Friday, July 09, 2010

Obsessed With Marvel

Peter Sanderson


I bought this trivia book while I was visiting my old haunts in Minnesota.  It seemed like the perfect way to pass time on the six-plus hour drive home to Wisconsin, and it definitely was, even if Patrick was sick of asking me questions after hours of play.  This book was put together by Peter Sanderson and put out from Chronicle Books, boasting 2,500 questions to "test your knowledge of the Marvel Universe."  And I honestly had a blast going through this.  Chronicle Books has a whole line of books like this, including an Obsessed with Star Wars and an Obsessed with Star Trek on the way.  I was rather disappointed in Marvel: Scene It, as most of those questions limited themselves to movie franchises, but this book pretty much ignores the movies, asking questions from the wealth of Marvel comics published over the years. 

The game can be for one or two players, randomly selecting a question number for you on the little electronic panel on the front right-hand corner of the book.  When it selects the number, you page through the book to find the corresponding question, and choose an answer A, B, C or D, which have labeled buttons on the panel.  If you get it wrong, it tells you what the correct answer was, and it keeps tally of how many you answered correctly, keeping tab on what percentage you answered right as you continue playing.  I consider myself pretty well-versed in Marvel comics, but even I found some of the questions quite challenging, so I think this is a great game for fans of Marvel, who will learn a lot and won't find it too simple for them (I was averaging around only 60% correct).  The categories the book is divided between are Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, The Avengers, X-Men, The Incredible Hulk, Marvel Knights, Horror Heroes, Cosmic Characters, and Marvel Time.  There are plenty of obscure character questions, and a good amount of questions about creators.  Some of the questions are kind of silly, asking for the name of someone's father or something ridiculous like that, and Sanderson must be a huge Howard the Duck fan, because there were an overabundance of questions about the silly guy, as well as a few other characters that were disproportionately focused on, given their popularity.  Also, there were a few questions that the game identified as wrong, which I know for a fact were correct, and it has me wondering how many of the questions I'm not sure about that it gave me the wrong answer to.  But these flaws were few and far between (I was playing for nearly six hours after all).  And given how long I was playing, I didn't get too many repeated questions either, so players can get a lot of use out of this book before getting into those repeats.  Each page has around eighteen straight-forward questions, with one big question per page that includes a picture of a comic book cover or a character, giving a little history before launching into a question, which is nice.  The directions at the beginning of the book are also rather simple, if not idiot-proof.  Overall, this is a really great game for Marvel fans, perhaps the best superhero game I've ever come across.

So, to whet your appetite:

Who of the following was not one of Peter Parker's college classmates?
A) Harry Osborn
B) Gwen Stacy
C) Liz Allan
D) Flash Thompson

(Highlight below for the answer)
The answer is C.

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