Science Channel’s Head Games Gets Social

A few weeks ago, the Science Channel debuted a new game show by the name of Head Games, hosted by comedian Greg Proops. While this normally wouldn’t be on our social games beat, the television show is actually advertising itself in a pretty interesting way; utilizing a game and the ever growing social graph of Facebook.

The show is based around science trivia ranging from biology to astronomy, and considering the host, is intended to be as comical as it is educational. Essentially, contestants attempt to quickly answer questions of a fairly general nature while Proops rolls out a myriad of distracting, yet funny, jokes. Suffice to say, the show isn’t too bad, but The Science Channel is looking for more with a fairly social game of the same name.

The Head Games… game, is yet another external web app to make use of Facebook Connect. Essentially, players log in through a pop-up and invite friends to play simultaneously in a contest of trivia knowledge. The game is broken up into three rounds, with correct answers earning 15 points and incorrect answers subtracting 15. Unanswered questions count as nothing (why is this beginning to sound like a standardized test?).

The first round is dubbed Head Case, and it is your more traditional format. Both players are prompted the same 10 questions and have a mere 15 seconds to answer by clicking on one of three images. Evidently, this is merely just intended to get those brain juices flowing, because while the questions might be a little tough from time to time, it is very simple and straightforward.

Round 2 is actually where the most fun begins because it combines visual acuity, twitch reaction, trivia knowledge, and (to a lesser degree) a bit of memory. This segment is called Head Trip, and the name is certainly warranted. As with the first round, questions are posted at the top of the screen for a limited time, but the answer is located somewhere on three rows of scrolling images. The first person to find and click the right image earns the points.

Of course, this leads to the final round, and if game shows have taught us anything over the years, it is that that final stage can turn almost any competition around. This is the speed round; aptly named Head Bang. In a nutshell, it is almost a reverse of the first round, with a single picture, coupled with a question, and three multiple choice answers. The gimmick here, however, is that you have 50 seconds to answer as many as you possibly can.

The game is pretty fun, and there are enough questions to keep it fresh for a little while. That said, however, it is rather obnoxious that you can only play against your Facebook friends and no one else. Furthermore, you can only play if there is someone in your friend’s list that is online and accepts your challenge. Frankly, a more asynchronous challenge mode, in addition to the live multiplayer, would be a lovely addition. All the same, though, it is certainly a pretty useful way to spread the word of a new show. One might even call it “scientific.” (okay maybe not)