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Nintendo Wii Review: The Price is Right

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After a long absence from this video game circuit (anyone remember the Commodore 64 version?), The Price is Right, on the air for more than 35 years, gets remediated on the innovative Wii console. What you watch is what you get in this television game show experience, though you’ll find size does matter. The one player and multiplayer modes work well in a progressive four stage format. In contestants' row, players bid on items using the up or down on the remote D (directional) pad. The basic actions also involve the – button, which provides in game assistance, and the + button, which return players to the main menu. Other than the point-and-click actions and spinning a game wheel, this Wii adaptation seem like a disappointment because so much goes unused.

Once players get on stage, the pricing games include Three Strikes, Check Out, Cliffhangers, Freeze-Frame, Hole in One (the only game on the show that requires any physical skill), Master Key, Money Game, Race Game, Range Game, the carnival-like Shell Game, and the show defining Plinko where players win discs then place them on a large peg board for a chance at big cash. Next, three players spin the wheel to reach $1.00 in the Showcase Showdown. Finally, the showcase features a multiple, big ticket item player(s) bid. Players who guess within $500 win both showcases…well, the cash total in this case. Profile statistics are kept in the game’s records for a rank me in mode, which compares high scores.

This game includes a one player regular play mode where players compete until they lose three times (in the contestants' row or Showcase Showdown) or cycle through contestants row six times until you win, just like the show. The party game mode allows two to four players, though limited gameplay to one remote might cause some issues. Players can find some entertaining bonus material videos in the award mode.

Current host Drew Carey, who could have provided some much needed humor to the game, is totally absent here and Bob Barker is only mentioned because the studio is named after him as the current announcer, Rich Fields, voices the game dialogue. Better A.I. provides good challenges when playing the CPU and the wide game variety increase the replay value for players who want master each game. Load times, action screen size and often unnatural player reaction animations could have been greatly improved, plus profile creation is limited to eight characters (profile and name length). Overall, any setbacks are minor because players get multiple chances to win throughout the all ages game play.

Occasionally products in the pricing game don’t match descriptions/text and players can’t access detailed descriptions, like they ask on the show sometimes (e.g. product size/weight, etc. – see if you get the right price for the Chips Ahoy cookies on the first try). As the show, the game has plenty of advertising. The sound enhances the game well with the theme music, the losing “wa wa” horn and the crowd noise (e.g. shouting out help, though not distinguishable enough to actually use for assistance).

This game triggers nostalgic memories (e.g. watching at home when sick from school) with good production values and authentic loyalty to the show (great for die hard fans), but does not make the graphics functional or readable enough or utilize customization options and Wii console motion capabilities.

The Price is Right is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB for Alcohol Reference. This game can also be found on: Nintendo DS and PC.


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