Monday, September 22, 2008

The End is Here

I know I'm a couple weeks late to ride the LHC jokes. This post isn't about that. Really.
(Although, if you ever need to be sure, you can always check...)

No, I'm talking about the end of the online You Don't Know Jack webisodes. One of my favourite weekly time-killers is ending.

Check out the very last episode (100).

The reason is that Jellyvision is getting back in the game. They are gearing up for some more Jack on bigger and better platforms. Not that delivering 7 question time-wasters twice a week isn't huge. They just want to make money for it again. Which I can respect.

With all of the current consoles having up to 4 controllers, and internet conectivities, and ways to download additional content, I can only imagine the sorts of fun that Jellyvision can deliver. In fact, that's what I'd like to do now.

Making Jack Social (again)
YDKJ has always been at its best when played with friends. Sure, you could play by yourself, but you often got mocked for it. By the game. This is a big part of the Jack fun that has been missing from the webisodes. The trivia is great to have, but being stuck alone with Cookie is limiting. The jokes and the wackiness just got better when you crammed three (or more) people around the keyboard to pound out answers. Now with upto 4 wireless controllers, you can have all that fun without having to invade anyone's personal space.

Taking Jack Online (again)
There is also the posibility to revive online play. YDKJ has now gone through three distinct online phases. The first was delivery of full episodes on a weekly basis. You installed a client (which had all the graphics, and a bunch of the generic audio) and streamed the episode you wanted to play. This provided the fun of the full (multi-player) game with a fresh batch of content each week. I'd love to see Jellyvision revive this.

The second phase was online multi-player play. YDKJ5 had an online play mode. Unfortunately it was fairly broken due to distribution and technology limits. Jellyvision put a lot of work into making the buzz-in system fair despite distance and lag. Each side timed locally, and then synced online to determine first buzz. It worked most of the time, but was confusing. You'd buzz in and think that you were first, then a couple of seconds later get bumped by another player. If you could even find other players to play against. Hopefully re-launching on major consoles will make it easier to find other people to play against when you have no firends at home.

The third phase was the one that just ended. It was a nice stop-gap. The content was short, punctual, and formulaic. Acutally, I missed some of the randomness and variety of the full games. I look forward to seeing many of the classic question types and characters return.

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