporates real celebrity audio into gameplay, creating the first online game in which players can hear and directly compete against their favorite stars and attempt to beat them at their own fame. A bimonthly trivia challenge, "OutSmart" is designed to intrigue fans and provide them with a new way to interact with actors, musicians, athletes and other celebrities. "OutSmart" is available exclusively on Zone.com (http://www.zone.com/outsmart/).
"'OutSmart' is a new way for me to interact directly with my fans and let them see another side of me," said double-platinum hip-hop star Sisqo, one of three "OutSmart" celebrity challengers announced today by Microsoft.
Soon "OutSmart" will feature Grammy award-winning reggae musician Shaggy, as well as R&B singer Mya, a featured performer in the blockbuster single "Lady Marmalade," the current No. 1 song in America, according to Billboard's Hot 100 Singles. The Shaggy episode is available today, with additional games coming online every two weeks. The pilot episode of "OutSmart" debuted in May and featured TV vixen and top cyber-celeb Jessica Alba; it is still available online in the OutSmart Gallery.
In a reversal of roles, the famous hosts found themselves acting as contestants in segments of the first two "OutSmart" episodes. They not only played the game; they also jovially provided "OutSmart"'s host, Tim Parker, with advice on how to be a great game-show host. The legends imparted tips on everything from how to kiss the girls to preferred brands of hairspray and teeth whitener.
"'OutSmart' is the next evolutionary step in the game-show arena, combining the popularity of game shows, the interactivity of the Internet, and our culture's fascination with celebrities," said Chris Di Cesare, group product manager of Online Games and executive producer of "OutSmart" at Microsoft, "which makes today, with Bob, Monty and Wink, somewhat like the passing of the torch - or in this case, the microphone."
The game starts with "OutSmart" host Parker making quick player introductions and catching everyone up on the latest Hollywood gossip. Online contestants and the celebrity challenger then begin the game with a series of multiple-choice questions related to the celebrity's career. Celebrity confidence can sometimes fool contestants, but the stars don't always know the answer. Players who believe the celebrity's response is wrong can attempt an "OutSmart" and gain extra points by providing the correct answer. Wrong answers usually trigger a little ribbing from the star.
"OutSmart" also tests players' speed and knowledge about entertainment, music and pop-culture history with an electronic version of six degrees of celebrity separation. Correct answers connect the celebrity to another well-known cultural icon in six moves. In today's episode, contestants must link pop star Shaggy to the cartoon character of the same name, Scooby Doo's crime-fighting sidekick.
America's fascination with game shows, from their radio debut in 1936 to their everyday accessibility on the Internet in the early 1990s, has lasted more than 60 years. Audiences are embracing the Internet as an entertainment medium and are hungry for fresh ways to interact with their favorite celebrities. When the "OutSmart" pilot episode premiered in May 2001 it was an instant success with the casual online gaming audience, attracting 1.5 million players in the first three weeks. To play, fans simply log on to Zone.com and click on "OutSmart." No registration is required.
Developed for Microsoft by Jellyvision Inc., creators of the popular game "You Don't Know Jack," "OutSmart" complements the Zone's updated look and feel, which resulted from the overwhelming popularity of recent casual, single-player game additions to the Zone. Currently ranked as one of the Web's favorite online gaming sites, the Zone has more than 20 million members and thousands of Internet visitors daily, many of whom are looking for quick and easy access to free* games online. Innovative new games such as "OutSmart" and the site's revamped design demonstrate the Zone's continued leadership in the online gaming industry.
* Connect-time charges may apply.