Ah, the ’80s. Music videos were still on MTV, Michael Jackson was still black, and Bono cared more about music than politics. You can escape back to this pastel-colored decade of decadence with The ’80s Game With Martha Quinn, a new downloadable trivia game that tests your pop culture knowledge about Don Johnson, Ms. Pac-Man, The Cosby Show and Prince.
In fact, much like the board game it’s based upon, this digital diversion covers all major categories such as music, politics, television, sports, movies and celebrities like, well, Molly Ringwald!
As you may remember, Martha Quinn was one of the original VJs ("video jockeys") on MTV, and so her face and voice are seen and heard throughout this "tubular" game.
After you choose your "inner ’80s persona" – such as Madonna or Run DMC (or you can import your own photo) — you can choose to play one of four game types: Free Play, Challenges, Versus and Episodes.
The Freeplay mode offers multiple choice questions covering all categories, so you might get one about video games, Saturday Night Live, talk shows or toys. A sample question would be: "Which band did Genesis collaborate with on the song ‘No Reply at All?" The answer isn’t Santana or Fleetwood Mac — it’s Earth Wind & Fire. Answer correctly and you’ll see a boom-box blare a synthesizer riff, followed by a bonus question asking you what year did this take place in? Was it 1981 or 1984? (Answer: ’81).
From time to time you’ll get a speed question, where, as the name suggests, you’re awarded points for answering quickly. Gnarly ’80s "fun facts" are also splashed on the screen from time to time.
It’s too bad the game is devoid of multimedia clips. How cool would it be to see a clip from The Facts of Life? Or if you were asked a "Name That Tune"-like question by playing a clip of Flock of Seagull’s "I Ran"? Or if you were shown a picture of Ferris Bueller’s sidekick and asked for the actor’s name in real life? Answer: Alan Ruck.
The Challenge mode, er, challenges you to answer questions (and win stars) from one of five categories: Music, Movies, Sports, TV and Wild Card. The Versus mode lets you compete against a friend or spouse on the same computer.
My favourite game type, however, is the Episode mode also focuses on a particular category – such as "’80s Gals," "Tom Cruise," "Cartoon Fun" and "Duran Duran" – and you can try to answer as many related questions correctly in that given category. In total, this mode offers 16 sets of five categories, each with a bunch of questions per category. The entire game boasts more than 3,000 questions.
Finally, by playing well you can earn ’80s items, such as a break dancer, sunglasses (at night?), skateboard or Delorean (from "Back to the Future") – all viewable from the main game screen.
The ’80s Game With Martha Quinn is a great pick for trivia fans who grew up in the ’80s, but might have limited appeal for everyone else. That said, the game offers many questions, four distinct modes and suitably cheesy graphics and sound effects as if we the ’80s all over again. "Flashdance" leg warmers are optional.