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Does Anybody Know Jack?

After eight years, You Don’t Know Jack has returned. Bolstered with information and trivia from the modern world, the 2011 incarnation of the popular irreverent trivia game includes brand new information, facts, witty jokes and expanded features that make it an improvement over past versions.

Unlike the previous version, which was a random assortment of questions, the new version provides a meticulous selection of challenges to test the player. The questions are not only ludicrously entertaining but educational, as the game forces players to use their own knowledge and sense in any realm, including mathematics, politics, religion and science. Each question comes with four possible answers. The narrator, Cookie Masterson, keeps the game exciting with sarcastic comments about the players’ abilities and knowledge (or lack thereof) and can berate those deserving such treatment while still making it entertaining in a way that would be boring with any other game show host.

Elements retained from the original versions include the act of “screwing,” in which a player can force one other player to answer a question in five seconds; if the second player gets it wrong or fails to answer it, he is “screwed,” and he loses a large amount of game money, which goes to the perpetrator. However, if he gets it right, he earns the money, and the would-be screwer loses it. Another retained element is a segment called “Dis or Dat,” in which the player with the lowest score presses a different butt on than everyone else on the controller when an object that fits the description assigned to each butt on appears on the screen. Correct responses earn money, and incorrect ones lose money. An example of a hypothetical “Dis or Dat” challenge could be “A Greek actor’s name” or “A skin disease;” if the answer that appears is “Marina Sirtis,” one would press the butt on with the Greek actor, or press the other butt on if the answer is “melanoma.” These can be tricky, and they are not always obvious. The “Jack Attack,” which occurs toward the end, has players compete to press the “A” butt on first when a word associated with another given word pops up on the screen, earning or losing a relatively huge sum of money, and deciding the ultimate winner.

For this new 2011 version, many more exciting features have been included to keep up to date with modern specifications. Furthermore, the maximum number of players, at least in the console versions, has been increased from three to four. A new highlight is the “Wrong Answer of the Game,” in which a parody of an advertisement is presented at the beginning of the game; during the course of the game, one of the wrong answers will relate to the advertisement. Whereas normally one would vie for the correct answer, a keen-eyed player can select the “Wrong Answer of the Game” and earn $4,000 or $8,000 in Round two, when earnings are doubled. For example, an advertisement might mention a “bee electric shaver,” and the incorrect answer choice would relate to hornets. One would select the hornet and win a large award or be penalized.

One new special question is “Who’s the Dummy?” Here, a ventriloquist’s dummy narrates a question in broken English, and one must select the best and equally garbled answer. Another is “Funky Trash,” in which Cookie digs through a given trash dump and calls out items, and the player must match the correct literature with which they are associated.

Viewed as a comeback for the You Don’t Know Jack franchise, the 2011 release is definitely an upgrade in the modern gaming world, since new episodes are continually being made available at cheap prices. The console versions (i.e. XBOX 360 or Nintendo Wii) are considered to be better than the PC version, which has a two-player maximum and does not feature online play. You Don’t Know Jack is the definitive irreverent trivia game that is both hysterically addictive and a perfect party game.

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