These last couple weeks I haven’t been feeling too well. I must have caught whatever flu it is that’s going around the office right now. There’s nothing to do now but stay home and watch TV all day. Of course, there’s nothing good on during the day, and all I end up watching are game shows. So, if I’m stuck with game shows all day, I might as well be the contestant.
I actually have several game show games in my collection. They’re always good for a quick break. But today I’m going to be playing Jeopardy! Junior Edition for the NES. There are two reasons for this. First, Jeopardy is practically the definition of a trivia game, and all other trivia games are just derivatives of Jeopardy. Second, I’m not good at trivia, so the Junior Edition will make me feel smart, or so I hope. Let’s start the game and see how very wrong I can be.
Before anything else, I need to point out the graphics. As anyone who has seen the show should know, it’s 95% white text on a blue background. The remaining 5% is shots of the contestants. Since this is the Junior Edition, the contestants are obviously children. But I’m not sure the character designer has ever actually seen a child before. These characters are demonic, with soulless empty eyes. Whenever they get an answer right it looks like the hysterical laugher of a psychopath right after a kill. Please, someone track down the character designer and get them some help.
Onto the game itself. You’re allowed to play with up to 3 people, or against the computer. You can also pick which of the demon children you’ll play as, though they’re all about equally horrible. It’s not really that important of a decision though. This game is all about the trivia.
If you’ve never actually seen the show, then first, welcome to the outside world. I hope it treats you better than whatever rock you crawled out from under. The gameplay is simple, there are 6 different categories with 5 questions each varying in price and difficulty. Pick a category and a price value, and then solve the trivia question based on the clue.
Even though this is the Junior Edition, some of the questions are actually pretty hard. How the heck am I supposed to know what kind of animals they raise on Australian farms? Sometimes the computer will guess without knowing the right answer either, and for some reason they speak Q*Bertese when they do. I guess it’s partly to give you a hint, but it’s not actually very helpful.
After clearing the whole board, it’s time for double Jeopardy. The gameplay is the same, except now the points are doubled. It’s fun when you head into double Jeopardy with such a huge lead over the other players.
The only other game features of note are the hidden daily double questions. These are randomly hidden around the board and give you the opportunity to wager up to all your money on the question, doubling your winnings if you wager it all and answer correctly.
Of course, this game came out in 1988, so almost 28 years later some of the questions can feel dated. I don’t know who Lacey is, so how the heck am I supposed to know who her partner is? Oh of course, Cagney, that answer doesn’t help me any. What show is that even talking about?
Clearing the board yet again brings us to Final Jeopardy. In this final round, you can wager up to all of your money in one last chance to win. The question can come from any category and as the final question, can often be very difficult. Hopefully you had a good lead going in, and didn’t foolishly risk too much on this final question.
Gameplay – 9 / 10
The game is really simplistic, so there isn’t really anything to fault. The controls are quick and responsive, making it easy to type in your answer within the time limit. The only thing I can really fault the game on is the Q*Bertese answers. At least a wrong answer would have made some sense instead of just gibberish.
Graphics – 8 / 10
Again, there isn’t really anything to fault. Most of the game is just text. It did lose some points for having demonic children contestants. But at the same time, those demonic children make the game funny. So I can’t take away too many points.
Audio – 5 / 10
The audio is the only real thing I can fault in this game. Jeopardy is known for a small handful of audio clips, and yet they weren’t used in the game. Most notably are the audio clip that plays when the daily double is picked, and the theme music playing for Final Jeopardy. These are really the only things it needed to have, and it didn’t. This is doubly disappointing because the Jeopardy theme was used on the intro screen. It’s so iconic that it just doesn’t make sense not to use it during Final Jeopardy, especially when it’s already programmed into the game.
Story – N/A
Total Playtime – 0h 31m
It’s a short game, but there are tons of questions. You’ll be playing for quite a while before you start seeing repeats.
Total Deaths – 0 Deaths
The contestants might have been the spawn of hell, but I managed to survive!
Overall Score – 8 / 10
I can’t really fault an old game for being old, but that’s pretty much this games only fault. The characters look weird, but they are so bad that they become funny and quite enjoyable to see. Then there’s the slight disappointment of not having the Final Jeopardy theme playing at the end. But really, it was a solid adaptation of the show, and one I will probably regularly come back to for a quick 30 minutes of fun. In fact, I’ve actually already played it a few times. I only recorded one game, which I kind of regret now because I ended up playing about 6 games total. I even played it with my 7 year old daughter and she loved it. Her favorite part was actually the crazy reactions from the contestants. So again, I can’t really fault it as being wrong if it’s so enjoyable.
When do I get my check?
I hope you enjoyed Jeopardy! Junior Edition. If you did, like and follow me on Facebook or Twitter. Also leave your comments, suggestions, and recommendations. If you’re feeling real generous, you can even Donate to help me keep the site going. Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you next time.