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Have You Played... You Don't Know Jack Vol 1?

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Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

You Don’t Know Jack [official site] is a series of pop culture quiz games, delivered as gameshows that are taking place inside your computer. I’ve loved them since I first played the original, now titled Volume 1, many years ago, and playing them again recently reminded me why that is.

The questions are clever, working through a combination of pop culture knowledge (be warned – some of this is trickier than intended because the references aren’t quite as timely now), wordplay and surrealism. It’s a quiz that can jump from Shakespeare to I Love Lucy effortlessly, sometimes within the bounds of a single question.

What really sells You Don’t Know Jack is the fictional gameshow environment. There are adverts, sound checks, multiple hosts across the series (the most famous and beloved doesn’t appear in volume 1), and the computer screen isn’t just a display, it’s a window into the world of Jack. It feels like an idea created by a comedy troupe that was later refined into a game, and I mean that as a compliment. I can imagine a live stage version of the show and, indeed, it’s no surprise that my favourite comedic podcast, Hello From The Magic Tavern, shares some DNA with the series.

I was delighted when these games showed up on Steam, having wanted to replay them for years, and I’m glad to see that they hold up.

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Adam Smith

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