evhkwick's You Don't Know Jack (Wii) review

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Partytime! Without All of that Annoying Waggle!

  You Don't Know Jack has been around for a long time, but has been absent in modern console generation until now. Jellyvision, famous for their hit-or-miss trivia cavalcade, has brought us seven hundred and thirty questions ripe for the answering. 

      Jack Attack!: Potent trivia knowledge required, or it'll ruin just about everything for you.
      Jack Attack!: Potent trivia knowledge required, or it'll ruin just about everything for you.
The gameplay here is standard fair for YDKJ fan, with Cookie Masterson returning as disembodied hostess with the mostest, and several returning trivia variations. An episode consists of ten queries pulling from art, popular culture, and quantum physics textbooks, split across three rounds. The second round of questioning is identical to the first except the point values are doubled, and the third round, the Jack Attack, can ruin even a perfect run throughout the first two. Jellyvision has a lot of faith in their formula; there is no real deviation in any of the title's 73 episodes.   
The episodes are how the game structures a single match, and always contain the same questions. Like seeing Star Wars for the first time, no episode is as much fun as it is the very first time it's played. This creates a very real finite lifespan, and will only last as long as it takes you to complete each of the episodes. DLC has been announced to inject so life after the disc content, but who knows how long You Don't Know Jack will see new episodes before its inevitable cancelation. 

The multiplayer doesn't add much to the experience as much as it is the experience. The game is flat and quickly uninteresting unless you're sharing your couch with fellow trivia buffs. Adding more than one contestant allows for variations for the different segments of the show, and throws in one screw for each player. The screw can be used during any question and forces a player of your choice to answer the question within five seconds. A wrong answer surrenders winnings, but if that player answers the question correctly, the screw screws you. 

Beyond the gameplay, YDKJ has an amazing sense of humor that most trivia competitions don't utilize as much as they should. Cookie's snide remarks about incorrect answers, correct answers, or just about any possible action you can select throughout the match add a lot of personality that Regis couldn't muster up in any of the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire titles. The potent questions, played with a not-so-serious demeanor really makes for a great competitive experience with light-hearted ribbing after the fact. Having played more than a couple trivia games in my day, coupled with my love of booze-fueled bar trivia, really makes YDKJ stand out. I'd easily prefer to stay at home with a few friends, a couple of six-packs, and a copy of YDKJ than go out and risk having conversations with strangers any time. 

All of that being said, this game has little to no appeal as a single player experience. This is a party game. This is not a title you can run out and buy (for the low price of $30 I might add), shed the plastic wrap, and play right away...unless you have siblings, really cool parents, or friends already stationed. You'll get a decent amount of hours out of YDKJ (a typical episode running about fifteen-to-twenty minutes) with a great shelf-life if its only used during gatherings. But after all of the episodes have aired and the pop culture references dated, You Don't Know Jack will get a lot of time to become acquainted with it's box. 

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