If there’s one TV quiz show that has a global appeal and has been a hit across continents, then undoubtedly it’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire.
There have been a number of official and unofficial replicas of this quiz show over a number of TV channels, and at the same time it has inspired the development of games based on this show. Though this is not uncommon as a number of movies have found their way into gaming as well, but what makes game version of Millionaire different is that users expect customisation in questions, unlike a predefined storyline — the way rest of TV-turned-games work.
This customisation is the key when it comes to adopting Millionaire for educational purposes; say a quiz competition to engage students on a particular topic or field of study or just for fun where friends and family members can organise an in-house Millionaire session over computer or using an overhead display like a projector.
The pssibilities are many with the free and open source Millionaire game available from wwtbam.sourceforge.net. The download from this site is straight forward and requires no installation or setup. After unzipping, the main file can be started right away which asks for the number of players and if it’s more than one, the fastest finger first quiz starts. The winner then takes the centre stage with the game along with all the bells and whistles of the real quiz show.
The graphics, the sounds, the overall ambiance is very attractive, particularly with the full-screen mode where the user feels like in the middle of a real quiz programme. All the functionality during the game runs through a single key — Enter, which makes it easy with virtually no learning curve at all. The life lines are also available with the keyboard shortcuts. The built-in questions are good for practice as they progressively become more difficult and cover general maths, general knowledge and other interesting topics.
The real fun starts with customising the Millionaire game. The ‘Read Me file’ included with the game serves the purpose of detailing how this works. Simply put, there are three things that can be altered in the game. First, it’s the fastest finger questions, second the main game questions and last the currency and amounts ladder through which the game player progresses in the main game. All these three items are present in the form of text files in the game directory.
Starting with fastest finger, the text file is named ‘FF’ which lists questions, their correct answers in the form of alphabets followed by available choices. All questions, their answers and possible choices are separated by a vertical pipe character and can easily be edited.
The next file is named ‘Questions’ and this too is a simple text file having a question, followed by correct choice and finally four options. New questions can be added at the top of this main game file as the order of questions in the game is same as the order in which questions appear in the text file. Game host has an option to jump to a specific question as well as using a shortcut key.
In the same way, the last text file of currency and amounts can be edited as well to localise the game with local currency and desired amounts.
In addition to the normal mode of operation, there’s one more version of the game available designed specifically for the projector based display. Here, two different windows open up — one for the contestant and one for the audience. The audience just see the overall progress of the contestant while the host controls both the screens. Audiences can view the correct answer once it is selected.
The customisable Millionaire game available over Sourceforge.net is not only completely free, but it also comes with the source code as well so that anyone can modify the game whenever required. It’s a great game to have and with all its possibilities of customisation, it can very well be adopted for any educational or entertainment environment with ease.