Jeopardy! Sports Edition

Imagine this: you get the call-up. You’re going to be on Jeopardy! You hit every textbook, every question in every version of trivial Pursuit, watch past episodes, research the buzzers… you’re 100% ready to go.

Then you get there, they slap a baseball kit on you and make you hold a bat in your other hand. Welcome to the SPORTS Edition. Prepare to be embarrassed.

“What the fuck?” you might ask. “Alex, what is this shit? Ask me questions about quarks and protoceratopses and James Joyce and Paula Abdul and shit! What the fuck is this shit? I don’t even know who Fay Vincent is!”

WHAT?
WHAT?

You start to hyperventilate. Someone from off-stage comes on during the commercial break, and, mercifully, paper bags you. Another comes and replaces your hat; you’ve managed to sweat through it already. He threatens you, quietly, in your ear: “stop fucking sweating or I swear to God I am going to rip out each of your glands, one at a time.”

Oh... my... god. Oymygodohmygodohmy GOD.
Oh... my... god. Oymygodohmygodohmy GOD.

Alex might have heard. You look at him:

Submit, HUMAN. You are on JEOPARDY now.
Submit, HUMAN. You are on JEOPARDY now.

His cold, uncaring eyes burn a hole through your pathetic, sportsless head.

You watch in horror as each answer comes up more perplexing than the last, as your rivals buzz in and answer “Wrigley Field” or “George Steinbrenner” flawlessly nearly every time because, apparently, they’re the only two things in baseball.

You manage to hold out with a modest score of $-800 by Double Jeopardy, and start turning around your fortunes. I’ts not until Alex starts asking you about whose number 34 was retired at Auburn University (a question you find, later, isn’t even easily Googled) that panic sets in again. You look to him for even a shred of mercy, but all you are greeted with is:

YOU DO NOT KNOW AUBURN'S #34? YOU DISAPPOINT ME. EVEN BO KNOWS THIS NUMBER.
YOU DO NOT KNOW AUBURN'S #34? YOU DISAPPOINT ME. EVEN BO KNOWS THIS NUMBER.

I had a nightmare like this once. Fuck this game.

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Jeopardy! Deluxe Edition

Jeopardy! Deluxe Edition

Jeopardy! Deluxe Edition
Jeopardy! Deluxe Edition

It’s always hard to recreate game shows in a different medium.  I have self-respect, so I’ve never played one before today.  I lowered my standards to please my loving audience! Ya bunch o’ ingrates!

The game is as you expect: Alex Trebbek dubbed voice overs for a couple of things–but not the actual question reading–and your standard array of generic characters.

You even get to play as Bubbles!
You even get to play as Bubbles!

The questions seem to be picked from the show.  That is, they aren’t dumbed down for an American audience.  I find this somewhat strange.  Japanese RPGs were dumbed down for American audiences because they were “too hard”, yet Gametek figures people will sit through all the simulated effects of the tv-show just so that they can show that they don’t know some obscure fact from 20 years ago? Seems like an odd market split to me.

Who fathered a child where?  And why? Ugh.
Who fathered a child where? And why? Ugh.

While playing, I found myself a lot more curious about the randomizer, the question selection, and the comparison algorithms.   You have to answer textually.  Does that mean spelling counts?  It certainly doesn’t in the real Jeopardy.  Or is there an intelligent comparison algorithm that is more forgiving?  Playing with the computers is also somewhat frustrating because they are painfully slow.  You spend most of the game waiting.

Verdict: If I were really stuck on reliving the nostalgia of the tv game show, I’d much rather watch the SNL skits, or play a variant that adapts well to the computer medium, like You Don’t Know Jack, which is essentially the same thing, without the interminable waiting simulator.

Nice suit, Trebbek.  Does it come in men's?
Nice suit, Trebbek. Does it come in men's?