I recently played a game unlike anything I have ever played before. Actually, it was a series of games unlike anything I have ever played before — much different than your typical Mario Kart or your run-of-the-mill NBA 2K. “Jackbox Party Pack 3” is the latest of a collection of interactive, multi-player mini-games from Steam, the largest gaming distribution platform in the nation.
It offers a genuine gaming experience with friends and boasts a unique set of five games. This caters more to what I would call the “grown up” game genre — meaning it targets a more mature audience, whether it be through general trivia or recalling miscellaneous knowledge. It’s a completely different experience than your average video game console.
While playing, I felt like I was interacting with a game show host, as the gameplay and even the introduction, where the game explains the details of the rules, came with a sort of personality to it. A repertoire of sarcastic remarks and engaging commentary definitely will draw first-time players to become long-time fans.
Most of the games can serve up to eight players (one game, “Fakin’ It,” only allows a maximum of six), which is a unique aspect in itself. However, the main selling point is its ease of access. All you need is an internet connection to play.
Usually shown on a monitor, laptop or television screen, the menu of games is displayed for the players to choose. Then, the players access jackbox.tv on their phones, enter an access code and are ready to play. This five games included in the set are “Quiplash 2,” “Trivia Murder Party,” “Guesspionage,” “Tee K.O.,” and “Fakin’ It.”
“Quiplash 2” is sort of like a hybrid between Mad Libs and Cards Against Humanity — players answer a question and others vote on their favorite one. “Trivia Murder Party” tests the knowledge of the players in a dark and pressure-filled setting. “Guesspionage” allows the users to estimate a population poll’s answers on various, oftentimes obscure, questions.
“Tee K.O.” is a game where people draw t-shirt designs and match them with slogans to create the funniest or most interesting combinations, similar to “Quiplash 2” in that users have the power to vote for their favorite design. “Fakin’ It” is much like a digital version of the card game BS. Players who do not know the prompt must blend in with the others whilst answering a question and avoiding detection from others guessing who is the impostor.
There is no expectation of a time burden like most board games, since most are three rounds and usually take about 30 minutes to complete, depending on the amount of players, skill level, etc. It’s very simple to acquire this pack. The “Jackbox Party Pack 3” is normally $25, and it follows previous Jackbox Party Packs that come at a similar value.
Probably the most engaging aspect of the game is how interactive it is. For one, games like “Quiplash 2” and “Tee K.O.” offer less of a typical gaming experience and more challenging methodical thinking in an adaptive setting (you vary your answers based on who you play with).
Also, while playing “Trivia Murder Party,” I felt the pressure of the situation, simulating a sort of safe trivia-Saw dynamic, something that even the most immersive single or multiplayer console games could not convey. It’s a very interactive gaming experience that is not duplicated elsewhere in terms of production value, foresight, or planning.
These types of fun little party games are best played with a large group of people, as there will be inherently more competition and the longevity of each individual game will be extended. Embodying the age-old adage “the more the merrier,” “Jackbox Party Pack 3” definitely offers a one-of-a-kind gaming experience.