The Jackbox Party Pack
|The Jackbox Party Pack|
|Platform(s)||Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Android (selected systems), Apple TV|
|First release||The Jackbox Party Pack|
November 26, 2014
|Latest release||The Jackbox Party Pack 7|
October 15, 2020
The Jackbox Party Pack is a series of party video games developed by Jackbox Games for many different platforms on a near-annual release schedule since 2014. Each installation contains five games that are designed to be played in large groups, including in conjunction with streaming services like Twitch which provide means for audiences to participate.
Jellyvision had been well-established for its You Don't Know Jack series of "irreverent trivia" games. Though the series had been successful in the late 1990s, Jellyvision had not been able to make the transition easily from computer to home console games, and by 2001, all but six employees of Jellyvision had been laid off. The company focused on developing business solution software, specifically offering software to its clients to help assist their customers for complex forms or other types of support.
By 2008, Jellyvision, now named The Jellyvision Lab, saw that mobile gaming was booming, so it created a small subsidiary, Jellyvision Games, to rework You Don't Know Jack, first for consoles in its 2011 version, then for mobile and Facebook users with the now-defunct 2012 iteration. This last version was a critical success, and led to the studio to focus on developing similar games, rebranding the studio by 2013 as Jackbox Games.
Among its one-off games including Lie Swatter, Clone Booth, and Word Puttz, generally designed as single player games or played asynchronously with other players. One key game that followed this was its 2014 game Fibbage, which allows up to eight simultaneous players, one of whom can use live streaming or play with people in the same room. Other players would participate by using a web browser or mobile device to connect to the streaming player's game through Jackbox's servers and which to provide their answers.
With the success of Fibbage, Jackbox Games decided that they could offer these games in packs, reworking older games to use the streaming capabilities and adding in new games. This formed the basis of the Jackbox Party Pack, with the first pack released in 2014 including updated versions of You Don't Know Jack, Fibbage, a reworked version of Lie Swatter for its multiplayer approach, and two new games. The company saw this as a new development model that allowed them to provide new packs on an annual basis, play around with different game formats, and provide higher value to consumers over one-off games.
Subsequent Jackbox Party Packs have included improvements of existing games, support for more players including the addition of audience participation through the same connectivity approach, better support for content management for streams (as to remove offensive terms in responses, for example), and the ability to create custom games. A key part of Party Pack games is to streamline the ability for players to get into games, and according to Jackbox Games' CEO Mike Bilder, they spent about a year working on building their servers and software to provide a flexible architecture for the player-side mobile and web interface to expand for any of the games, and to avoid having players download any type of app to get started.
According to Allard Laban, creative chief for both Jellyvision Labs and Jackbox Games, they select games to include in the packs through a combination of allowing the team to submit fleshed-out ideas, and through testing various ideas through pen-and-paper trials; Laban stated that for Party Pack 4, they had over fifty play-tested concepts which they narrowed down to four new games, rounding out the package with an improved version of Fibbage. Some games, such as Fakin' It, took multiple years to get the right gameplay and mechanics down to make it an appropriate game for inclusion.
The first six Jackbox Party Packs gained renewed attention during the COVID-19 pandemic as a way for many people to keep up social interactions while maintaining social distancing. Starting on May 1, 2020, Jackbox ran ten special Celebrity Jackbox live streams to support COVID-19 charities, with the celebrities playing various Jackbox Party Pack games alongside audience viewers. Jackbox said that its playerbase doubled from 100 million players in 2019 to 200 million by October 2020 due to society's shutdown. Jackbox Games improved server capacity and streaming service usability, and internationalized a standalone version of Quiplash 2 InterLASHional for French, German, Italian, and Spanish languages.
Most games in The Jackbox Party Pack are designed for online play, requiring only one person to own and launch the game. Remaining players can be local and thus see the game via the first player's computer or console, or can be remote, watching the game be played through streaming media services. All players – whether local or remote – use either web-enabled devices, including personal computers and mobile or tablet devices, to enter a provided "room code" at Jackbox's dedicated servers to enter the game, or can use a Twitch extension controlled by the streamer to let viewers play directly via the Twitch viewer. Games are generally limited to around 8 active players, but any other players connecting to the room after these players are connected become audience participants, who can impact how scoring is determined and influence the winner.
Each game generally has a period where all players are given a type of prompt. This prompt appears on the individual devices and gives players sufficient time to enter their reply or draw as necessary, and can be set to account for forced streaming delays that some streaming services require. The game then collects and processes all the replies, and frequently then gives players a chance to vote for the best answer or drawing; this is often where the audience may also participate by voting as a group. Games proceed for a number of rounds, and a winner, generally with the highest score at the end, is announced.
