Digital Crave

Cheeky trivia game, ‘You Don’t Know Jack,’ is back

Marc Saltzman
Digital Crave

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You Don't Know Jack, the trivia game series that first debuted on personal computers back in 1995, is now available for Apple's iPad, iPhone and iPod touch (and soon, Android).

Actually, the game debuted on the App Store earlier last year, but a new and free app – tied closely a Facebook version launched in the summer – is now available for download.

There are a few tradeoffs with this new version, but it's still a blast nonetheless.

In case you've never played a round of Jellyvision Games' You Don't Know Jack somewhat resembles a TV quiz show, complete a wise-cracking virtual host who challenges players to answer multiple-choice brain teasers.

The five questions per game combine pop culture with common trivia categories such as math, history, English, science and geography. For example, in your first game you'll likely be asked "Which Looney Tunes character would most likely be taken into a coal mine by an old-time miner to check for poisonous gas"?: Sylvester the Cat, Tweety Bird, Pepé Le Pew or Tasmanian Devil. If you knew miners would often bring canaries in a coal mine, you'd tap Tweety Bird as the correct answer.

Another example: "Which statue is 'Tebowing'?": Michelangelo's David, Rodin's The Thinker (correct answer), Myron's The Discus Thrower and Alexandros' Venus de Milo.

You get the idea.

Each question has a timer: the faster you buzz in, the more virtual money you'll earn.

As with the PC versions of the game, You Don't Know Jack also has question types like "Dis or Dat" – where you're presented with seven words and you must tap what category it falls under. For example, you're asked if the following words are a kind of rice or a condom, and you must quickly tap one or the other when the word is splashed on the screen: Forbidden, Wild, Impulse, Jasmine, Kimodo, Paradise and Sticky.

There's also "Gibberish Questions" that challenge players to guess the meaning of a silly sounding phrase by saying it aloud. For example, a gibberish phrase may be "Cal Frick Bee Boo Man" with a clue that it refers to "a gap-toothed magazine mascot." The answer is Alfred E. Neuman. Another example: "Slime is bunny!" is really "Time is money."

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you don't know jack

The fifth and final question in a round of You Don't Know Jack is always a "Jack Attack" question, a tougher multipart question that's worth the most cash.

While not mandatory, you're encouraged to sign into your Facebook account to compare your scores with friends who've played the same specific episode, plus you can challenge other Facebook friends at the end of every episode and also share your results, and boast and taunt friends through Facebook. Naturally, spreading the word on Facebook is a marketing tactic – used by many game companies – but you can also choose to play anonymously against strangers.

The app also has a store that lets you spend real money to buy upgrades and game bonuses, ranging in price from $1.99 for a small token pack to $16.99 for a "huge" one.

Be aware this new You Don't Know Jack version is free to play but only once per day. Well, that's what the app says, though I was able to play a few times in a row. Not sure if this was a glitch but it was a welcomed one.

Another shortcoming is you need an Internet connection to play. If you're on an airplane without Wi-Fi access, for example, you can't play You Don't Know Jack at all.

Overall, this zany and irreverent trivia game is well-written, humorously delivered and full of personality. The questions are smart, challenging and cleverly fuse pop culture references – like One Direction or reality TV – with familiar trivia categories. As long as you're ok with the abovementioned restrictions you'll no doubt have a blast playing You Don't Know Jack.

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