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The Password Is... Finally
June 16

The password is...finally

We're now three episodes in to the newest incarnation of Password, with a $1 million prize and Regis Philbin and the helm. It's been nearly 20 years since a new version of Password has been on the air, and I'm glad to see it return, even in a six-week engagement and a different game.

The game is one of clue and response, but it bears almost no relation to the version we all know. In order to fit into the zeitgeist of the time, the show shares many mechanics with Power of 10: a six-step money ladder, an elimination game to determine who plays for the money, and a game that plays to a conclusion within a half hour.

Speaking of the game, I like it. Like I said, it's not classic Password, but it doesn't have to be. The elimination round is four 30 second time trials where the star and contestant must convey five passwords. Whoever has more out of the 20 (split between both stars) gets to play for the money. The money round allows three clues (and three guesses) for each word, and five right within a minute wins the round and the accompanying prize, from $10,000 for five out of ten to $1 million for five out of five. (Think of it as playing several 'cashwords' in a row.)

The game is solid; the problem is the people who are playing the game. There are certain conventions and rules that will help to play. For example, I can't count how many times a state or country has come up, and instead of giving any city therein as a clue, the giver will say "state..." and hope the partner will magically pick the right one. Other times, during the elimination game, the clue giver will set-up a clue for a sort of "one-two punch," instead of a rapid-fire clue giving pattern, which would be better suited for that speed round. On the other hand, during the money round, where the team is limited to three clues and three guesses, I've seen too many instances where three unrelated clues are given, and it's up to the receiver to piece them together.

Altogether, if you don't look at Million Dollar Password as a revival, but as a show that can stand on its own, you have a good game, with lots of chances to play along from home. My quibbles are that the words ought to be more challenging; and the contestants more competent players. But other than that, it's a great show.

Travis Eberle has the password, and you can get your first clue from him at