All games are available on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, MacOS, Linux, Apple TV, iPad, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Nvidia Shield TV, and Xfinity X1. Party Pack 1 and Party Pack 2 are available on PlayStation 3.
The Jackbox Party Pack (2014)
The Jackbox Party Pack was released on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on November 19, 2014, and for Microsoft Windows on November 26, 2014. The Xbox 360 version was released on November 3, 2015, alongside retail editions for these console platforms published by Telltale Games. The Nintendo Switch version was released on August 17, 2017.
You Don't Know Jack 2015 is for 1-4 players and is based on the standard format for You Don't Know Jack games. Up to four players are tasked to answer multiple choice trivia questions presented obscurely in the game's "high culture meets pop culture" format. The players earn money for answering correctly and in a shorter amount of time and lose money for wrong answers. Multiplayer games also feature "screws," where one player can force another player to answer immediately and can earn a bonus if the "screwed" player answers incorrectly. The player with the most money at the end wins.
Drawful is for 3-8 players and is a drawing game. Each round starts with each player individually given a playful phrase and a drawing canvas on their local device. They have a short amount of time to draw out that phrase. Following this, each picture is presented to all players, and the other players must enter a phrase they think the picture represents. Then, all those replies, along with the actual phrase for that picture, are presented to the players to make their vote of what they think the original phrase was. The artist of the picture gets points for every vote that guessed their original phrase, while those who wrote other phrases get points for votes their phrase gets. The player with the most points at the end wins.
Word Spud is for 2-8 players and is a word association game. A word is presented and one player, at a time, comes up with a word that is associated with it. The remaining players vote if the association is good or not. From there, the next player starts from the new word to come up with a new association, and the game continues. The player with the most votes for their associations at the end wins.
Lie Swatter is for 1-100 players and is a multiplayer version of the single-player mobile app that Jackbox Games released prior to The Jackbox Party Pack. The game challenges up to 100 players to correctly guess if presented trivia statements are true or not, "swatting" those that are false. Players earn points for correct answers and lose points for incorrect ones. The player with the most points at the end wins.
Fibbage XL is for 2-8 players and is an expansion of the standalone game that Jackbox Games released prior to the pack. In the first two rounds of the game, a player selects from one of five random categories, and an obscure fact is presented to all players with a missing word or phrase to complete it. Each player uses their local device to enter a reply for those missing words; if they enter the actual right answer, they are asked to enter something different. Then, the game presents all replies, including the correct one, to the players, who then select what they think is the right answer. Players score points for selecting the right answer, but can also score if other players select their reply, so players are encouraged to provide seemingly correct answers for their replies. In the final round, "The Final Fibbage", one more question is provided for all of the players to answer. The player with the most points at the end wins.
The Jackbox Party Pack 2 (2015)
Fibbage 2 is for 2-8 players. As compared to its predecessor, Fibbage 2 offers new sets of questions and incorporates the ability for the audience to vote on answers which can provide an extra scoring boost to the players. A new option called the Defibrillator permits players to delete all of the lies except one and the truth of the selection for one question.
Earwax is for 3-8 players. One player is selected as the judge and is given a choice of two categories. The category is presented to the other players, and these players are each given six random sound effects. Each player then selects two of the sound effects, in order, as a reply to the category. The judge player selects which combined sounds make the most humorous or fitting answer, and that selected player wins a point. The first player to get three points wins.
Bidiots is for 3-6 players. It is a spiritual successor to Drawful. Players start by drawing images for randomly-assigned categories. The players then bid on these images as if at an art auction, trying to be the highest bidder for the art that matches specific categories, earning bonus prizes for doing so. Players can use screws (similar to the You Don't Know Jack franchise) to force other players to bid, and if players run out of money, they can take out a predatory loan to try to compete through the rest of the game. The player with the most money at the end wins.
Quiplash XL is for 3-8 players. Jackbox Games released it as a standalone game prior to the pack, and it was included in this pack's release along with previous DLC (Quip Pack 1) and "over 100 brand new prompts". In the game's first two rounds, each player is given two prompts to provide an answer to; the prompts are given so that two players see each prompt. Players provide what they believe is a funny answer to each prompt. Then, all players are shown a prompt and the two answers provided. They vote for the answer they think is the best quip. Each vote gains points for the player that wrote the quip, with a possible "quiplash" and bonus points if they get all the votes. In the final round, "The Last Lash," all players respond to the same prompt, and vote three times for the best answers of those presented. The player with the most points at the end wins.
