|Developer:||Berkeley & Jellyfish|||||Release Date:||1996|||||Systems:||Windows and Mac|
Today on Super Adventures, I'm going to find out what you get when an award-winning children's multimedia edutainment developer teams up with the people who brought the world the 'flying toasters' screensaver, as I take a look at You Don't Know Jack: Movies.
I've actually played a few of the You Don't Know Jack games before (I can't remember which, there's a million of the things), but I'm certain I've never seen this one before, and all the questions will be entirely new to me. The game itself is pretty old though, one of the oldest in the series in fact, released just two years after the original. Unfortunately it wasn't really designed for newfangled resolutions like '1920x1080' or '800x600', so if you're reading this on a computer then you're likely seeing it the exact same way I am: as a tiny box in the middle of the screen. To be honest I'm just glad (and a little surprised) that it's running at all in Windows 8.
The thing about the You Don't Know Jack games though is they don't have any computer opponents, and there's no online play in this one, so to get a proper game out of this I had to bring a volunteer in to man the player 2 buzzer...
The game supports up to three players, but my keyboard's only so big and the game doesn't support controllers, so I'll be keeping this just between the two of us. I could mention some other stuff here, like how the game offers a choice of either a 7 or 21 question game, but what I should really be talking about right now is the audio.
There's not much going on on-screen at the moment, but as far as my speakers are concerned I'm in a busy TV studio about to start filming the next episode of a quiz show. I can hear people setting things up, the crew chatting between themselves, fake adverts playing in the background, and a guy called Raul asking us a bunch of questions before we begin. Like whether we want a 7 or 21 question game.
We decided to go nuts and went with the full 21 question experience, and mecha-neko has been given the honour of selecting the first category. Not that it matters who chooses, as I haven't got a clue what any of these could be about and I doubt mecha-neko does either.
Oh, I just remembered something I always liked about the games: the interstitial animations before questions. The rest of the game might look a bit lifeless, but man they put the effort into making those question numbers come up on screen.
The host (former sign-in guy Cookie Masterson, now promoted to question asker) has some stuff to say here before the question comes up, and I'll transcribe it for you so that you can have the full You Don't Know Jack: Movies question 1 experience:
"Okay remember the 70s cop show BarettaTM? Well imagine a sequel to The Crow starring the Baretta characters called 'The Cockatoo'."
Holy shit mecha-neko got that before the timer started! Though to be honest it would've taken me the whole ten seconds just figure what the question was asking (What is the Crow's weakness?) and even then I wouldn't have known the answer.
I figured at first that I'd have the advantage in this 90s quiz game, seeing as I never get around to watching anything these days, so there's fewer irrelevant post-1996 films cluttering up my brain. But now I find out that I'm up against someone who's actually seen The Crow!
I... don't actually know if that's unusual. It seems like it should be.
"CUT THE RED WIRE!"There you go, that's a way more interesting way to introduce a question number. I'm satisfied now!
"WATCH OUT, IT'S GONNA BLOW!"
I'm feeling a lot more positive about this question, as I'm onto their tricks now and I'll be able to cut right to the point of it.
The answer's #3! I'm certain of it... because mecha-neko picked it after just 2 seconds and got paid an extra $1000 for it. There's still 19 questions left though, so I'm not worried.
Is it just luck, or does he really know everything instantly? Stay tuned to find out I suppose. On the plus side, if he carries on like this I'll be finished with the game three minutes early.
Well I have no idea who Judge Wopner/Wapner is, or what "The People's CourtTM" is, and I've never heard of a series called "Witness", so I'm going to make a guess and say... hey have you noticed that they don't always capitalise the first letter of the answers? That's kind of weird.
And I'll go with answer number... '3'.
Sadly it turned out that Witness did not star a talking dog. Or a blind woman, which was mecha-neko's guess. Because it's actually that Harrison Ford movie from the 80s where he hides out in an Amish community, and I feel dumb for not getting that the instant I glanced at the second answer. I need to get my brain in gear and take this back
Anyway I'm down another $2000 due to this embarrassment and mecha-neko was able to swoop in with the right answer to become two grand richer. Still, we're only a quarter of the way through, this is still anyone's race!
Hang on, this is new. The game's taken pity on me for failing so often and so completely, and it's let me have the next question all to myself. The host explains that it's a 'Dis or Dat' round, where seven movie titles will pop up on screen and I'll have to decide if they're a John Grisham story, or a Stephen King film. They're promising me +$500 per correct answer and -$500 for everything I get wrong, so... no pressure.
Speaking of databases, as far as I know the questions in this (and pretty much all the YDKJ games prior to 2011), are picked out from the set randomly, so if we played this for long enough we'd likely start seeing repeats show up. Obviously this would give people blessed with a memory even more of an unfair advantage for those questions, especially if they were picking them out deliberately from the category list.
