Internet-times, they are a-changin'. In the past, all you had to do to show you were smarter than your Facebook friends was post something on your wall that was just nerdy enough to bewilder people who would pretend to know what you're talking about. But now you have to prove how s-m-r-t you actually are, thanks to Jellyvision Games's You Don't Know Jack for Facebook.
The ridiculously irreverent trivia game is now tailored to the Facebook generation with shorter episodes (five questions each), asynchronous competitive play, and more social connectivity than you knew you wanted (just wait until a "friend" posts his or her first scoring brag on your wall).
At a press preview last week for the new Facebook version, I was really impressed with how snazzy the game looked and played, and learned that I didn't know as much as I thought about You Don't Know Jack….
1. That bald head with wide, frightened blue eyes is not YDKJ host Cookie Masterson.
Straight from the mouths of Tom Gottlieb (the voice of your favorite satiric host), general manager Mike Bilder, and marketing director Marc Blumer: That shiny pate just belongs to some poor, nameless mascot who never speaks and has had his head stamped an unspeakable number of times. Well, his "official name" is "The YDKJ Head." Cookie prefers to maintain an air of mystery, so you will never have the privilege of gazing upon his condescending face.
2. Cookie has talked…and talked…and talked.
Gottlieb estimated that he's recorded over 10,000 hours of Cookie-dialogue over two decades of snarking. Malcolm Gladwell, of the 10,000-Hour Rule from the book Outliers, would assert that makes Gottlieb a world-class expert at voicing extremely sarcastic fictional gameshow hosts.
3. Those twisted, irreverent trivia questions don't spring fully formed from the mind of an evil genius…
They spring from the minds of many evil geniuses. Jellyvision staffs five dedicated writers along with several contract writers who collaborate on each and every question. The studio recruits a lot of these jokesters from the Chicago comedy scene to get that Jellyvision flavor we know and love to hate. By the time that trivia question hits your screen, it's been touched by multiple writers, producers, and voice actors for input. Sort of like the town bicycle.
4. The database/recording program/electronic overseer used by all of Jellyvision is named…Funkmaster.
I just thought that was cool. Also cool: Jellyvision developed this master repository and facilitator of trivial snark completely in-house.
5. The phrase "You don't know jack" most likely comes from slightly derogatory origins (even without the expletive that's usually found at the end).
According to Neatorama, one of the meanings of "jack" springs from its Middle English form, "jakke," which referred to any lower-class male. Because the English really enjoy looking down on people, "jack" evolved to mean "insignificant things" or "very little," so when you tell someone, "You don't know jack," you're saying they know very little…in a double-negative-y way. Oh, slang.
You Don't Know Jack is now in open beta on Facebook with over 165 episodes available to play and three completely new episodes released per week. I will be playing it a lot.
GamesBeat 2014 — VentureBeat’s sixth annual event on disruption in the video game market — is coming up on Sept 15-16 in San Francisco. Purchase your ticket now to save $200!