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Video Game of the Week – You Don’t Know Jack

To describe You Don’t Know Jack, the new trivia game from THQ, as irreverent, as some of the early reviews have, doesn’t quite do it justice. The Simpsons or Jon Stewart’s Daily Show are irreverent. You Don’t Know Jack is in an entirely different league, far worse – or far better – depending on your point of view.

Technically, You Don’t Know Jack isn’t actually new; it’s a re-make of a trivia game that first appeared 15 years ago. But this latest version uses great writing, comic timing, and skillful presentation to transform a regular quiz game into a highly entertaining romp through modern-day society.

The subject matter can vary wildly but each question includes some attempt at humor. I say “attempt” because some jokes fall flat and others will just make you groan. But all the questions are intelligently constructed and a lot of them are simply laugh-out-loud funny.

Most of the questions have a basis in current-day pop culture and nobody is immune. From Tiger Woods to Taylor Swift, everyone is there to be tweaked or mocked, and the off-screen quizmaster (Cookie Masterson) doesn’t waste any opportunity to drag a little sleaze into the proceedings.

You Don’t Know Jack is divided into 73 different episodes. Each episode has a different theme and asks 10 different questions. Up to four contestants can play at the same time, either locally or online. Questions are largely of the multiple choice variety. The faster you answer each question, the more money you stand to win or lose. Once everyone has answered, the host explains the correct answer, again using every opportunity to inject a little humor.

Each player is given one “screw” per episode, which can be activated at any time to force a player of your choice to make a right answer. A successful screw earns a big cash bonus, but if your screw backfires, then you’re, well, screwed. Each episode ends with a Jack Attack, where players need fast reflexes to identify matching pairs that appear on the screen.

Clearly You Don’t Know Jack isn’t for everyone. A lot of the questions will go right over the heads of younger family members, while the frequent sexual references, toilet humor, and off-color language is guaranteed to make Great Aunt Sally blush, if not faint right there in the living room. But for most adults – and teens – You Don’t Know Jack is a breath of not-so-fresh air; a hilarious party game that’s perfect for family nights, having friends over, or those times when you’re on your own and all you need is a good laugh.

You Don’t Know Jack is rated “T” for Teen (crude humor, drug reference, language ,mild blood, sexual themes) by the ESRB. Check out the ESRB video game ratings and content descriptors at ESRB.org

Publisher: THQ
Platform: Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo DS
Genre: Trivia/Game Show
RRP: $29.99 - $39.99
Release Date: February 8, 2011
ESRB Rating: “T” for Teen

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