Bomb Corp. is for 1-4 players. One player is an employee of a bomb factory that must deactivate inadvertently-started bombs as they come off the assembly lines, while other players are employees that are given different sets of instructions to help deactivate it. The instructions are specifically obtuse and potentially conflicting, requiring careful communication between players.
The Jackbox Party Pack 3 (2016)
The Jackbox Party Pack 3 was released on October 18, 2016 for Microsoft Windows, macOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, certain Android devices, and Apple TV. It was subsequently released on the Nintendo Switch on April 13, 2017. A version for Xfinity's X1 set-top box was available in January 2018.
Quiplash 2 is for 3-8 players. As compared to its predecessor, Quiplash 2 introduces new prompts, the ability of the hosting player to create new prompts, the ability of the host to censor players, and new "Last Lash" rounds that either requires players to come up with the meaning of a given acronym, complete a caption in a comic strip, or come up with something clever using a given word in a prompt, unlike the previous game's final round, medals determine the points distributed to the players.
Trivia Murder Party is for 1-8 players and has a lighthearted theme of a horror thriller (similar to the Saw franchise). Each round includes a multiple-choice trivia question, with players earning in-game money for being correct, and then a subsequent mini-game if any "living" player got the question wrong. The mini-game may cost the lives of one or more remaining players, who then otherwise continue in the game as ghosts. The endgame starts when only one player remains alive, when all players now try to escape along a darkening hallway: each question provides three possible answers to a category, and each player determines which answers belong to it; the leading player only sees two answers, giving trailing players the opportunities to take the lead and escape first.
Guesspionage is for 2-8 players and has each player, in turn, guess what percentage of people have a certain quality or do a certain activity, such as texting while driving. If there are more than 5 audience members, they are surveyed prior to the turns to get these percentages, otherwise earlier survey results by Jackbox Games are used. Once the current player makes their guess, the other active players can consider if they are higher or lower than the actual value, including opining if they are off by more than a certain amount. Points are scored by the current player based on how close they are. In the final round, one question with 9 choices is given, and the players all have to pick what they think are three most popular answers, with points awarded based on the answer's popularity, the player with the most points after that wins.
Fakin' It is for 3-6 players and is a local multiplayer game where each player has their own connected device. In each round, one player is randomly selected to be the Faker, and all players except the Faker are given instructions that involve some type of physical action, such as raising a hand or making a face; the Faker is not given this information but instead must figure out from the other players what to do. Each player then attempts to guess who the Faker by their actions, with the round ending if the Faker is guessed correctly by all other players, or successfully escaping, after which points are awarded for if at least one player guesses the Faker correctly, everyone guesses correctly, and/or if the Faker escapes capture in each task out of the number allotted (3 for 4-6 players, 2 for 3 players). After the first round, players may select any action they like. The final round is always "Text You Up", where each player answers a number of open-ended questions, while the Faker is given different questions which can have overlapping answers with the questions given to the players (for example, the other players may be asked about a positive trait about themselves, while the Faker would be asked what traits they would look for in a companion). The player with the most points by the end wins.
Tee K.O. is for 3-8 players and is a drawing-based game. Each player draws three images of anything they want, though the game provides suggestions to help. Then each player has a chance to enter several short sayings or slogans. Subsequently, each player is then given two or more random drawings and two or more random sayings, and selects the pair that best fits together as printed on a T-shirt. These designs are then put into a one-on-one voting battle with all other players and audience members as to determine the best-voted T-shirt design and the design that had the longest voting streak. A second round of drawing, slogan writing, pairing, and voting is performed. The winning designs from each round are then put against each other to determine the ultimate winning design. Players are able to order custom printed T-shirts.
The Jackbox Party Pack 4 (2017)
The Jackbox Party Pack 4 was released on October 17, 2017, for Microsoft Windows, macOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, various Android devices, and Apple TV. A version for Xfinity's X1 set-top box was available in January 2018.
Fibbage 3 is for 2-8 players and is the third game of the Fibbage series. The game includes new interactivity with the audience by letting them add their own lies to the selection. It has a new separate game mode called Fibbage: Enough About You that replaces the game's traditional questions with questions relating to the players.
