Fans of The Mary Whitehouse Experience rejoice! As if a quotable knowledge of David Baddiel and Rob Newman's controversial stand-up comedy show wasn't enough, a distinct feeling that it was only yesterday since we saw Bob Holness smiling happily at us from in front of the iconic Blockbusters board is a sure sign of our age. It was 1993 that Blockbusters last graced daytime TV, if you can believe that, but its spirit lives on in this second edition of the mobile phone conversion.
Unfortunately, Bob's nowhere to be seen – replaced instead by a manga-esque cast-off from Queer Eye. It shouldn't matter, yet Blockbusters without Bob Holness is like a Middle East conflict without George W Bush, so it's immediately lacking in style content. But your mobile phone is dear to us, reader, so we persevered with the letter-based shenanigans of a gone but never forgotten classic quiz.
Visually, this second edition (you can read about its predecessor here) is rather pretty – maximising the mobile screen with a nicely metallic hexagonal playing board, along with a selection of cartoon-like students and their mascots.
The admittedly obscure mismatching of players (for those not quite old enough to wallow in our pool of sultry nostalgia, Blockbusters pitted a team of two students against one solitary student) is no longer present, and probably wouldn't work if it were, so no points lost on the necessity of rearranging the teams.
One player must choose a segment of the board at a time with the intention of building a line of five from right to left, while the other joins up a line of four from top to bottom in order to win. Each segment has a letter in it, and the question posed to win the place on the board has an answer beginning with that letter. While there's apparently a good supply of questions (this presumably being the primary reason for releasing a second edition), it's the multiple choice answers that let the gameplay down a little.
The TV show relied on the greasy students actually knowing the answer, rather than having a rather obvious list presented to them that make guessing a fairly exact science.
Even the most stoned degree-level future-MacDonald's-manager can fathom the most likely answer from the obscure list of possibilities, and even if they don't the correct solution is given away for free by Bob's unworthy replacement. As you can imagine, this saps a lot of the challenge from Blockbusters and means a gold run is no longer the on-campus accolade it once was.
Two-player mode adds a fair amount of interest, though mainly in the battle for elbow room and quick fire supremacy. The fight for jumping to the buzzer first on a single handset is a lot of fun, though, be warned: our mobile phone hit the floor three times as the alphabet-based action heated up.
A new batch of characters, mascots and, most importantly, questions are certainly welcome, although the intrinsic problems with answering them still remain prohibitively dysfunctional.
If it's all the same, we'll take the Walkman and call it a day, please Bob.