Of all the long-running syndicated TV game shows, Jeopardy! has proven to be one of the hardest to recreate. For a game show that is so complex to port to a game console there are a surprising amount of different versions. Alex Trebek has taken the video game console tour; he's been on the NES, Genesis, PlayStation, CD-i, Nintendo 64, Sega CD and dozens more. With so many different versions you would think there would be at least one the stands above them all. But there isn't. It just goes to show, Jeopardy! is an extremely hard TV game show to recreate.
The downfall has always been the controls, typing out letters with a D-Pad is no fun at all. And just when you finally get used to the crummy control you still have to getting the spelling one hundred percent right all the time. Spelling something wrong was as good as getting the answer wrong, the computer was not lenient in any way. And don't you dare leave a "The" out of your response; the computer was picky to a fault.
The Game Gear version of Jeopardy! suffers from all of these complaints and manages to add a few new problems to the mix. Typing your responses out is especially difficult thanks to the Game Gear's D-pad, and some of the answers and questions are kind of hard to make out on the small screen. And like all other versions of the game, this port of Jeopardy! suffers from a computer that doesn't want to accept what you type ... even when it's right. It only takes a few misspelled words and misplaced words before you stop having any fun with this game.
Another problem I have with the game is that the categories are terrible; they are needlessly difficult and obscure. How many Game Gear owners have a working knowledge of 'The 1940s' or 'Fashion'? That's not to say that there aren't good categories, but thanks to the game's limited memory you'll run into them far more than you would like. Overall I don't think the game's questions fit the portable game system it was released on.
Thankfully there are ways to make this experience less painful, this Game Gear cart features a way of playing two players at the system. Each player is assigned a ringer (such as the B-button or the D-pad) and it's up to both of you to look at the screen and call in. Playing this way can be fun, but it won't take long before you and your friend go searching for a more exciting Game Gear cartridge.
Jeopardy! does manage to do everything the syndicated game show is known for, but somewhere along the way it just stops being fun and becomes a chore to play it on the Game Gear. Until somebody masters voice recognition technology this will most likely be the fate of all future versions of Jeopardy!