Great moments in PC gaming: The birth of a Jackbox in-joke

The Quiplash minigame
(Image credit: Jackbox Games Inc.)

Great moments in PC gaming are bite-sized celebrations of some of our favorite gaming memories.

Earlier this year, I was playing Jackbox with some friends. I don't remember how it happened exactly, but someone accidentally input just the letter 'A' as a Quiplash answer. It was pretty funny, in that way where you're already having a good time joking about and you get to gently rib someone for a mistake without being mean. But then people started doing it on purpose. Every time, it became funnier. And after we'd worn this out, and it had died down long enough to almost forget, someone entered simply 'B'. And that's how I came to spit my drink out on the floor of a London AirBnB. 

OK, so, there's no way to explain an in-joke without sounding both weird and supremely unfunny. They're exclusively 'you had to be there' moments. But if you've played any part of any of the Jackbox Party Packs, you probably have a whole bunch of similar fond memories.

The Jackbox Party Pack 2

A pile of minigames including Quiplash and Fibbage 2

(Image credit: Jackbox Games)

Year: 2015
Developer: Jackbox Games

Each minigame has its own rules, style, and appeal, but what most of them have in common is the ability to be catalysts for jokes. Of course there's Quiplash, where players compete to write their best comedy one-liners. But other games are dark horses for the creation of micromemes among players, depending on the group. Get a bunch of writers together for robot rap-battle Mad Verse City, for example, and witness a special kind of chaos.

But no in-joke comes from a single game. The genius of Jackbox is that it's designed for repetition. Each minigame is short but engaging. You'll want another round, even if you move into a different party pack, and that's when things go from good to great. The first time a joke is told, it's funny. But the second time? The remixes? The moment where someone brings it back up after it's simmered down for a few games? That's when it gets cemented as an in-joke.

Here's a trick: play Quiplash first, and then move onto one of the other games. You can't beat a previous answer coming up as a slogan on a Tee K.O. shirt, accompanied by some hastily scrawled drawing of a screaming face or a very crooked tree. Just don't expect anyone else to understand why you're laughing about it 10 months later.