It’s okay to screw your friends – and, even your enemies.
You Don’t Know Jack is the game where Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Lindsay Lohan, and Jersey Shore all come to terms with mathematics, Shakespeare, Sarah Palin and a slew of other totally unrelated topics. It’s Jeopardy meets the MTV generation (even though MTV is getting kind of old now). If you had the privilege of playing the original PC game when Jellyvision released it in 1995 then you know what I’m talking about. This is the game that masterfully interweaved double entendre after double entendre into every aspect of the game.
Now, Jellyvision is back through a partnership with THQ. Once again, the game delivers another raucous game show that will have you spewing milk from your nose, while you curse the name of Cookie Masterson (voiced by Tom Gottlieb), the unseen host who can’t get enough of mocking your wrong answers.
In You Don’t Know Jack for Xbox 360, gamers can play with up to four players locally or through the Xbox Live community. Graphically, the game is bare bones enough for gamers to not experience any lag whatsoever in online play. Also, most of the people playing this title online are respectable enough to not rage quit even when they’re losing by tens of thousands of dollars (or points).
Jellyvision builds the atmosphere of being in a studio game show from the moment you power on the game. You will hear behind-the-scenes commentary from the green room, elevator music and random dialogue between production and staff. If you’re not careful, you can easily fall into the trap of just listening to the humorous and sometimes disturbing banter without ever playing the game.
Once you’ve passed by the Sirens, you can jump right into single player competition. Be warned. If you play a 1-Player game, Cookie will mock you. This will be the first of many overt jabs from your sarcastic host. In keeping with the game show motif, You Don’t Know Jack is broken down into 73 episodes. There are five available immediately, and the rest are unlocked as you complete episodes.
Throughout the game, there are commercials and sponsors. The sponsors are actually integrated into the gameplay through the Wrong Answer of the Day. If you pay attention to the sponsor’s name, you can pick up 8,000 bonus points for selecting the ‘right’ wrong answer. It’s a nice addition to this fast paced trivia game. You will be looking to beat the clock and beat your opponent (if you have one), while trying to stay on top of the daily wrong answer. It’s like looking out for the keyword on Pee-wee’s Playhouse or saying “I don’t know” on Nickelodeon’s forgotten treasure You Can’t Do That on Television.
The game is broken down into three rounds of questions. The first two rounds have five questions each surrounded by Cookie commentary. He will either entertain you or piss you off with his jeers and mostly humorous remarks. Sometimes the joke just doesn’t land, but for the most part it does keeps the show lighthearted and fun – especially, if you’re playing in a group setting.
The first two rounds have nine short multiple-choice questions and one DisOrDat question. The DisOrDat gives you two categories, such as Celeste teas and paintings. Then you are given seven names and must decided if that name is a Celeste tea or the name of a painting. The third round is the Jack Attack round. A clue is given at the top of the round. Then, a giant word will fly towards you accompanied by eerie music. At the same time several words (in a smaller font) will pop up on screen. You must select the correct word that matches with the giant word.
When playing against an opponent you can also “screw” them. Each gamer is given one screw and can force an opponent to answer a question in a limited amount of time.
You Don’t Know Jack plays like a fine wine; it gets better every time you play. That’s partly because several questions won’t make sense the first time around. The style takes some getting used to. For instance, some questions fall into the category of Nocturnal Admissions. The question involves a dream Cookie, which is based off of a dream. The only problem is the characters are replaced with people like Cookie’s mom. There are also the “Who’s the Dummy” questions. In this category, a puppet replaces B’s, P’s, and N’s in asking the question, raising the level of difficulty. Once you get used to the style, you’ll have an easier time in figuring out each clue. However, the first time will be very difficult because the wording of the questions are not as direct as they would be in a game like Jeopardy.
By the way, if you thought you could cheat the game by just replaying an episode, think again. The game shuffles up the questions so that they’re completely different each time. While I’m sure that if you play an episode enough times you will start to see repeat questions pop up, most gamers will probably not spend the time in doing so.
You Don’t Know Jack is an excellent game that will delight older audiences looking for diversity when hosting gaming parties. The humor is delightfully irreverent and will keep you entertained, as long as you have a high tolerance for snide game show host remarks.