"I kind of miss the days when games were judged on their game-playing merit alone. I'm a little concerned about how far we (the game industry) are into the licensed four-page-ad marketing blitz era these days, which may be a natural evolution of the industry. But I'm always worried when we put more emphasis on glitz and production values than on the game. That's a trend that looks good for a while until you realize there's no game industry any more. If we don't have gameplay, we can't really compete with other forms of entertainment because we can't do graphics as good as the movie industry and we can't make sounds as well as the recording industry. All we can do that's special to us is be interactive. So we have to hang on to that and make sure we do a good job." - Sid Meier
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Those who find themselves drawn closer to the Saturday Night Live rendition of Celebrity Jeopardy, replete with the surly visages of Sean Connery and Burt Reynolds, than Trivial Pursuit will, odds are, have played Jellyvisionís You Donít Know Jack at one time or another.
The churlish demeanor of the shows host, Cookie, cynically belittling contestants who botch a question complete with the presentation of said trivia is inimitable in that the experience goes out of its way to punch the player in the mouth with humor Ė yet makes it feel as natural as failing out of community college Ė except twice as fun.
While the game recently found releases on multiple platforms, heralding a return for the long-dormant franchise, it seems to be a relatively tenuous return to glory. Thereís a lot to gain from coming out strong, and even more that could be lost should the offering end up floundering.
You Don't Know Jack HD (iPad) Developer: Jellyvision Publisher: THQ Released: April 14, 2011 MSRP: $4.99
Without a doubt, faced with competitors who have been available on the App Store, Jellyvision has successfully come out swinging. Harkening back to their classic one-time PC-only franchise, the game is now presented in a format that is fun, yet conveniently attuned for the iPad-wielding Bourgeoisie to understand, navigate and derive a significant amount of enjoyment out of beyond what a retarded puppy chasing its tail never-ending circles must experience. But for a game that was once confined to PC, an exceptional translation has been made to the tablet device with very little lost in the transitional process.
Arriving initially on iTunes with nary more than 20 episodes of play, comprising 10 questions each and a Jack Attack to close out each installment, one would assume that astute players would be able to devour everything Jellyvision proffered within the span of a lonely, masturbatory-devoid afternoon, but this is a bit far from the truth. This isnít simply a port for the sake of garnering a few fans that happen to carry an Apple device.You Donít Know Jack caters to fans who will remember the series from its onset or those looking for something to pull them away from Qrank or just compliment their daily trivial urges.
After all, itís rare that a game is capable of eschewing the ills that come with attempting to inject so much comedy into its overall design, but YDKJ does this with fluid precision. More often than not, players will catch themselves chuckling or outright laughing, which is usually the result of the gameís host in one way or another. But itís refreshing to see something out of the trivia genre that doesnít feel dry and hokey, but instead revels in itís off-the-wall demeanor.
While absent from the App is what anyone would call real and conducive multiplayer, which is disappointing given the seriesí history for doing this so well, the players arenít totally out of options. Cooperative play in the form of two huddling around a single tablet, answering questions together is one option. Alternatively, gamers prescribing to the ďsharing is caringĒ school of thought can hand the iPad back and forth. But, this really doesnít go the lengths to satiate that competitive trivia-answering urge that You Donít Know Jack is so famous in both cult and pop culture for bringing out in people Ė leaving many with no other choice but to play with themselves Ė so itís definitely a feature that would undoubtedly be valued down the line.
Additionally, whereas those 20 initial episodes can become done and over with given enough time, it was certainly welcome to know that Jellyvision would be updating YDKJ at consistent intervals with supplementary content. As of this writing two more episodes had been added and felt like complete accompaniments Ė not just tacked on to humor the gameís audience. Jellyvision has set out to really support the game post-release and itís really showing.