Jack is Back!
I was a tried and true Jackophile in the mid to late 90s. Many a weekend I would scrounge together a few friends (and, too often as to be kind of sad, played solo) to pop in a YDKJ game into the PC for a good time. It was the polar opposite of quiet family Trivial Pursuit nights (unless someone got drunk and made fun of everyone when they got a question wrong). Ah....summer nights.....
Oh yeah, the game.
You Don't Know Jack subscribes to the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" adage, bringing back the producers, the Screws, the Dis or Dat, the Jack Attack and, most importantly, Cookie Masterson (voiced by Tom Gottlieb). Cookie IS YDKJ. There have been other hosts of the game, but none came close to just feeling right for the job than Gottlieb. He's the perfect smartass host.
There are a few new additions to the formula, and all of them are positive. Now, instead of one player buzzing in and answering a question, each player chooses an answer and earns a cash bonus depending on how fast they are. This lets everyone in on the fun while also rewarding those with the fastest reflexes. Plus, there is also a sponsored "Wrong Answer of the Game", a specific wrong answer that earns the player a cash bonus and a fabulous prize! This actually lends a little bit of replay to the episodes as the answer is never too obvious to find (there is a clue in the sponsor of the episode).
Instead of a large database of questions to pull from, the game is broken up into 73 specific episodes of10 questions and a Jack Attack. This is a positive and a negative; the positive is that if you haven't played an episode before, all the questions and the experience will be brand new to you (and with 73 episodes, it will take a while to burn through them all). However, once you play the episode, there really isn't much incentive to play it again until it's been so long you can't fully remember the answers (or you want to find the Wrong Answer of the Game). There is already a DLC pack of 10 new episodes for $5 with promises of more to come, so odds are you won't be hurting for new content that quickly.
Obviously, you want to play this game with other people as playing alone just isn't fun at all. Fortunately, there is support for up to 4 players both locally (though you need controllers for each person. If you still have some Scene It controllers laying around they are supported) and on XBox LIVE. The game keeps track of what episodes you have already played, so it's easy to avoid repeats. There are also online and local leaderboards to find out which of your friends is best at really irrelevant trivia.
Overall, it's a great thing that Jellyvision Games decided not to tinker too much with what had worked for them for all those years and decided to show a new generation of gamers the essence of what hooked us back in high school. They know their Jack.