From Berkeley Systems, the people that brought you flying toaster screen-savers, comes one of the most approachable games ever. Although this game was released in 1995, it's still my favorite and most-often played disc. What is most immediately noticeable about 'Jack is its frenetic pacing. Much faster and far wittier than television game shows, this game's charm is its simplicity. Instead of concentrating on grinding out the prettiest pixels or the smoothest scrolling, the creators of 'Jack focused on the fundamental building block of good writing. And it paid off, in a BIG way.
While it's akin to TV quiz shows like the ever-popular Jeopardy, YDKJ's clever twist on that genre is its unholy marriage between the likes of Shakespeare and the Sweathogs, Goethe and Gidget, Newton's laws and Fig Newtons. Questions test both classical book-smarts and pop-culture awareness, forcing you to combine these opposing forces and choose a correct answer.
Most startling and rewarding about YDKJ is the sense of realism it creates through its sardonic host, who is never seen but always heard. Two parts Dennis Miller and one part Dennis the Menace, this guy has a line for every situation, and he almost never repeats himself. For instance, if you enter your contestant name as "John," he'll sarcastically reply, "Your parents sure were creative." Little surprises like this, and I won't spoil any more of them, along with a huge stockpile of questions gives this game plenty of longevity. Only after playing it over a hundred times did I notice any repetition--but fear not, Jack-o-philes, an expansion pack of 400 add-on questions is now available.