Malcolm Owen On June 21, 2004 at 1:34 pm

Obnoxiousness is a fantastic trait usually seen in celebrities, royalty and restaurant waiters. I’m one of these few people too, with my belief that I am always right, even when I am wrong. Sadly, when I’m talking about subject areas that I am slightly knowledgeable in, it turns me into a pseudo-expert, along with the need to look down on all the lesser mortals whom don’t know the difference between PCI and AGP (I have actually heard someone comment on the difference between the two being the difference in colour, which is quite interesting, considering they fixed computers for a living…) and verbally abuse them on their lack of knowledge. This happens a lot in my everyday life, and this coupled with my ability to make pretty damn good educated guesses means that I am seen by many as a genius.

The You Don’t Know Jack series of games is well known for it’s combination of it’s abrasive humour and the questions that make little sense to other people unless they happen to know what planet ALF comes from (Malmac) or other such obtuse items of random trivia. It’s also known for it’s relatively simple format of asking questions whilst you answer them, either as a multiple choice or as a Fill-In-The-Blank style. Occasionally special questions appear, such as the beloved Dis or Dat where you get given a list of 7 items and you have to sort them out into categories (for example, Hawaiian words or Pokemon), running alongside Gibberish Questions where rhyming a strange yet funny sentence with a real phrase, song or saying is the order of the day, the quicker you are the more you get. Slamming with the usual list is the Anagram Question, which plays almost like a Gibberish category, except that it’s an anagram that you have to unscramble (Example: Movie Character "Kink Gong"), and although this is a welcome addition to the usual suspects, it does feel like a last-minute thought. As usual, there is the all-encompassing Jack Attack with the psychotic child from a horror movie kinda vibe going on. The veterans to the series know all about the Attack, where words flying about the screen could match the centre word whilst following a clue, but people new to all of this will catch on pretty quickly anyway.
Talking of catching on quickly, the whole idea of the YDKJ series is to make the game as accessible to new players as they do to old ones. The sign-in guy explains the basic rules, and the host Schmitty chips in anything else you might need to know before a special event happens. For a multiplayer trivia game, the controls are pretty easy too, using the buzzers (Q B and P) and the number keys for most of the game, whilst any questions requiring the entire keyboard are also left unhindered thanks to the whole buzzing in thing. Up to 3 players can take on the game at any one time, making it perfect after-bar entertainment.

YDKJ6: The Lost Gold is a minor departure from other editions in a number of ways. The internet play from 5th Dementia is gone, and so is the ability to play 21 question games. I have a feeling that the rounds have been limited to the "Tournament Mode" 7 questions not only to make the game more accessable to people playing for a few minutes rather than half an hour, but also because there seems to be fewer questions available to people than before. A grand total of 350 questions stands between you and repetition, which for most people playing it occasionally, would make that about 2 months of game time. I rattled through all of them in under 12 hours, but the game forces you to answer as many unanswered questions as possible before allowing you to see previous questions, which some earlier versions of the game lacked somewhat.
This time, the sign-in host is a pirate, apparently stuck in the game following a curse after getting to the Lost Gold, and he pleads for you to gather as much booty as possible to set him free from the "eternal damnation", which is done by exceeding a million dollars in total of all your winnings/losses from the game. If you really want to help the pirate, it’s probably better to play it on your own than play against your friends "Screwing" them (Forcing them to answer a question they probably don’t know the answer to, making their score lower), but since the pirate isn’t exactly a worthy cause, there’s no honour lost by making your loot go further and further into debt. Occasionally, you end up with a special question worth a ridiculous sum of money that has been slipped in by the pirate. This replaces the Impossible questions from before, but they do seem to be a lot easier, all of which have some sort of pirate-based theme, which also freak Schmitty out even more.

The game series’ minimalist styling never won it awards for prettiness, but it did help keep the focus of the players on the question and the audio. The little that you do see on screen (The question text, the answers, the flashy intro for each question, the player numbers and scores) are quite well done and stylish, with the numbers dancing along to the question-answering music, almost picking up their own characters with minor acting at important parts. I never thought I would ever see the number 1 afraid of a giant screw in my life, let alone a game, and it is believable.
Listening to the game is almost like being at a comedy club or hearing a quiz on the radio at times, with various jokes, impressions, speech emphasis and other characters joining in with the show’s proceedings, but it seems to have gotten less edgy than in previous years. It may be Schmitty’s way of saying things this time, but it just seems that the developers were worried about some of the jokes hitting too close to home, and that playing safe was the best choice of action.

You Don’t Know Jack 6 – The Lost Gold continues the legacy that You Don’t Know Jack started, and keeps firing the joke cannons at the other ships constantly. Sure, some of those balls were bad shots, but at least the ship isn’t sinking yet, and hopefully not for a long time to come.


Nice and simple, as always…


Clean and colourful, an extension to the usual low-graphic style used previously


High quality voice-acting, nice music, but a slightly hammy Pirate voice


Big, loud and funny. A good buy for fans of the series and for those more interested in Trivia than anything else.

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