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By DAVE GUSSOW

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 8, 2001


Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Sports Edition

SYSTEM: Windows, Macintosh

MAKER: Buena Vista Interactive

PRICE: $19.99

ESPN's 2 Minute Drill

SYSTEM: Windows, Macintosh

MAKER: Disney Interactive

PRICE: $19.99

It's a heavyweight match for sports trivia fans: In this corner, the reigning king of trivia, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, with its Sports Edition. The challenger: ESPN's 2 Minute Drill. It's the popular and familiar Regis Philbin of Millionaire versus the lesser known but humorous Kenny Mayne of ESPN.

Both games are patterned after their respective TV shows, and it's more than a coin flip difference. ESPN's pace engages a player. It has three rounds and, as the name suggests, two minutes for each. The first two are multiple choice with a point for each correct answer. It requires a breadth of sports knowledge (silver medalists in the Olympics, for example). The third round is a bonus with fill-in-the-blank questions that also challenge (knowing who wore now-retired football numbers). For fun, it keeps a list of top 10 scores.

Millionaire seems to plod in comparison, with its familiar format of 15 questions to win. While some of the trivia is similar to ESPN's, Millionaire has its share of clunker easy questions (what state hosts the Daytona 500?). A nice addition to Millionaire is factoids that pop up on the screen to give additional information on some questions. It also tracks top scores.

However, while ESPN wins on style for its format and more challenging questions, it loses in an important category. Because the games are fast, players are likely to try it multiple times in one sitting. And it doesn't have enough questions. Too many repeat too soon. That's a definite technical foul.

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