Competitive Analysis: Jeopardy!

Jeopardy!, a popular trivia game created by Merv Griffin for a television game show, has elements similar to our trivia game Risky Quizness. Jeopardy does not have a particular theme, which was interesting to note. The lack of narrative, theme, and particular graphic designs in the game makes sense because the game just wants players to focus on their knowledge, especially with its fast-paced nature: 

Interestingly, unlike other trivia games, players are presented with the answers to a “clue” and they have the provide the answer to it in the form of a question. This makes the game even more interesting because players have to think extra hard/backward and come up with the “correct question format.” Each game of Jeopardy has three rounds: Single Jeopardy, Double Jeopardy, and Final Jeopardy. Single Jeopardy and Double Jeopardy are quite similar: each round has six trivia categories with 6 questions with a value from $200-$2000 in Double Jeopardy):

These question values are determined by clue difficulty. Essentially, the clue is presented, and whoever knows the answer buzzes in first and states their guess. If it is correct, the dollar value is added to a grand total and they get to select the next category. However, if it is incorrect, the player loses the dollar value from their total and the other players may buzz in if they know. If no one knows, then the person who previously guessed the right answer can still select the next category. Players may jump back and forth between categories and point values. Double Jeopardy has a similar format—the dollars earned from Single Jeopardy carry over. Throughout both these rounds, there are Double Jeopardies hidden; they are clues that allow players to bet up to all their current dollars to double their earnings. If they get the answer wrong, they could also lose all the money, making the game very exciting. During Final Jeopardy, players are given a general clue category, and players are allowed to wager up to all their earnings before seeing the clue, for which they have 30 seconds to write down the question. The dollar values from all three rounds are totaled and the player with the most money wins. 

Jeopardy can be viewed as a game that promises sensation and discovery for players. Players feel the excitement and competition from the pressure of time and prize winnings. Additionally, it provides a sense of intellect because Jeopardy offers such unique clue categories, giving users the opportunity to test their intellect and discover new knowledge—this evokes a similar feeling of “exploring uncharted territories.”  Jeopardy is truly different than other games in its field because of its unique and fast-paced nature. There never really is a rest for players and they constantly have to be on their toes to keep up with the competition. Other trivia games tend to only involve one person answering a trivia question at a time, making it boring for other players. Additionally, the wagering aspect makes the game more exciting, as it’s possible for an underdog to win, making the game exciting for everyone. Jeopardy could be improved by finding a way to handle abuse. While the game rules make sense, there’s really no way to moderate players—in the Jeopardy game show, they have had complaints about obnoxious and hot-tempered players. Most of the time, people complain about the buzzer not working and there being a lag, making the game unfair for them. A suggestion to alleviate this issue would be to have Single Jeopardy and Double Jeopardy rounds operate similarly to Final Jeopardy. In my opinion, Jeopardy is a truly well-thought game and deserves its popularity & recognition in today’s society.

About the author

CS 247G (Spring 2022) + CS 377G (Winter 2023)

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