Back in 1995, a video game quiz show entitled You Don’t Know Jack hit the shelves. It was released to critical and popular acclaim, and quickly found itself in the lime light. Between 1995 and 1996, there were 4 versions of the game released to eager fans across the country. The game was so popular that it started to branch out into other forms of video games, even making a foray into television. It was a classic case of getting too big, too quickly, because by 2000, the game was only available as an online flash game. It thrived in that medium alone until recently, when they partnered up with THQ to bring us a console version of the franchise.
The single player version of the game is fairly straightforward. The game is played in episodes, with ten questions in an episode. The disc has 72 episodes included, and up to 20 new episodes, available in packs of 10 each for $4.99 each. All the questions are multiple choice, with each answer corresponding to the face buttons on the controller. The gameplay is very simple and could be picked up by just about anyone. The game really becomes something special when you consider the humor behind the whole thing. The game is outright hilarious, and, when you think about it, is really quite graphic. Even though many of the topics are suggestive, they are written in such a way that only the more mature audiences will understand what the host was referring to.
The more people you play with locally, the more fun you are going to have. The game supports up to 4 players locally, with the option to mix in online players, if you want to get some outside competition involved in the action. The game does have a number of specialty questions that it sprinkles in from time to time that help to break up the normal monotony of quiz games. Every game you are guaranteed to run into a “Dis or Dat”, in which the game gives you a topic and you pick between two choices to decide which option better fits the topic. You will also play a “Jack Attack” at the end of every episode, which mirrors the notion of a lightning round. The more random questions include “Who’s the Dummy?”, which are questions spoken in gibberish, leaving you to decode the question and answer it, “Nocturnal Emissions”, where the host describes a movie, substituting characters with members of his family and his pets, and “Funky Trash”, in which the host reveals 3 or 4 items, then tasks you with choosing which famous person would have those items in their trash. Lastly, there is a fictional sponsor of each episode who sponsors an incorrect answer somewhere in the episode. If you correctly choose the incorrect answer which corresponds with the sponsor, you get a bonus.
The multiplayer is really only as good as you make it. The more people you play with locally, the more fun you are going to have. The game supports up to 4 players locally, with the option to mix in online players if you want to get some outside competition involved in the action. If you play it with a bunch of your friends while having a dinner party, it is going to be a great experience; however, if you choose to play the game alone, or to play with people online, you’ll be left a little disappointed. The game thrives on the interaction between host and contestants, and it just feels a lot better when you are face to face with your opponents. It would have been interesting to allow video feeds while playing the game, in addition to the voice chat ability. That, of course, is a slippery slope, but would have captured the look on people’s faces that is so critical to the mutiplayer gaming experience. The one new mechanic that they did add to the multiplayer mode is the ability to “screw” the other contestants. When activated, you put another player on the spot to answer a question; if they get it wrong, you get a bonus; if they get it right, you are the one penalized for initiating the screw. It definitely adds something to the mode, and makes it more interactive between contestants.
All in all, You Don’t Know Jack is a highly underrated title. The game has a one of a kind, hilarious sense of humor that is guaranteed to get you to laugh out loud more than once. This is particularly a must own if you are into face-to-face social gaming, and would provide a nice alternative for quiz show fans and those Rock Band fanatics. With the game being $29.99, there is really no excuse why you shouldn’t get this. I highly recommend you try this out; I am sure you will get more value for your dollar than most games in this genre.
This review is based on a retail copy of the PlayStation 3 version of You Don’t Know Jack developed by Jellyvision published by THQ
- Lots of Fun, Especially in Groups
- Quick Paced Games
- Great Sense of Humor
- Better With Friends