Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves
My son Jacob came home from college for winter break raving about this cool new party game called You Don’t Know Jack, which he and his friends had been playing and loved a lot. I regretfully informed him that You Don’t Know Jack (YDKJ hereafter) first became available as an interactive CD-ROM before he was born, and has been available continuously on various platforms since then.
It actually was a new game they were playing; it’s called The Jackbox Party Pack and you can pick up a copy for a mere $24.99 in the Mac App Store. As it happened, my brother and sister in law were in town and wanted to try it, so I bought a copy then and there.
The Jackbox Party Pack features the same YDKJ comedy trivia game you knew and loved in the 90s, but now modernized and updated for the new millennium. In addition to letting players use any mobile phone, tablet, or laptop as their game controller, it also includes hundreds of new questions as well as four new multiplayer games, two of which were even more fun than YDKJ.
The way it works is you fire up The Jackbox Party Pack on your Mac (it’s also available for the PC, Xbox, and PlayStation) and then choose which of the five games — You Don’t Know Jack, Fibbage XL, Drawful, Word Spud, and Lie Swatter—you wish to play.
Choose one of five different and hilarious games.
All players then use their iPhone’s (or other device’s) web browser to visit jackbox.com, where they type in the four-letter room code shown on the screen and join the game where they can buzz in and answer questions with their devices.
Note: I used AirPlay to stream the game from my MacBook Air to my Apple TV, allowing us to see the questions and clues on a big HDTV rather than the MacBook Air’s diminutive 11-inch screen.
This is what you see on your iDevice (left) and on the Mac or TV screen (right) when joining a game.
The YDKJ game is the same comedy/trivia game show you remember from the 90s; the faster you buzz in, the more points you get. But watch out—you lose points when your answer is wrong. YDKJ includes myriad new questions along with many enjoyable types of questions (many held over from earlier YDKJ incarnations), such as Dis or Dat, Who’s the Dummy?, Put the Choices into Order Then Buzz In And See if You’re Right, and the infamous game-ending Jack Attack.
YDKJ is still lots of fun, but we liked Drawful and Fibbage XL even better. The former is a “guess what I drew” game; the latter lets you fool your friends with lies you make up while avoiding lies they make up and picking the (often hysterical) true answer.
This is what you see on your iDevice (left) and on the Mac or TV (right) when you choose your answer.
Jacob says, “The cool part is that it adds an enjoyable social aspect to an all-too-common occurrence — the roomful of people who engage only with their phones.” I agree, but I have to add, “and it’s a ton of fun.”
And that’s all he wrote…