Jackbox Games is bringing the party back – and this time it’s global

Any studio that manages to release eight successful games in eight straight years is clearly up to something. The fact that each of these has five subgames of its own is an incredible achievement. To think that a small team of just 40 people is responsible for all of this – and arguably the most innovative casual gaming experience since the original Nintendo Wii – is frankly mind-blowing.

Such is the case with Jackbox Games, which is returning this fall The Jackbox Party Pack 9, which brings four new titles and a returning favorite. Hoping to build on its ever-growing catalog of popular multiplayer games controlled by players’ mobile phones, the studio offers another intriguing mix of old and new:

  • Fibbage 4 (2-8 players): The popular bluffing game is back for its fourth edition with a brand new game Last FibbageFan Submitted Questions and Video Questions; and a Fibbage enough about you Mode;
  • Quixort (1-10 players): Working with your team in a ‘trivia sorting factory’, sort falling answers into correct order before they hit the ground;
  • Junktopia (3-8 players): After turning into a frog, your task is to create funny backstories for strange objects before having them rated, and the most successful player will become human again;
  • Non-sensory (3-8 players): A drawing and writing game where you guess other players’ prompts based on their silliness; and
  • Roomerang (4-9 players): A reality TV show-inspired competition with role-playing elements where the challenge is not to be voted out, although there’s a chance you’ll be thrown back into the action to add new and divisive drama.

Brooke Hofer, the team’s vice president of marketing, says The Jackbox Party Pack 9 was designed to be more globally accessible than ever – building on the highest global profile the series has enjoyed, not least due to the events of the last few years.

Despite huge game studios delaying countless releases during the COVID-19 pandemic, Jackbox managed to release party packs 7 and 8th in 2020 and 2021 respectively and provides the perfect distraction for those stuck indoors in various lockdowns worldwide. Countless people around the world, including myself and my friends, have managed to find some semblance of normality through gaming fibbage, trivia murder party, Quiplashand more, even if we could only see each other via zoom.

“We surpassed our 2019 overall performance [player] Numbers for the months of March to June 2020 alone,” says Hofer. “We have seen a huge and unprecedented surge in player numbers during lockdown.

“When the world opened up, we knew people weren’t playing inside jack box via Zoom to get through the week just as we did in 2020 – but 2021 saw over 72.2 million games launched and we’re still seeing steady growth across our online communities and social media channels.”

The Twitch Effect

Twitch in particular – which itself saw a large surge in traffic before sustaining and growing its user base over the months and years that followed – saw interest in Jackbox’s titles increase, particularly for its ability to allow famous and new streamers alike to engage with them to play audience.

“Accessibility has always been a concern for us,” Hofer continues. “We saw it once [on Twitch]We’ve prioritized adding more features to make it even easier to tailor your gaming experience to the environment or group you’re playing with – enhanced captions, advanced timers, moderation tools, family-friendly filters and profanity filters, and more.

“We want to make it easy for everyone from your grandparents to your little cousins ​​to participate in an immersive party game.”

This ethos stretches back to the early days of Jackbox. Chief Creative Officer Allard Laban recalls the spring of 1995 as he watched Jackbox founder Harry Gottlieb demonstrate a trivia game at the Berkeley Systems offices in California. Back then, it was an audio-based black and white mockup of You don’t know Jack in Hypercard – something that would set the team on the path to today’s jackbox games.

“Back then it wasn’t something we had played before at Berkeley Systems,” says Laban. “Propelled by voices and well-timed text revelations, a group of people were drawn to the sound and crowded around Harry’s PowerBook, striving to see the small screen.

“The writing and the performances were hilarious. It was the first time I’d seen people laugh at a video game.”

At that time, Laban’s job was to add art and graphics. “For me, keeping it simple and supporting the experience seemed like the best approach since it was already working so well,” he says. “No video host or elaborate game show sets required – they would just slow down the experience.”

Fast forward to 2013. After moving away from social and mobile platforms, Jackbox Games refocused on party and trivia game concepts and began prototyping its simple yet incredibly effective phone-as-controller technology with an early bluff -Game concept: fibbagewhich was launched in 2014. “We built on that with our first party pack later this year – the rest is history.”

create memories

With over 40 games under their belt, the members of the team say it’s impossible to single out one standout game from their list, although there are many they are particularly proud of. While some of these are reflected in their extreme popularity with players –Trivia murder party, Quiplashand Attractive– Honorable mentions include bomb corporation, Obviously stupid, Crazy verse townand earwax.

But for all the stories you’ll hear about how the games have brought people together, one particularly moving account stands out above the rest.

Hofer remembers how Tee KOA game that pitted players against each other with hand-drawn t-shirt designs that could then be purchased for real money became a firm favorite with one family, and someone loved one of the shirts so much they got their own version and wore it frequently. However, he died a few years later – a moment that prompted his loved ones to contact Jackbox Games.

“His family reached out to us to see if there was a way we could dig up their games gallery and have some shirts printed for his memorial,” says Hofer. “We were able to do it. and I thought it was so special that they wanted to keep alive this memory of a time when they all laughed together.

“Ultimately, our games are catalysts for fond memories. That’s why it’s one of my favorite titles.”

Jackbox Games CEO Mike Bilder is proud of what the team has achieved – and what he believes they are yet to prove JPP9. “Our team of incredibly talented, creative and dedicated employees is certainly our secret of success,” he says. “Your ability to create fun, fun and engaging games year after year never ceases to amaze me.

“We strive to evolve and bring something new to the table with each one party pack. However, one of the most important ingredients is laughter. Typically, as we design and prototype games each year, whenever we hear a group laughing out loud, we know we’re on to something good.

“We always want people to talk, laugh and create memories together while playing our games.”

About Gloria Skelton

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