Survive the Internet is for 3-8 players and is a game of user-generated content that takes place on a fictional version of the Internet. One player receives a question that asks their opinion on a topic. Their answer is taken out of context and sent to another player, who is then told to determine what the reply was in response to as if they were on a specific site, attempting to twist the words as best they can to make the first player look bad. All players are then presented with the pairs of original replies and the guessed topic, and vote on which pairing is the most ridiculous. Each vote earns points for the second player and a smaller number for the first player that provided the reply. The player with the most points at the end wins, having "survived the Internet".
Monster Seeking Monster is for 3-7 players and has a horror theme where each player is a disguised monster attempting to date other players. Each round, players start by sending up to four messages to other players; the audience, if participating, use mad lib-style prompts to select phrases to send. Following this, each player selects one other player they would date based on those replies. If two players selected each other, they both earn a heart. Additional scoring bonuses and effects due to the hidden monster power are also accounted for. From the second round on, the monster form of the leading player whose monster form is yet unknown, is revealed to all. The player with the most hearts at the end wins, unless other special conditions are met relating to the player's monster.
Bracketeering is for 3-16 players and is a tournament-style game for up to sixteen players, played across three rounds. In the first round, players are presented with a prompt to complete with the best or funniest answer they can. These answers are randomly placed on a tournament-style grid. The players are then given one of the tournament matchups and predict which answer will win that matchup. Subsequently, each match is then presented to all players and the audience. The answer that gets the highest percentage of votes wins, with the percentage that it wins by tied to how many points those players that guessed that match correctly get. Subsequent matchups use these best answers going forward. After the final matchup, the player that provided the winning reply gets an additional point bonus. The second round is a "blind bracket" where the players are presented with a prompt, but the brackets are based on a different, related prompt using those answers. The third round is a "triple blind bracket" where the prompt at each level of the bracket changes. The player with the most points at the end wins.
Civic Doodle is for 3-8 players and is an art game similar to Drawful and Bidiots with two players drawing the same piece of art simultaneously. In each round, a start of a doodle is presented to two randomly selected players, and they have a short time to draw atop that; this is done in real time allowing the audience members to provide feedback on either drawing in the form of preselected emoji. After the timer is done, the players and audience vote for which drawing is better, with points awarded to both players based on how many votes they received, as well as an additional bonus based on the emoji votes. Subsequently, two more players then draw atop the highest-voted picture. The player with the most points at the end wins.
The Jackbox Party Pack 5 (2018)
You Don't Know Jack: Full Stream is for 1-8 players and is the newest iteration of the You Don't Know Jack franchise. The game is updated to feature similar streaming-friendly features as most other Party Pack games. This includes support for up to eight players and an audience. As the game now uses both mobile devices and computers as controllers, text-based questions like the Gibberish Question return, new and classic question types are present.
Split the Room is for 3-8 players and presents hypothetical situations with a fill-in-the-blank component to each player. Players try to fill in the blank such that when the question is presented to the other players, the yes or no responses will "split the room", with more points for an equal division of answers. The final round, which is always the "Decisive Dimension", gives prompts with two options where the first is already completed. Players complete the second answer and everyone else picks the option. The player with the most points at the end wins.
Mad Verse City is for 3-8 players. Players use giant robots trying to out-rap their opponents. In each round, players are given who they are trying to out-rap, and use their device to fill in various prompts given to them. The game then runs through each rap using a text-to-speech voice, and once the two players have oit-rapped each other the other players have to choose the rap that they feel is the best. Each vote gains money for the player that did the best rap.
Zeeple Dome is for 1-6 players. Players are contestants in an alien combat arena, the Zeeple Dome, to take down aliens. The game is physics based, and has players slingshot their characters across the game's levels, working together to eliminate enemies and gain power-ups for their team.
Patently Stupid is for 3-8 players. Players first write out problems that need to be solved. These are randomly distributed among players, who are then given the opportunity to draw and name an invention to solve that problem. Players are then able to present their invention to the other players (either using their own voice or allowing the game to present). The other players then use in-game money to fund the invention. Inventions that surpass a funding minimum get a bonus to their inventor. The player with the most funding/money at the end wins.
The Jackbox Party Pack 6 (2019)
Trivia Murder Party 2 is for 1-8 players. It is the sequel to Trivia Murder Party and follows a similar format. In addition to new questions, it includes new Killing Floor mini-games and special items which can help or hinder their ability to survive.
Role Models is for 3-6 players and has players vote for a category and then try to match the other players (including themselves) to one of the items from that category. Players receive points if any of their matches is the majority favorite of the group, and extra points can be won if the player marked their answer as "99% sure" and was correct. The player with the most points at the end wins.
