The NES, being a home entertainment system and all, was the first console to introduce the concept of videogames based on popular gameshows. It makes sense after all, since the majority of the viewing audience yells answers at their televisions and generally think they’re geniuses – “If I were on that show.. I’d do so well.” Well guess what, there’s only one family of geniuses here, and that’s Just Games Retro. What follows is a chronicle of our greatness, the downfall of the Ewing family, and oh yes, a review too.
“It’s time for the ‘Family Feud!’ Let’s meet the Just Games Retro family! – Ready for action!….And the Ewing family! On your marks!..Leeeeet’s start – ‘THE FAMILY FEUD!”
When you start up your game you get an option for one or two families (optional to pass the controller around with a whole family, but not necessary). If you do the one family routine you go up against a randomly generated computer group – the Ewings in our case. A painful rendition of the Family Feud theme plays – some kind of odd combination of rockabilly and electronica. They seem to have realized they wouldn’t be able to produce the actual theme, so they went with blatantly pulling something from their ass. Though if you listen closely, there is a section of about 4 seconds where the ghost of the theme is barely recognizable. The host moves down your cartoon stereotyped family as you type in your family name. The host looks like a bad drawing of Elvis, but judging by the way he makes a point to flirt with and kiss all the ladies, it’s clearly Richard Dawson. Good, I say. Richard Dawson the one and only true host of The Feud.
Now if you’re not familiar with how the game is played, here’s a good time to get this one out of the way. Two families of five face off against each other one at a time. The producers of the show have asked a random sampling of 100 people a question and listed the top responses on the board. Your basic goal is to guess all the answers without suggesting an answer not on the board (resulting in a strike). Three strikes mean that the other family can steal the money you’ve made by correctly guessing just one answer on the board. You accumulate money depending on the number of people polled who gave that answer, and the first family to break 200 wins. Still with me?
The first Feud is always the Dad’s feud, so I go up against the head Ewing. The question is name an object made of rubber. He rings in and gets “hose” – one far down on the board. I ring in and give the easy and obvious answer “condom”. Guess what isn’t even on the board? I was thinking #1 spot for sure.. I mean they’re even CALLED rubbers, dammit! I’m then left to think of seven obscure objects made of rubber. Got “tires,” but missed “nipples” and “elastic.” The Ewings get the money and cheer from their side of the room. Well played, Ewings… well played. But don’t despair, they get what’s coming to them next round, and I shot J.R. when they weren’t looking.
Trying to guess obscure responses is certainly one annoying part of the game, but not really the videogame’s fault. Take that one up with the TV producers. It’s also a good time to mention that you do get to see the correct answers at the end of the round, but you do not get to see the answers of the other team when they suggest – you’ll only see if they get it right or if they get a strike. This does not help you know what not to suggest. Bad, bad form. Also, synonyms are a bit sketchy. For example, the game will accept “looks” as valid for “appearance,” but gives you a strike for saying “clothing” instead of “clothes.” Most of the time it’s good enough not to cause problems, but there are the occasional times where you wish you could appeal to the judges. But sorry, nope, just a game. No judges.
The next two rounds JGR mops the floor with Ewing ass. Admittedly, we did get an idiot’s question – which is another problem of the game. Moron questions do exist, and this one asks “How many nights a week do you stay up to watch the Tonight Show?” There are only six responses on the board.
If you’re not getting this right off, allow me to take you for a trip on the logic train. The Tonight Show is a weekday program, and that hasn’t changed. There are five nights in a viewing week, so one through five are five of your answers. Then you can not watch the Tonight Show at all, leaving zero as the last. It was a clean sweep that was practically stealing. Fortunately the Ewings were are computer generated. Were they a real family, or a friend I was playing against, I would expect physical violence for getting this freebie.
On the third and final feud we cleaned house again. But admittedly we had this question earlier before so we knew all the answers. Yet another problem of the game – not enough questions to last a long time without running back over the same ones in a reasonably short amount of time. Still, we won. Real geniuses are people who don’t play fair. Oh.. oh.. is that over 200? I wasn’t paying attention… hey Ewings, come back and tell me if we broke 200… aww, now where’d you go?
The final part of Family Feud is the classic Fast Money Round where you are asked five of the show’s questions and give a single response that you think is #1. The scores are tallied and then one other family member gives it a try. You can let someone else on your team play here, or just guess the ones you didn’t guess before if you’re going solo. The trick here though is that whatever score you get is added to your grand total, and you are then given a screen which tells you essentially that you’ll “win” when you make 20,000. Yeah… we got about 500 on this one game, so in 40 more games, we’ll win. It’s clearly a gimmick to get you to keep playing, but sorry fellas. We don’t love The Feud that much. The game also states that your family will win the 20,000 dollars when you make it, which in NES terms means you’ll get a single title screen congratulating you, and not one damn red cent. Worth it? Nuh-uh.
So what’s the final verdict? Well it’s certainly Feudtastic, and worth checking out if you’re a fan of the show. It pales a bit in comparison to other game show games like Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune, but is still a faithful execution of its source material. You likely won’t play more than a few games, and certainly get very bored before you make the twenty grand, but it’s a good show for a few quick rounds.
Pretty solid recreation of the show.
Some cheap areas, few questions, won’t last too long