The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
In the mid-‘90s, Jellyvision unleashed a PC quiz game called You
Don’t Know Jack onto an unsuspecting public. Its blend of quirky trivia
and smug sarcasm caught on in a big way, spawning an array of sequels,
ports, and TV and online game-show adaptations. It’s been a decade since
the game has been available on consoles, and the new installment—known
simply as You Don’t Know Jack—is a great reminder of why it became such a
phenomenon in the first place.
At its most basic,
the game poses a series of 10 trivia questions to up to four players,
followed by a lightning round of questions called Jack Attack. Host
Cookie Masterson keeps the show running in a format that’s inspired as
much by game shows as morning-radio sketch comedy. There are fake
commercials, clever bumper animations between questions, and recurring
characters and in-jokes. Writing is obviously paramount to a game like
YDKJ, and the majority of the questions and jokes are top-notch.
For example, here’s a question called “I Heart Atom”:
Albert Einstein had written a romantic comedy about the atomic
relationship between neutrons and electrons, which Jenifer Aniston flick
would have provided the most appropriate title?A) The BreakupB) The Object Of My AffectionC) He’s Just Not That Into YouD) Leprechaun
is a fairly representative YDKJ question, which requires a working
knowledge of both ordinary and pop culture. Part of the fun of the game
is trying to decipher what exactly is being asked, and being the first
to buzz in. Dis or Dat questions are another highlight, which require
players to sort items by category. I especially liked one that had me
determine whether proper nouns such as O-Zone, Cutter, and Take That
were boy bands or brands of insect repellent.
Each session lasts
about 15 minutes total, and the game includes more than 70 different
episodes—and THQ promises more will be available as DLC after the game
is released. While it’s certainly possible to play alone, that
experience is lonely guy gaming at its finest—either get together with
some friends or connect online for the best experience. It’s a
competitive experience, but it’s also a great social game. You
Don’t Know Jack is proof that games don’t need to be excessively complex
in order to be fun. Really, there’s not much to it aside from pressing
the buttons that correspond with then right answers. Dinging the game on
its simplicity really misses the point, though. If you have fond
memories of the series or are in the market for an uproarious
multiplayer game, it’s time for a Jack Attack.(The answer to the earlier question by the way, is C) He’s Just Not That Into You.)
Email the author Jeff Cork, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.