If you know the answer to "Who was the first Vice President of the United States?", then you could win a million dollars – virtual dollars, that is. That's one of the final questions in Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? for the PC. The game mimics the popular FOX television show of the same name and allows the whole family to test their elementary school smarts.
As on the TV show, you become the single contestant in a trivia game that tests your knowledge of academic subjects typically found in first through fifth grades. To win, you must correctly answer 11 questions in a row.
Playing with you are five virtual fifth-graders. They answer the questions along with you and, at any time, you can use them for two special cheats: to peek at one student's answer and then decide what your answer will be, or copy what the designated student has written. Additionally, one time in the game, if the classmate working beside you gets the answer right and you get it wrong, that fifth grader can save you from losing.
The questions come from a bank of over 3,000 questions drawn from popular school textbooks. The questions fall into 28 different categories covering math, science, geography, history, health, English, spelling, and more. You can choose the order in which you want to respond to the first 10 questions. They are two each from the five grade levels. The last million dollar question is randomly generated.
The game looks like the set of the TV show; and you even hear Jeff Foxworthy, the host of the FOX show, narrate the game and dish and quip as you play. If you take a long time answering, he will assume that you looked it up on the Internet and then complain that it's not fair. If you get a question wrong, you might hear him ask if you fell off the monkey bars a lot as a child. Ouch!
While Foxworthy's computer self looks like him, the fifth grade classmates look like smushed clay animation kids. But they clap for you when you answer correctly. Just as in the show, the tension builds by the use of dramatic music.
This is a fun game for families to play together, especially if you have grade school children. But even if your children are older, you will be surprised by how challenging the questions can be (and how much you don't remember from grade school.) One of the reasons to play as a family is to provide an environment where the youngest child can show off his or her knowledge to everyone.
The million dollar questions can get a little tricky because they aren't multiple choice. You have to type in the correct answer. When the game asked where you would find the headwaters of the Ohio River, we answered "Pittsburgh" and got it wrong. We're guessing that the game makers were looking for the state of Pennsylvania.
Even with the occasional quirk, this is a fun family game. At $20, it is less than taking the family to the movies. Too bad winning the game only awards you a virtual million instead of the real thing.
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