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 5|
October 17, 2018
The Jackbox Party Pack are 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 or so games that are designed to be played in large groups, including in conjunction with streaming services like Twitch.tv and provide a means for audiences to participate.
Jellyvision had been well-established for their You Don't Know Jack series of "irreverent trivia" games. While 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 let go. 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 taking off, so split off 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 their 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 their one-off titles including Lie Swatter, Clone Booth, and Word Puttz, generally designed as single player titles or played asynchronously with other players. One key game that followed this was their 2014 title Fibbage, which was designed to be a game allowing eight players to play against each other simultaneously aided by the use of one of the players using live streaming of their game or 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 decided that they could offer these games in packs, reworking older games to use the streaming capabilities and adding in new titles. 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 titles.
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 the games for the Party Packs was 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/web interface to expand for any of their 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 the 4th pack, 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.
Most games in the Party Packs 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 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. 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.
The Jackbox Party Pack (2014)
The first 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 available on November 6, 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
- Based on the standard format for You Don't Know Jack games, four players are tasked to answer multiple choice trivia questions presented obscurely in the game's "high culture meets pop culture" format. Players score points in the form of money for answering correctly and in a shorter amount of time and lose money for wrong answers. The winner is the player with the most money at the end of the game.
- Fibbage XL
- Fibbage XL expands on the original Fibbage with more potential questions. Each round 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. The player with the most points at the end of all rounds is the winner.
- Drawful 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.
- Lie Swatter
- A multiplayer version of the single-player mobile app that Jackbox released earlier, Lie Swatter 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.
- Word Spud
- Word Spud 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 wins.
The Jackbox Party Pack 2 (2015)
- Fibbage 2
- 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 permit to players to delete all lies except one and the truth of the selection for one question.
- Quiplash XL
- Quiplash had been developed as a standalone game prior to the pack, and 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. The final round, all players respond to the same prompt, and vote for the three best answers of those presented. The player with the most points at the end is the winner.
- Earwax is played by up to seven players. One player is selected as the judge and are 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 three points wins the game.
- Bidiots is described as a spiritual successor to Drawful, playable by up to 6 people. At the start of the game, each player draws two simple pieces of art according to randomly selected categories, though these categories may be thematically related and result in similar visuals (for example, "going to the beach", "getting a tan", and "sunburn"). During the game, each player has a starting pool of in-game money which is used in an auction-style format to purchase the art. During the auction, each work is randomly assigned a secret monetary value based on the category, with those works drawn for that category having the highest value; the game will randomly send hints to players on the nature of this information. Players attempt to bid and purchase the art that matches the given category name while trying to use the auction format to goad other bidders to purchase the art they made in the wrong category. Players have "screws" as in You Don't Know Jack to force another player to bid, and if a player runs low on money, they can take out a predatory loan that will cost points at the end of the game. At the end of the game, the player with the most money, gained by buying low and selling high, wins.
- Bomb Corp
- Bomb Corp has one player as an employee of a bomb factory that must deactivate inadvertently-started bombs as they come off the assembly lines, while other players 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 during the week of October 18, 2016 for Microsoft Windows, macOS, and 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
- Quiplash 2 follows from the original Quiplash, where each player attempts to complete a statement in a humorous way, and the other players vote the best answer. 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 final 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.
- Guesspionage 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 (providing that they are 30% or closer to the answer), and by the other players if they guessed correctly in which direction they were off.
- 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.
- Trivia Murder Party
- Trivia Murder Party is played out in 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. These mini-games take place on "The Killing Floor", where the loser (or multiple losers) of the mini-game are "killed" off and become ghosts. Ghosts still participate through the rest of the game. The mini-games range from random luck, challenges against themselves and the other players, or psychological games like a Prisoner's dilemma choice. The audience collectively plays as a ghost.
- The game proceeds for at least 5 rounds, and no more than 10, until only one player remains alive; if more players are alive after 10 rounds, players subsequently spin the "Loser Wheel" which has a high chance of killing them, until only one player is left.
- The last alive player then attempts to escape by moving across a set of spaces by correctly determining if two presented terms fit into a given category, moving one space for each correct answer. After the first turn, ghosts, including the audience, also begin to answer the same question, but have three terms instead of two, offering the possibility of catching up to the lead. If they surpass the leader, they possess that body, becoming the "living" player. Once the "living" player passes a final space, the game is over.
- Tee K.O.
- Tee K.O. 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 slogan. 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 tee-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 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 have their designs printed to custom-print tee-shirts if desired.
- Fakin' It
- Fakin' It 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 of the game wins.
The Jackbox Party Pack 4 (2017)
The Jackbox Party Pack 4 was released during the week of 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
- Fibbage 3 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. The game 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
- Survive the Internet 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 is the winner, having "survived the Internet".
- Monster Seeking Monster
- Monster Seeking Monster 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 then 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 the game.
- Civic Doodle
- Civic Doodle is an art game similar to Drawful and Bidiots albeit 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.
- Bracketeering is a tournament-style game for up to sixteen players, played across three rounds. On 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 match up. 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 match-ups us 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 Jackbox Party Pack 5 (2018)
- You Don't Know Jack: Full Stream
- You Don't Know Jack: Full Stream is the newest iteration of the series of the same name. 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 a controller, the text-based questions like the Gibberish Question return, new and classic question types are present.
- Split the Room
- Split the Room is a game hosted by an omnipresent cat, creating hypothetical situations. Each player is given a hypothetical scenario with a crucial element missing, and must fill in the blank. Then the situation is presented to the rest of the players, who must decide whether they answer 'yes' or 'no'. The player who completed the situation then receives points based on how evenly the votes were split. The final round, known as 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. Points are awarded similarly to how they are in the main round, but players can earn extra points if they can predict what a certain player chooses beforehand. The style is reminiscent of 1950s TV shows like The Twilight Zone, featuring a muted color palette and mystery elements.
- Mad Verse City
- Mad Verse City has up to 8 players, as 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 players give points to the rap that they feel is the best.
- Patently Stupid
- Each game of Patently Stupid is played in two rounds. In each round, all players are given two fill-in-the-blank prompts that describe an everyday problem that may need solving. The problems are shuffled between players who solve them by drawing an invention with a title and a tagline. Players then pitch their invention, either by presenting it themselves in real life or by having the in-game hosts pitch it instead, and everyone funds the invention they like the most. In the final round, players complete the same prompt which is chosen by a random player from a selection of prompts that were not chosen the round before.
- Zeeple Dome
- In Zeeple Dome, up to six players play as contestants in an alien combat arena, the Zeeple Dome, to take down other aliens. The game is physics based, and has players slingshot their characters across the game's levels, cooperatively working together to eliminate enemies and gain power-ups for their team.
- Use Your Words, a video game similar to games in the Jackbox Party Pack
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