Have You Played the IMDb Game?
If you love movies (and we're thinking it's a safe bet you do if you're here), you may well love movie trivia as well. Maybe you're into the Leonard Maltin Game, as played by the good folks at the Doug Loves Movies podcast? It's also been scientifically proven that trivia you can easily play at a bar (or pub or speakeasy or gin mill) is superior to all other forms of trivia. All of which is to say that there is currently a movie trivia game sweeping the nation (which is to say, the three or four bars this author has been to in the past couple weeks) that is both easy and fun and technologically advanced (you use your smart phone). Please read on and then play with your friends. And always remember that you got this super great idea at TribecaFilm.com.*
NAME: The IMDb Game (You could call it something more creative, but there's a power in simplicity, don't you think?)
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: As few as 2 (two). As many as 1,000,000,000 (a billion). Probably most fun with between 3 and 6 people.
EQUIPMENT NEEDED: A smart phone. Preferably multiple smart phones in order to share the battery load. Some sort of wireless internet or 3G service. Also some drinks would be great, though not strictly necessary. It does make a nice drinking game, though!
THE GAMEPLAY: The first player (call him/her the Question Giver) chooses the name of an actor or actress and looks them up on IMDb on their phone. Like so …
…See those four movies listed under "Known For"? The player whose turn it is (call this one the Guesser) then has to correctly guess all four movies. Each incorrect answer draws a strike (players may or may not opt to make a loud obnoxious noise upon each strike; honking or beeping or some such; certainly not required, and strictly forbidden in league play). Three strikes and you're out. Once a Guesser has gotten 2 (two) strikes, the Question Giver will give the Guesser the years of the remaining unguessed films as a hint.
After his/her turn, the Guesser then becomes the Question Asker and picks an actor for the next Guesser.
That's it. Seriously. It's that simple. Oh, and also, if one of the Known For roles is a voice-only role, the Question Giver should say so before the Guesser starts guessing.
SCOREKEEPING: We suppose you could keep a running tally if you're into that. This option becomes more attractive if you're at a bar with a chalkboard that is usually meant to keep score for darts. Players are encouraged to usurp this more traditional bar gamery and appropriate it for IMDb Game purposes. But if you don't really want to keep score and instead just play for fun and pride? Feel free! If you're hanging around with the right people, the deep shame they will feel by not being able to guess the four films Naomi Watts is most known for will be stakes enough without having to muddy the waters with scorekeeping.
CAVEATS: TV counts, but try not to do performers who are bogged down with things like talk shows. (Sorry, Rosie O'Donnell, the IMDb Game doesn't accurately assess your acting gifts.)
WHY IS THIS FUN? The secret algorithm that the IMDb uses to calculate an actor's best-known roles is capricious and aloof. Sometimes it's all blockbusters. Sometimes it's an early but definitive role. Sometimes recency is valued. Sometimes old cult favorites. Sometimes it seems insane that Superbad wouldn't be one of Emma Stone's four films. Whenever you zig, there's a good chance IMDb will zag. But smart movie lovers with good memories will be rewarded with sweet, sweet victory. Enjoy!
*NOTE: If you and your friends already invented a version of this game on your own, that's great. Great minds think alike! Get a web site next time, though. Other note: this blog post and game are in no way affiliated with IMDb, though we're sure they will not mind any mobile traffic it might send their way.