If we’ve learned anything about me this past year, it’s that I’m all about challenging myself intellectually. It feels almost redundant at this point to speak about how deep my affection is for the world of academia, but as one of the most respected minds in all of games writing, nay, the written word as a whole, I feel the need to frequently re-establish this baseline for any new readers that may feel overwhelmed by my intricate prose and prodigious vocabulary.
Please stop laughing.
In all honesty, I’ve always identified as someone just smart enough to realize how little I know about the world. I feel that admission makes up for a rather scattered knowledge base. Like many in the “geek” sector, I tend to specialize. I know a fair amount about computers and avant garde film. I could name every WWE Intercontinental Champion. Some would even argue that I know a little bit about video games. But ask me to name the State Capitals and I’m lost.
As you’d imagine, this means I tend to veer away from situations where my pure trivia capabilities are tested/exposed. I suppose, in that sense, there’s an argument to be made for a solo game of PS2 Jeopardy. While some could see it as rather depressing way to spend a Thursday evening (and I won’t argue), I saw it as an opportunity to see if I’m truly as dumb as I often feel in the most low-risk manner possible.
The journey began with promise. In the first round, there were categories about Superman and Movie Quotes, so I was able to give myself a rather cushy lead before watching the AI stumble through facts about birdwatching. I don’t feel particularly bad not knowing much about our avian dinosaur friends, but when Double Jeopardy came around, I did start to feel the heat emit from that ominous blue board – “College Football”, “The Korean War”, “Shakespeare”. I saw the icy stare of FMV Alex Trebek. He was disappointed, not only in his royalty check for this game, but in my performance. My only hope was to redeem myself with a Hail Mary play during Final Jeopardy.
Then, the category – 19th Century Presidents.
I don’t remember the question, but I do know that my answer of Millard Fillmore was insufficient. Luckily, my two CPU opponents were also completely in the dark and bet all of their money as well, so this episode ended with a three way tie for last place. Seemed fitting in a way. I went in trying to try determine just how stupid I was, and then the game found a way to let me know in as blatant a manner as possible.
“Not only are dumb” the game said, “but you also wasted your time.”
Eat it, Jeopardy.