You Don’t Know Jack

9 Overall Score

Written by on March 11, 2011 in [, ]

Which element of the classic arcade game Donkey Kong does NOT represent a simple machine?

Y) the stack of barrels                                          X) Jumpman’s hammer

B) Donkey Kong’s elevator                                 A) The slanted girder ramps

(Answer below)

Think you have the intelligence of Ken Jennings? Did you scoff at Watson as he outwitted the human race? Well then, you probably don’t know jack! But take heart, for there is still a game for you!

You Don’t Know Jack is a game for those of us who may not have the intelligence of Ken Jennings, but love pop culture and testing our wits against friends and online foes. Though I (Lauren Mae) was not familiar with this game back when it was a hit in the 90s, Loren was. We were excited to get our hands on a review copy for the Xbox 360 and embark on a ridiculous journey into YDKJ’s tongue-in-cheek world. We fired up the game and jumped into a local multiplayer match.

The game starts out pretty straightforward; opening titles like a TV show. You’re allowed to name your own contestant, which can be as simple as your gamertag, or Marty McFly (Loren’s choice), or you can say that you plain don’t care. If you don’t care, you’ll be assigned a name. If more than one person chooses “I Don’t Care,” themed names will be chosen: “Hot” and “Not”, “Tito,” “Janet,” “LaToya,” and “Jermaine”, etc.

Once you’re all situated, the zaniness ensues. There are three rounds per episode. The first round consists of 5 multiple choice questions that you’ll have to answer in 20 seconds. These questions are not your traditional game-show fare. We’d call it a mash-up of general knowledge and quirky puns (see earlier question). Unless, you get screwed by your opponents.

When the game begins, you’re outfitted with a screw, an important strategical device, sort of. The screw forces an opponent to answer within 5 seconds. If they guess wrong, you get their cash. If they guess correctly, you’re the one who gets screwed. We were screw-shy the first few episodes we played, not wanting to anger the other spouse, but now the screws always come out in the first round.

Another feature of the first round is the Dis or Dat. In local multiplayer, the player with the least amount of cash is given a chance to redeem themselves. For example, a player must identify whether a tweet came from either the Dalai Lama or Taylor Swift. The 140 character phrase pops up, and the player has 30 seconds to get through 7 choices. Other players are not left out of this round, however. They may steal the lesser-scoring contestant’s cash by answering correctly before the other, only if the original player answered incorrectly. Answering correctly and quickly, the lower-scoring player can make quite the comeback. My (Loren’s) favorite Dis or Dat was to choose whether a phrase was the name of a major newspaper or a depraved sex act.

The second round is similar to the first, only scores are doubled, and there is no Dis or Dat. The third round is called the Jack Attack; a fast-paced race to the win. Players must match up two clues correctly by hitting the A button before their opponents, banking $4,000 per correct answer. An incorrect match will result in a major loss of the same amount, so hasty answering will kill your score. Lots of swear words and angered second guesses emanated from both our mouths during the Jack Attack rounds.


Online multiplayer basically works the same way. You can jump into an anonymous match, or party with your friends. The only big difference is that everyone plays the Dis or Dat question, and you have the option of screwing any of your opponents.

The things we loved about this game were plenty. The Wrong Answer of the Game is often a play-on-words hidden in the selections during the first two rounds. Guess it, and your score goes up $4,000 if found in the first round, $8,000 if found in the second, and you get to walk away with an awesome prize! Who doesn’t wish they had a Fascist Fish? Or a waterbed crib? Or weasel jerky? Or a toaster that imprints US President’s faces onto your toast? You get the point.

The intro to each question took us by surprise. With catchy jingles and cutesy personification, sitting through the routine of a match is livened up. RIP #4. We also enjoyed the themed questions like Funky Trash, Nocturnal Admissions, and Cookies Fortune Cookies Fortunes with Cookie “Fortune Cookie” Masterson.

The other great thing about YDKJ is the ease of gaining achievements. They’re not stingy with gamerscore either; answer 10 animal themed questions correctly, and you’ll get 40G. There are achievements for playing solo on a Friday or Saturday night, achievements for playing YDKJ on the 4th of July instead of celebrating independence, and even an achievement for getting -$1,000,00 during the Jack Attack. We don’t recommend you try that one until you’re at least leveled up to the status of Unicorn.

The most disappointing part of this game was its inability to allow multiple local players play online against other contestants. Loren and I wanted to play online with some friends, but to our dismay, only one of us could join the game. We tried to circumvent it by starting a party, but to no avail. Loren, nice guy that he is, decided to occupy himself otherwise while I kicked some major butt. We’d really like to see this feature be modified. We loved playing YDKJ locally and would love to play together with our friends online. Perhaps the developers will change this, as I know we’re not the only ones who feel this way.

The only other note we have is that this game may not have great replay value. Once you’ve played an episode, knowing all the answers becomes too easy. That is, unless you are looking for the elusive Wrong Answer of the Game. We’ve not played the DLC, but imagine this is an apt addition to the original 73 episodes, and even comes with its own achievements.

All in all, if you’re looking for a reprieve from hours of grinding, shooting, and monotonous trivia, You Don’t Know Jack may just be the game for you. But don’t take our word for it.

Answer: Y) the stack of barrels

A copy of You Don’t Know Jack has be provided to The Married Gamers for review and evaluation.


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Author: Lauren Mae View all posts by

2 Comments on "You Don’t Know Jack"

  1. Marcia Webb May 30, 2012 at 7:37 am - Reply

    How did this get a 9? I love the franchise but got bored with the game after a couple months.

  2. Erik Johnsen May 30, 2012 at 9:53 am - Reply

    Guess the reviewer had a good time with it. Probably wasn’t rated over longevity though…

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