Developer(s): Accent Media Productions
Publisher: Philips Interactive Media
Jeopardy! is a video game adaptation of the long-running game show. Though there have been many, many video games based on Jeopardy!, technically the CD-i version is a unique creation, not a port, so I’m tagging it as a “console exclusive”. I probably don’t need to explain what Jeopardy! is, but just in case: you choose questions from a grid of 30 possibilities (five each in six categories), with higher-dollar value questions being more difficult. If you buzz in and guess wrong, the money is deducted from your total. There are two rounds of this, and then there is one final question you have to wager your existing money against before you’ve seen what it is, only knowing the category.
You can choose up to four players, which is odd, as Jeopardy! the TV show only has three contestants. If you choose one player, you are truly playing alone, with no simulated computer opponents. So essentially it’s you, by yourself, with no stakes whatsoever, attempting to answer 61 trivia questions. They want Alex to address you by name, so there’s a long list of names you can choose from, but since my name is Dante, it’s not in there. No worries, you can choose a “nickname” like Poindexter or Bambi, all of which apparently Alex had to say sincerely say into a microphone in 1995.
Alex Trebek does all the between-question voiceovers, and he reads out every correct answer if you get it wrong, but he doesn’t read the questions themselves, which is handled by someone else. There are also a few seconds of digitized footage of Alex Trebek at the beginning and end of the game. The developers did nothing else to take advantage of the CD-i’s multimedia directive, such as questions with video or some kind of visual component (which they sometimes have on the show, like when some Jeopardy! employee goes to Italy to point at a statue or something).
When you buzz in, you type in your guess (it pre-enters the “What is” and “Who are” bits for you, thank goodness), and a list of possible answers populates on the left-side, meaning you don’t have to type in the whole thing. Also, if you’re trying to pick between two answers, and you’re fast enough, you can start typing in one, see that it’s not among the choices, and quickly delete it and try the other one. The Final Jeopardy question asks you to write your answers down on pen-and-paper — I guess so you and your friends can’t cheat off each other — and then asks you whether you got it right or not.
There is no reason to take this adaptation all that seriously, so I didn’t. I played it cooperatively with my wife, and we had a great time trying to figure out the answers together, and laughing at our seemingly boundless ignorance. We still watch the TV show occasionally, and I feel like this game was harder. Have they dumbed Jeopardy! down since 1995? Like the $200 question in World Capitals wanted me to know the capital of Honduras, which is apparently Tegucigalpa. That was the $200 question.
Graphics – 7
It looks fine for what it is, but they could’ve done more with it
Sound – 8
It’s nice to have every question read aloud, even if Alex Trebek isn’t reading them
Gameplay – 6
It’s crazy to me that the NES version has computer opponents and this one doesn’t
Value – 6
I’m sure you could play dozens of games, but will you really want to play them all alone, or do you have multiple friends who are close to your skill-level and willing to join you?
Reviewer’s Tilt – 8
I had a blast playing this cooperatively with my wife and could see us returning to it at least once or twice
Final Score – 7.0