Review: You Don’t Know Jack (2011)
Reviewer: Olen Bjorgo
You know what I love? Hilarious bits of knowledge and trivia. Do you know what else I love? Fun. And as luck would have it, You Don’t Know Jack happens to deliver on both of these fronts. With the recent success of the Facebook version of the game (which I fully recommend), I feel it would be appropriate to review the last console edition of the game that came out in 2011 since this site caters more to console and PC games at the moment, and some of the questions in the Facebook game are borrowed from this edition.
Tell me you don’t hear George Takei in your head right now.
For those who don’t know, You Don’t Know Jack is “the irreverent trivia game where
pop culture meets high culture,” and has been around since 1995. As such, it has
a sizable library of games to play from, but, like most trivia games involving pop
culture, can be a bit dated in its older entries. While the series has had a number
of hosts, the most popular and well-
I should start off by saying that while the animation and graphics for announcing each of the ten questions can be funny and quirky, such as the number 6 being a robot or that the number 3 performs in a sendup to a Bollywood musical number, you’re going to see a lot of dark purple screen and white text. As to be expected, a trivia game is not going to be a whole lot to look at most of the time. However, the funny transition animations for each question and the cutscenes that separate each game’s rounds are what sets You Don’t Know Jack apart from your average trivia game. A personal favorite is the animation for a type of question called Funky Trash in which a short funk beat is played while the camera bobs up and down towards a dumpster while singing about how our garbage can say things about us. It only clocks in at a couple seconds, yet it does its job by preparing you to figure out which famous person’s trash Cookie has stolen this time.
All close, but if you answered anything but Xanex, your English teacher
would like a word with you.
The audio throughout has small snippets of music of various genres fitting its direct need, but the music is nothing to write home about. What is of real note, however, is the voice work. This is not a game to play with the mute on because you’ll miss a massive amount of the game’s humor. I can say with certainty that Cookie’s commentary and presentation of the questions is what makes the game. In conjunction with numerous other minor people who assist in making the show run, and at the expense of several poor interns, the few interactions Cookie has that doesn’t involve berating the player are pretty amusing.
The controls, for lack of a better word, are simple. You either press a button corresponding to an answer, or you don’t. The only time that there’s some variation or challenge is when you press a trigger button on your controller and use the control stick to pick which player you want to “Screw,” or force them to answer a question in five seconds. Beyond this, you’re not going to be doing much with that controller.
While Cookie’s commentary makes the game, it’s the feeling that you’re in a trivia game show that makes the experience of it. With each game sponsored by eclectic and disgusting products (Cockroach Butter and Lawn Wax to name a couple), commercials playing in the main menu of the game, and the score measure in how much money is made through each of the three rounds, it certainly feels like you were on a TV show when you play against two or three friends either by your side or online.
Complete with TMZ commercials!
All in all, the game is a fun and enjoyable experience for the first two rounds that
consist of five questions each. The largest downside is the third round, the Jack
Attack, in which whoever gets the right answer gets a whopping $4000. To put this
is comparison, the highest possible amount you could conceivably gain from the regular
questions is $1999 in the first round and $3998 in the second round: you have to
pick the right answer in 0.01 seconds since you only have 20 seconds per question.
This means that if a player was losing the first two rounds, they could win the whole
game if they answer fastest. But even in spite of this, You Don’t Know Jack is a
fun party game with seventy-
Controls & Mechanics: 5
Atmosphere & Experience: 7
Entertainment Value: 7
Consoles: PC, (Xbox 360), PS3, Wii, iOS
Developer: Jellyvision Games
Release Date (U.S.): Feb 8, 2011
Release Date (U.K.): N/A
Release Date (JP): N/A
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