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 Post Post subject: The Million Second Quiz
Posted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:22 am 
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I wish I could have posted about this when it was going on, but did anyone watch The Million Second Quiz on NBC a few weeks ago?

It was a very intriguing and unique event. Pretty complex, but very simply put (not to be confused with briefly put, because even simplified it takes a lot to explain) it was a nonstop 24 hours a day quiz that lasted for one million seconds, or eleven days. The format was a one on one bout with the winner taking over, or remaining in if they were already there, the money chair. The player in the chair accumulated money at $10 a second until they lost a bout. When they lost if their total was one of the top four accumulated in the run of the contest thus far they retired to Winner’s Row, an area on set where the top four players lived until someone pushed them out. This went on nonstop, livestreamed online for people to follow along, until once a night when the show was on tv for an hour. Things were slightly different then, because instead of just head to head bouts there was a new feature, the Winner’s Defense. This was when one of the four people on Winner’s Row had to return to the game to challenge the player currently in the money chair. If they won, they took the chair back and started adding to their total again. If they lost, they were out of the game because the challenger got all their money, and stayed in the chair to continue earning money on top of it. Also new to the time the contest was on tv was a bout against a line jumper. See, the people competing in the bouts are people that simply went down to the set and got in line. As people lost the line moved on and the people moved through. But while this was all going on, there was an app people could download to play along from anywhere in the country. Once a night one of the top players on the app was selected to fly to the set and be a line jumper on the next night’s show, getting to go into a bout without having to wait on set.

There was some more to it, but that’s the main idea. It was really interesting to watch, I’ve never seen anything like it. Now, there were multiple things about the format that made it unfair. Mostly concerning changes in format while the tv slot was on, such as the person in the money chair now getting free breaks for commercials where they continued earning money, and more obviously the Winner’s Defense bout. Here someone who randomly happened to be in the chair during the right hour of the day got a chance to take over all the money one of the top players earned, whereas everyone else playing had to earn everything on their own knowledge and endurance, this person got a huge advantage. Not only did they get all the money, but it was what getting that money did. Because they took the money from one of the top four, that made them become one of the top four. Which makes no sense, because the point of being the Power Player (the member on Winner’s Row who chose which of the four to send to the Winner’s Defense bout) gets diminished that way. The idea should be to send the person you think will lose, so the counter starts over and you get competition out of the way. But since the amount doesn’t clear, it just gets moved to a different person, you don’t actually get any room out of it. And that also makes it increasingly difficult for future players to get into Winner’s Row because the total needed to be in the top four will never go down.

But despite all these obvious flaws, I still enjoyed it very much and it really enthralled me. I’m sure the creators realized these problems as well, but they didn’t care because it didn’t have to be completely fair, it just had to be interesting. It was just a gimmick, a two-week-only attention grabber. The point was the idea: a round-the-clock nationwide event.

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 Post Post subject: Re: The Million Second Quiz
Posted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 1:00 pm 
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It's one of the few shows that I made a point to try to watch every night. I loved the concept of this show, it was one of the most unique ideas that TV game shows have seen that I can remember. However, as you said, bookworm, the whole concept of the show was slightly flawed, as it needed to be to attract a viewing audience.

I did like that they tried to show the personality of each person. Though there were literally hundreds of competitors in this competition, I always felt connected to both players.

However, I was really surprised at how they handled the final bouts. Considering it was for "the biggest cash prize in game show/television history", they really didn't cover the final hour that well, or explain it very well to the viewing audience.

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 Post Post subject: Re: The Million Second Quiz
Posted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 1:08 pm 
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What I found really neat was that the guy (kid, actually) that was the very first tv contestant on the first night’s show stayed in the competition until the very end. He was one of the four winners, and came in second place overall. It was cool to be able to follow him through the competition, from being on the first show to when he went back in and out of the money chair and how his position moved around in Winner’s Row.

Another neat thing was that one guy was actually on twice. He had already won his string of bouts and got on Winner’s Row during one episode, but he was selected for Winner’s Defense and lost, but got back in line and was back in the chair again when the show started another episode. That’s amazing timing.


Monty wrote:
the whole concept of the show was slightly flawed
I think you meant to say 'significantly' there.
Monty wrote:
they really didn't cover the final hour that well, or explain it very well to the viewing audience.
Didn’t they? It was just like what they had been doing for the past eleven days, except through a playoff ladder instead of against random people. Was there a major change I’m forgetting about?

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 Post Post subject: Re: The Million Second Quiz
Posted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 3:40 pm 
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What kinds of questions were they being asked to answer?

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 Post Post subject: Re: The Million Second Quiz
Posted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 3:51 pm 
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All kinds! There were everything from common type trivia questions to ones on news items that broke literally hours ago.

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 Post Post subject: Re: The Million Second Quiz
Posted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 9:36 pm 
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That was probably one of the more intriguing parts of this show. Live game shows aren't done that often here in the U.S., and that is the reason I love to watch British and Australian live game shows. That aspect of having such current trivia means you have to be on top of everything, because it could be about the ramifications of the Peloponnesian War, or Taylor Swift's love life.

