If you’ve been studying your GameCola archives, you may have conceived the notion that I have a soft spot in my heart for trivia games, a genre that is typically neglected by your typical gamer. This is true. For whatever reason, I’ve always picked various forms of Jeopardy! as my default party title (I have very small parties), instead of something more gamerly, such as basically any other non-trivia form of electronic interactive entertainment. I guess the main reason I like trivia games so much is that they require little-to-no skill, meaning that I can actually beat other human players every now and then, providing that these human players still regularly dine on paste. In any event, the two games I have for you today aren’t your typical trivia titles — they’re more like parodies of trivia games.
You Don’t Know Jack is the more famous of the two, having spawned roughly fifty-seven PC titles, such as “You Don’t Know Jack: Sports”, “You Don’t Know Jack: Movies”, and “You Don’t know Jack: Interior Design”. The game is bare bones in design, with having you and up to two friends compete to see who can get the highest score by answering questions. Occasionally the question won’t be just a four-choice multiple choice question, and you’ll have to do something totally zany. This zaniness involves having to decide whether a phrase belongs to one category or the other, in what is dubbed a “Dis or Dat”. The main edge this game has over other trivia games is its humor, which sadly, not everyone actually finds to be funny.
Another game not everyone (or, as one might argue, anyone) finds to be funny is “Who Wants to Beat Up a Millionaire”, the question-mark lacking parody of Regis Philbin’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”. You know that kid you’ve had to sit next to in class before? The one who constantly cracks jokes, despite that at best all he gets is some polite laughter from a generous soul? The one who smells slightly of stale dirt? This game is a lot like that kid. Your host, Egregious Phillin, is quite possibly the unfunniest man ever conceived by any video game developer. He’s even worse than the host of MTV Remote Control for the NES, if for no other reason then you have to actually hear him talk. The gameplay ain’t so great either. Instead of just answering questions and using lifelines to earn lots of money, you answer questions and use lifelines in order to beat up a chosen millionaire. Beating up the rich folk plays like a stripped down boxing game, except somehow less fun. During your assaults you periodically take away the millionaire’s money, and the way you win is to get your person down to $0.00. This takes approximately as long as Persian Gulf War.
In all honesty, there’s really no contest in this war of the trivia games parodies. You Don’t Know Jack wins by a landslide, due to superior gameplay, jokes that are at least sometimes funny, and a welcome lack of characters named “Sheik Abdul Chickpea”. Though, to be fair, most games that aren’t “Bubsy in: Close Encounters of the Furred Kind” have those edges over Who Wants to Beat Up a Millionaire. Stick with Jeopardy!.
Winner: You Don’t Know Jack (PSX)