"'Ere," said Ed, "We all know your favourite pursuit's Rachael, and you won't get more trivial than that, so cop a load of this!"
Actually, I have a soft spot for this particular game, even if it is the numero uno yuppie pastime. There's something so satisfying about knowing the names of the 1922 Accrington Stanley Soccer Squad, when all around you are struggling to remember who knocked England out of the '86 World Cup. With his hand (some of us will never forget... Nor forgive!).
But back to the review. Quizzes have a fairly consistent history on the Spectrum, ranging all the way from the bad to the mediocre and back again. One of their worst failings is that they become mere tests of your key tapping ability. All that typing and you lose your points, just because you hit the wrong letter.
Domark has found a way round this. The computer displays the question, then the answer, and asks you if you were right. Providing you're not schizophrenic enough to cheat yourself, it's a neat solution to the problem. Of course it does make Trivial Pursuit ideal for group play but near useless for individual outings, despite the suggestion that you should play yourself against the clock. So gather family, friends and the rent collector round the TV set and prepare yourself to meet TP!
TP, who he? Surely not Troubleshootin' Pete? No, this TP is a thousand times worse. He's an animated wotsit with a selection of hats, who walks on and asks questions. TP, we soon decided, stood for Total Pain, so we switched him off. He's just the sort of addition that the game doesn't need. Luckily the program caters for a wide variety of personal preferences. You can set a time limit for answering questions, from five seconds to nine minutes. You can have sound effects. You can kick players out of the game or pause while one of them slopes off to make a cuppa. And, of course, you can load new sets of questions, though there didn't seem to be too much repetition with the default set. All these choices are made through a simple-to-operate menu system.
At heart, Trivial Pursuit, the computer game, is still a chase round a wheel-shaped board, picking up wedges at the intersections before racing back to the centre. Answering a question correctly, the category decided by the colour of the square you're on, gets you another go. One thing that the computer can do that a bit of cardboard can't, is set visual and musical questions. These add something to the game, though I'm not really convinced that identifying a tune played backwards is quite true to the trivial facts philosophy.
As to the board, it's some-thing of a psychedelic nightmare. Obviously, so many colours in such a small space wasn't going to be easy on the Spectrum, but I can't believe that this craziest of crazy-paving is the best Domark could do. It almost gave me a migraine looking for my playing token! Only one token appears at a time, which helps a little, but also takes away some of the feeling of the chase. In fact, I always think that board games lose out when there are no nice pieces of card and bits of plastic to push around.
Perhaps I'm just nit-picking, because Trivial Pursuit is still fun in this incarnation, and compared with the real thing it's cheap. But I'm not sure that the addition of sound and visuals are enough to persuade me to leave the battered box with its dog-eared question cards in the cupboard.
Here it is, the best selling game board... more or less. Somewhere along the line the wheel went a trifle flat, but the information's still all there. Only it takes a bit of searching to find it at times.
TP in the trivia room. The animated bore wanders in and the questions appear at the top of the screen, with music or an illustration, if that's relevant. Note the candle, which burns down as the time passes.