The answer was 'Top Secret' by the way, which was also Val Kilmer's first movie, trivia fans! Also George Clooney was playing Batman in 1997, get it right YDKJ:M.
turpentine, acetone, and benzene Dip would be more corrosive to cartoon characters than a glass of Coke.
Did Superman 2 come out in 1979... no that was 1980. What about Death Wish? I'm not trying to get the answer, I'm just trying to keep myself entertained for these 8 long seconds.
(The answer was '10').
Mecha-neko on the other hand actually paid attention in his French lessons, and walks away with another $2000 for picking 'Ready to Wear'. Well he sits leaning over a keyboard with another $2000 anyway.
We both chickened out in the end and let the timer tick down to zero, but we got a pretty decent Stallone impression from the host as he explained what we should have picked (poet), so I don't feel so bad about how it turned out.
Now I just have to hold on to this lead for seven more questions!
I'm going to finish this game in second place, and it's going to be by $5999. I'm calling it now. Anyway, the answer was #1, neither of us got it, onto question 16.
Here's a slightly more interesting and relevant fact for you, if you try to get creative with the text box and type in something the host finds offensive, an event occurs. I take my quiz games far too seriously to try it myself (plus I don't want to let mecha-neko win), but here's a youtube video showing the reaction you get.
I haven't actually seen a Harold Lloyd movie, but I'm a big enough Jackie Chan fan to watch his DVD special features, so I must have seen all of Lloyd's big stunts by now, or at least the ones Jackie ripped off.
Now I just need $1500 more and I've caught up. That's only half a question!
Hang on, this puts me in the lead doesn't it? I'm $4500 in front with just three questions to go! I might actually win this.
Looking at the way the next question is going it MAY INCLUDE SPOILERS FOR CHINATOWN, so utilise appropriate discretion. I mean it might not actually be a big deal, I haven't seen the movie so I haven't got a clue, but I wouldn't my screenshots to actually ruin a film for you.
It'd be funny though if whatever this is doesn't turn out to be anything close to important, like maybe it's written in the synopsis on the back of the box. Then again the original Planet of the Apes has the bloody Statue of Liberty on the DVD cover, so you can't trust boxes man.
One question left now, one last chance to find out which of us is the better human being, and more worthy of existence.
I like how the other words floating by give clues about what the next films will be. I'll be ready when Towering Inferno inevitably shows up.
C'mon I totally pressed that button first! That's absolute bullshit.
It happened again! Well okay on reflection he may have actually been quicker to the buzzer that time, but I think it's forgiveable that it took a split second for me to drag the movie 'Daylight' out of my long term memory. I mean it's not exactly Cliffhanger is it?
It's funny to think of Daylight being listed alongside Poseidon Adventure and Towering Inferno as a disaster movie that players may have heard of, but I guess it would've been pretty well known back in 1997, being a big budget Sylvester Stallone blockbuster. Actually now that I think about it, that film was released in December '96, so it's possible that this game made it to shelves before the Daylight DVDs did.
Just going to sit here and wait it out. Only a few seconds left now. It's going to end any moment now.
And the winner is...
Everyone knows that You Don't Know Jack was of the few video game series to get its own (short lived) spin-off TV series, but did you know that comedy legend Groucho Marx once hosted a quiz show himself for a decade or so? He took the job when he realised that he could use the game show structure as an excuse to chat to the contestants and improvise jokes. Also he probably appreciated the money, but the point I'm making is that all comedians throughout all of history have always found quizzes to be a bit boring and this game was clearly put together by comedians. Every question has to be clever, every answer is set up for a joke, and you can't just win rounds by being right, you have to be faster at cutting through all the words thrown at you and figuring out what's being asked.
It'd be absolutely unbearable if the writers weren't so funny and the cast wasn't up to the task, but they are, so it's all good. There's a ton of dialogue in this, with unique responses for practically anything you can do (or not do), and it really is like being at the recording an episode of a TV comedy quiz show... only without the live studio audience. Humour is subjective, but it made both of us laugh and there was only two of us here, so it's got a 100% success rate in my experience. I don't even live in 1997 America and the jokes still worked on me.
Somehow though my interest started to wane by the end, and not just because I was getting destroyed by my esteemed opponent. Maybe I don't have the attention span for a full 30 minute interrogation, or maybe I was getting frustrated that I was slipping up on things I should've known due to the deliberate comedic obfuscation, I'm not sure. Perhaps we should've played one of the general trivia games instead so I could've been more comfortably clueless. All I know is that I've got this weird urge to watch Daylight again, and maybe some samurai films.
Mecha-neko asked me afterwards if I wanted to play a second game of YDJK: Movies, so he apparently liked it well enough, but I had to say no. I'll play it again one day for sure, but not today.
That's it for the 'Y' games by the way, all that's left now are a handful of 'Z's and then my alphabetical order gimmick is finally done with forever. And I'm never doing that again.