Eurogamer Retro: You Don’t Know Jack Vol. 1

I love you, question four.

After Richard Cobbett’s impressions of You Don’t Know Jack, it encouraged me to go all the way back to the beginning to play the original 1995 edition. And then write about it for Eurogamer. It contains things like,

“It’s a quiz game. And wow, do those usually suck as videogames. The late nineties and early 2000s were a time of great darkness, as those who cared about gaming looked at the best-seller charts and saw inane, lazy crap like the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and Weakest Link games sitting in the top spot, presumably bought by the masses resulting from a mad scientist splicing slug brains into humans. But You Don’t Know Jack was something else. First and foremost, it began as a videogame, despite a few attempts at making television shows out of it. It was intended to be played this way. Yes, it pretends to award prize money, but here it acts as points for a high score. And it was really damned funny.”

You can read the rest here.


  1. MrEvilGuy says:

    I have a brother named Jack! :D

  2. Zanpa says:

    I live in France.
    We were lucky enough to have one version of the game – not translated, but actually created for us, with questions related to French culture – in 1995.
    Since this, nothing.

    I still play the original game from time to time (hell, I even played it twice last week), but me and my friends are around the age of 19 and such don’t have the required knowledge for a fair part of the questions.
    Still, it is a really good way to kill time with 2 friends.

    I can only hope they’ll be releasing a newer version in France soon, but I don’t think this will ever happen.
    (This dumb requirement of having the disc in the computer to play, and the reolution limited to 800*600 are here to remind you of the age of this game. Also, francs in place of euros.)

  3. faelnor says:

    Reading that, it looks really awesome. Being from France, I had never heard of it.
    I love the few questions that are sampled in the EG retrospective and I have a few friends who might be cultured and english-speaking enough to play along. Is there an anthology of all YDKJ titles available somewhere?

  4. stahlwerk says:

    Splendid article and well worth the hassle of VMing Win2k. That last question made me laugh for the better half of a minute.

  5. Dood says:

    The best thing about YDKJ was that there was an absolutely excellent german version of it. I still have Cookie’s voice in my head to this day. Not many games have a synchronisation that matches the original’s quality.

    • c-Row says:

      “Die Sieben, die Sieben, du musst sie einfach lieben…”

      And the ads during the credits were just as hillarious.

  6. Ravenger says:

    I still have my original copy of this. Brilliant game, pity it’s so hard to get working on a modern OS.

  7. CMaster says:

    I think you hit upon part of the reason it doesn’t work as a TV show in the article – that massive team of writers. No host could be as witty off the mark like that, they spend a lot of time preparing this. There are ways around that of course, but it would be relatively expensive as quiz shows go I guess.

  8. McDan says:

    So is there any way of getting this in England? Seems like a travesty if we can’t.

  9. Lu-Tze says:

    It’s eleven minus one plus two minus one it’s eleven.

  10. LionsPhil says:

    This is before they invented Dis Or Dat

    …hunh. I’ve only ever played the ’90s UK release of YDKJ, and it’s got Dis Or Dat in it.

    I spent considerable time getting a QEMU VM running a data projector at 800×600 through a cranky ATi Mobility under cranky X11 with cranky drivers just for that “lose the desktop” joke to work at a party.
    Totally worth it.

    (Edited for screenshot. And I grinned like a loon getting it. Scored£57,500 and got reminded of the term “expanding tricolon” too. :D )