Joke Boat is for 3-8 players and has players make jokes based on a selected list of words brainstormed by players at the start of the game. During the first two joke rounds, players are given the start of joke prompt with a missing word they select from a random selection of the brainstormed words. They then finish the joke. Pairs of jokes are given to the other players to vote for their favorite. Each vote gains ponts for the player that made that joke. The final round has players take an existing joke setup and try to write a better joke than the original one. The player with the most points at the end wins.
Dictionarium is for 3-8 players. Players first create fake definitions and words, and then sentences using those words. The game can either be played where the players are given a fake word as a prompt or a fake slang saying. Players create a definition and then vote on their favorite to continue. Players then create a new word as a synonym of the definition, and finally a sentence using that word. Each vote for a definition, synonym and sentence gains points for the player that made those. The player with the most points at the end wins.
Push The Button is for 4-10 players and takes place on a spaceship, where one or more of the players have been assigned as an alien and the other players, as humans, must eject the aliens before a timer runs out. Each round, one player determines an activity on the ship (such as drawing or writing a response to a question) and selects a number of the other crew to participate. The assigned human players get one prompt, but the aliens get a different one that would likely cause some confusion. The results are shown, and players have the time to determine if any response seems suspicious. In later rounds, alien players have "hacks" they can use to either get the correct human prompt or send the alien prompt instead to a human player. At any time before the timer runs down, a player can "push the button" and select the other player(s) they believe are an alien. All other players then vote if they agree or not. In order for the players to be ejected, a unanimous vote must be passed, otherwise, play resumes. If the vote succeeds, the game reveals if the players were correct or incorrect. The alien players win if the human players vote out a human or fail to vote out the aliens in time.
The Jackbox Party Pack 7 (2020)
The Jackbox Party Pack 7 was released on October 15, 2020.
Quiplash 3 is for 3-8 players. It is the third game of the Quiplash series and has the game's signature final round, "The Last Lash", replaced with the "Thriplash", where instead of all players answering the same prompt, each pair of players only receives one prompt instead of the usual two, but must answer with three separate responses. The game's two-dimensional style art has also been replaced by clay animation.
The Devils and the Details is for 3-8 players. Players become a family of devils, trying to work together to complete a list of mundane chores in certain scenarios, such as while a relative is visiting, with each successful task scoring points towards a net score. Many chores require verbal communication from one player to another to complete which can create confusion. As the players are devils, they are competing against each other. They can complete "selfish" chores, which provide extra points to the player who completed them but also build the selfishness meter. When the selfishness meter is full, it creates a family emergency, lowering the total score bar and making it harder. The player with the most points at the end wins.
Champ'd Up is for 3-8 players. Players create their own champions via a drawing interface with unusual monikers and skills, similar to Tee K.O.'s T-shirts. The players' creations are then pitted against each other with players and the audience votes for the best one in each round based on how fitting a character is for the given category. Each vote gains money for the player that made the character. The player with the most money at the end wins.
Talking Points is for 3-8 players. One person, as a presenter, is shown a series of text and picture slides which they are seeing for the first time, and has to talk through these to impress the audience, which votes with their reactions. Others in the game act as assistants to the presenter to select the next slide that the presenter will see from a random selection, which could either help or throw off the presenter.
Blather 'Round is for 2-6 players. The game's style is very similar to Charades, where players have to pick a place, story, thing, or person to describe using sentences. While one player gives hints as to what they have chosen with fixed sentences, the other players must try to guess what the presenter is describing. Points are rewarded to the describer and whomever correctly guesses what word they chose, as well as those who contributed a helpful hint. The player with the most points at the end wins.
The Jackbox Party Pack 8 (2021)
The Jackbox Party Pack 8 was announced for release in the fall of 2021. As with previous Packs, it will have five games.
Job Job is for 3-10 players. The game involves taking other players' sentences and shuffling their words to create responses to stereotypical job interview questions.
The Poll Mine is for 2-10 players. The game involves selecting your top three choices in different categories and the path to escape will be marked by the top three most popular answers.
Jackbox Games said that sales jumped by up to 1,000% from March to May, 2020, the first three months of the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. Though sales since leveled off after that point, the company said that its playerbase still grew, doubling from 100 million players in 2019 to 200 million by October 2020 due to the ongoing pandemic.
PC Gamer said "the Jackbox games are the perfect way to beat the social distancing blues". Wired considered the Party Packs, along with Fall Guys and Among Us, as popular narrative-less games during the pandemic, as they helped to avoid the "cultural trauma" the pandemic had brought.
- Use Your Words, a video game similar to games in The Jackbox Party Pack
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