The moderator of You Don’t Know Jack might be the only game show host in the history of celebrity judges, buzzers, and door-number-fours to consistently insult the contestants. (Well, maybe Bob Eubanks on a really bad day.) But Jack gets away with it–plus a whole lot of stuff that Bob Barker has only dreamed of–in a Gen-X answer to the typical trivia game format.
There’s a lot to be said for earlier incarnations of Jack, including the original moderator (newer voices seem to be doing a derivative imitation) and sparse graphics that seemed retrocool in a You Bet Your Life 1950’s fashion. But You Don’t Know Jack–Offline offers Internet connectivity as well as Wired Magazine/Matrix-influenced screen decor.
Aesthetics aside, the brilliance of the game is its intersection of pop-culture history–movie and television characters, primarily–with textbook knowledge. Questions are put through the Jack blender until a quiz emerges that includes particle physics and Starsky & Hutch. Because of the clever (and prevalent) double entendres, You Don’t Know Jack–Offline isn’t appropriate family fare. Instead, pick up a copy for your favorite procrastinating graduate school student. They might not finish their doctoral thesis, but their life will never be the same. –Jennifer Buckendorff