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28 Years of Christmas
1995: Memorizing Useless Facts for Game Shows!
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 14, 2002   |   Episode 19 (Show Archive)  

   
The Scoop: Throughout history our greatest game shows have made us laugh, made us think, and stirred debate. Be it the Match Game PM, the Gong Show, or even Remote Control, all game shows reward you for doing something that the viewing public finds interesting. But this is not the way video games worked . or at least, not until 1995!

You Don't Know Jack combined the classic elements of shows like Jeopardy, but twisted them around with pop culture questions; cut throat rules, one hell of a sarcastic host. With thousands of questions and hours of game play, trivia junkies were sitting around their computer as if it was a console. Up to three people could play, and it offered something for even the spectators.

Oddly enough, You Don't Know Jack became a hit, even though it did not feature flashy polygonal effects, violence, or online multiplayer fun. You Don't Know Jack defied all conventions and introduced a generation of slackers to trivia that was fun and worth playing.

The Other Side: If you are one of those gamers who gets confused while watching a
Three Stooges episode, or questions why we even have to learn history, then buddy, You Don't Know Jack is NOT for you. It is filled with intelligent, and often thought provoking questions that might actually make you learn something. And did I mention that it does not offer violence or nice looking polygonal graphics?

The Impact: Even though there have been a number of trivia games since, it's the You Don't Know Jack series that offered gamers the best experience. Regardless of whether it was about Sports, classic T.V., Movies, or just general knowledge, You Don't Know Jack cannot be topped.

It was the T.V. show that was the most effected, however. After years of negotiations, planning, and cast changes, ABC finally aired the You Don't Know Jack show in 2001, staring ex-PeeWee Herman actor, Paul Reubens. After six episodes it was cancelled, and fans of the PC series were left wondering why the show wasn't more like what they remembered. You could not screw your neighbor, there was no call in question, and so many other things that make You Don't Know Jack the exciting game it is.

While not directly connected, Comedy Central's now cancelled game show, Win Ben Stein's Money, managed to resemble
You Don't Know Jack in a number of ways. It's irreverent humor, and more importantly, pun-filled category names, all share a lot in common with You Don't Know Jack. Of course, that isn't the only game show to run strikingly close to the PC game, others, including Street Smarts, can be accused of similar practices.

Where Are They Now?: Sad as it is, Berkley Systems is no longer in business. Flipside currently holds the rights to the You Don't Know Jack series, but even that is in limbo as its parent company, Vivendi Universal, is looking to get rid of its video game divisions. If you don't recognize the name Flipside, it is because they mostly deal with online gaming, and the like. There is a possibility that there will be a Future "Jack", but for now, no publisher seems to know him.
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