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 Post Post subject: Re: The Million Second Quiz
Posted: Thu Oct 17, 2013 4:20 pm 
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Did you check out the livestream at all?

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 Post Post subject: Re: The Million Second Quiz
Posted: Thu Oct 17, 2013 6:30 pm 
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I did. Many of the times I went to view it, however, it was down for whatever reason. They did a pretty good job of keeping it going, though.

My main problem is that no one was able to use the doubler, something that vastly changed the game mechanic, or increase the value of the questions every 100 seconds unless your bout was televised.

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 Post Post subject: Re: The Million Second Quiz
Posted: Thu Oct 17, 2013 6:37 pm 
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Wow, I did not realize the doubler was for television only. Add that to the list.

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 Post Post subject: Re: The Million Second Quiz
Posted: Thu Oct 17, 2013 7:25 pm 
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I would have been able to get excited about it if the winner's defense bouts and things like the doubler would have been able to be seen outside of television. Then, I could have watched it online, and it would have truly been like a 24/7 gameshow instead of simply a barrage of questions. The question of when and whether to use the doubler made the televised bouts so unique, and I loved being able to see that thought process play out.

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 Post Post subject: Re: The Million Second Quiz
Posted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 12:55 pm 
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Monty wrote:
I would have been able to get excited about it if the winner's defense bouts and things like the doubler would have been able to be seen outside of television.
I’m actually the opposite. I would have liked it better if the Winner’s Defense and the doubler were removed. I don’t get why they needed to change things up and introduce a bunch of new features for the tv spot. Just keep things how they’ve been going and televise an hour of bouts. Keep the line jumper, because that was a really neat feature, but the procedural changes were unnecessary.

I agree about the strategy of the doubler, but in a way that’s as unfair as swooping in and grabbing all the money if you win Winner’s Defense, because it takes the focus away from the questions and from winning on your own knowledge and endurance and makes it a strategy game where you don’t have to get more right than your opponent now, you just have to get less wrong than they do. Because only they have to answer a doubler. But definitely at least have the doubler at all times, not just for tv. That still makes the game somewhat unfair, but it’s evenly unfair all 24 hours at least instead of giving the three people that happen to play at the right hour the strategy option.

But the Winner’s Defense definitely has to go, it was so unfair. I get the idea behind it. They needed some way to change up Winner’s Row so people couldn’t just accumulate a bunch of money and sit there forever, and also a way for the top four to eventually get back in the chair so they could keep getting money as the totals needed to stay ahead kept growing, but the way they did it was flawed in so many ways. It gave suspense, being huge risk for the defender and huge gain for the challenger, but at the expense of any amount of fairness. The problem was perfectly highlighted in the very last Winner’s Defense, on the finale.

A random lady just got on the show, she was the last contestant ever. In the very last thing to happen in the quiz proper (not counting ‘post competition’ play) she is able to win Winner’s Defense. So at literally the last second, she kicks out the guy, takes his money he had worked to accumulate, and thereby inserts herself into the top four. The competition then ends, and she immediately cashes in that guy’s money. She did nothing to deserve that! She just got there! He had actually played the game, had to work and earn all that! She just got it handed to her by lucky timing.

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 Post Post subject: Re: The Million Second Quiz
Posted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 3:34 pm 
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The doubler was the mechanic that they needed to make it not just a series of questions. I love the strategy aspect. But to be fair, it needed to be incorporated in every duel.

I think having one Winner's Defense bout an hour would allow the winners to still accrue some money, while enhancing the "endurance" aspect of the competition.

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 Post Post subject: Re: The Million Second Quiz
Posted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 3:56 pm 
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Monty wrote:
I think having one Winner's Defense bout an hour would allow the winners to still accrue some money, while enhancing the "endurance" aspect of the competition.
But it would still hand people stockpiles of money they didn’t earn. The concept is flawed, not the number of times it’s done.

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 Post Post subject: Re: The Million Second Quiz
Posted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 5:08 pm 
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Oh, yeah, I have no problem with clearing it if the winner loses. He loses his money, the new winner keeps what he/she had, then takes the chair and accrues more. Increase the frequency, but don't necessarily have people jump on winner's row anytime. The problem is, you would have to keep the people who eventually left winner's row in isolation in case they needed to be brought back into the game as a 4th place.

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 Post Post subject: Re: The Million Second Quiz
Posted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 10:20 am 
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Monty wrote:
The problem is, you would have to keep the people who eventually left winner's row in isolation in case they needed to be brought back into the game as a 4th place.
Exactly. And the other problem is increasing the frequency would make it so the people on Winner’s Row could never sleep, because with a Winner’s Defense every hour they would have to constantly be playing along for Power Player.
Under the current system, the way they did it was simply the most feasible, despite the huge flaws. It would need entirely reworked to be changed.

I believe this is going to be a yearly event, so I hope they figure something better out for next time.

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