I'll take College JEOPARDY! for $200, Alex
By MIKE VANEGAS
South Bend is a boring place, right?
With this complaint registered in the minds of many Notre Dame and Saint Mary's students, a short but often-referred-to list of activities has become standard throughout this college community. Activities include throwing a Frisbee, watching television, studying (studying? At a University?), drinking and talking among peers about the infinite sadness faced each day without the thriving, distraction-infested presence of a cool metropolis.
Those days are over, however. For Sony has created an Internet frenzy over the game show that makes the majority of Americans feel dumber than a vat of green jello — JEOPARDY! Well, really, the game was created last year, but this year there is a whole new crop of Internet-ready freshmen hoping to gain that elusive spot as Internet's Jeopardy king or queen.
The name of the game is College JEOPARDY! Online, and its second year hopes to build on the success of its first, as the incentive for playing has become a little more interesting — especially considering the state of boredom instilled on the Notre Dame community by the greater Michiana area.
Before the prize is revealed, though, it is important to understand the teamwork involved. The folks at Sony recognize students as the sometimes self-centered egos they are, and they are willing to award individuals based on their individual efforts. But Sony also understands the power of the mass, especially the youthfully motivated mass of college students that may compose any student body throughout the nation. One must merely witness home-field advantage at a college football game (um, alright … maybe that's not the best example at good ol' Notre Dame) to fully comprehend the impact a student body can have on one single issue.
Thus, Sony and College JEOPARDY! Online have marked the grand prize for the fall competition as a grand prize for an entire student body. The prize is a sneak preview screening of a Sony Pictures Entertainment film, most likely next spring, for the three colleges or universities with the highest cumulative score at the end of the contest. Individual prizes include various Sony electronic devices — Discmans, Walkmans and CD clock radios — gift certificates and t-shirts.
Other incentives in playing the game is that one can connect with thousands of college students around the nation through the Web site's message boards. Here's an example of the conversation that can go on via the site:
Station member No. 1: "I just played two games against someone whose handle is `Bran*****' — I'll keep him or her anonymous, but they are now telling players that I am a cheat.
How does one cheat at this? I don't want to be known as a cheat! I am a `jack of all trades, master of none' in my mind. I love trivia."
A reply from station member No. 2, about two hours later:
"How many games have you played? If you are a multi gamer sometimes people call it `cheating' if you have seen the answers before and `have them memorized.' We have all put up with this at some time or another. Just let it roll off, it is only a game ... and a fun one at that."
Though the game can sometimes run a little slow, it certainly keeps competetive players on their feet, and allows, like the show, for a good test of knowledge.
The current contest began Sept. 13 and continues until Dec. 6, which means that Domers and Belles have enough time to win plenty of prizes for themselves and for their peers. Notre Dame and Saint Mary's are currently unranked in JEOPARDY!'s standings, with only $275,500 in winner's dollars.
Visit www.station.sony.com to play College JEOPARDY! Online.
All Scene Stories for Monday, September 20, 1999