It’s hard to believe that the You Don’t Know Jack series is older than a lot of Facebook users have been alive. Developer Jellyvision brought us the first game almost two decades ago during PC gaming’s CD-ROM renaissance and the game spawned dozens of versions as well as a short-lived TV series starring Paul Ruebens of Pee-wee Herman fame. The series is also known for its crass humor, a factor that became apparent to the ‘rents quick: this wasn’t going to be a game that my brother and I would be playing when we were younger. So now we’re back to Facebook, a place we know oh so well, and YDKJ has found the latest rabbit to sink its claws into: the freemium game. And yeah, it works incredibly well.
YDKJ for Facebook combines everything you know about the game show and everything you know about how dirty and manipulative the average Facebook game’s pay scheme is. For those unaware, you play “episodes” of five questions in which snarky host Cookie Masterson (who’s been around in one form or another since the beginning, like Grand Theft Auto’s Lazlo) narrates all of the clues. They’re multiple-choice questions, but all with a twist or two in the form of a bunch of game modes. “Dis or Dat” has you selecting whether a particular clue is, say, something that was entered in the dictionary or merely a phrase generated by the crapshoot that is Jersey Shore. Each episode feels curated, especially since Cookie’s voiceovers are unique to each one.
Where the game meets your wallet is in how many of these episodes you can play. Oh sure, they give you the first one free and a supply of coins after you’ve won or lost (you never lose points, but it looks embarrassing), and you can even earn extra points by playing every day while other people play the same episode you were in, but these can’t last forever. Unless you’ve got a ton of friends, you’ll be stuck short of a new episode unless you sign up for special third-party offers or, well, whip out that credit card. Still, the game’s business model is relatively harmless and the notification spam is kept at a minimum, unless your friends are super jerks (I may have to recuse myself in that regard).
You owe yourself a spin or two on the YDKJ train. Chances are, it’ll become a few more pretty quick.