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CONSOLE: PC DEVELOPER: Sharedata Inc. PUBLISHER: Sharedata Inc.
RELEASE DATE (NA): January 1987 GENRE: Trivia
// review by SoyBomb

Richard Dawson would regurgitate his Beef Wellington if he played this.

I've taken a shine to many classic PC games from my childhood -- mostly those funky DOS games from the early 1990s -- but one title came back into my life and caused considerable anguish. And then it caused even MORE anguish when I replayed it for this review. Family Feud (not the newer versions for modern consoles, but the old one... apparently it was released for the Apple II computer) is a top-notch example of how the shift from the television screen to your home computer can be devastating if done incorrectly. But instead of just telling you about awful it is, I will instead chronicle my pitiful adventures with this unfair excursion into the great beyond. Come, join me!

GAME 1 START!

As soon as I start up a game, and after enduring some horrible PC-speaker music that doesn't even closely resemble today's Family Feud theme, I am asked whether or not I am a "returning champion." I've always been terrible at this game, so no, I am not a returning champion. Or a champion. At anything period. So I'll just input my name... and looky there, now my family is the SoyBomb's. That's right, with an apostrophe. I'm grammatically badass. But let's get right to the game, shall we? Who am I up against? The "Jones's"? Alright, Jones's. You're going dow'n!

The first question was, "NAME SOMETHING PEOPLE SWING". Naturally, I answer in with "bat". It's not up there. Okay, what does the opposing team say? "Baseball bats." And THAT'S up there. Guess I had to be more specific. Luckily, the family passed on the question, and I had the chance to guess. Unfortunately, I screwed up all three tries immediately. "Baton" and "swing" weren't even up there. But the computer-controlled Jones's knew...

Keys? Axes? Really? Life must have been much different in the 1980s. Okay, you win this round, Jones's, but let it be known that we, the SoyBomb's, will not back down without a fight! RAWR!

The next question is between the mothers... but what the heck is up with their LEGS?! Did they both get run over by a San Francisco trolley? Was gait a common instance among women of that decade? Are cheese loaves magically escaping from under their dresses (fully baked, no less)? Anyway, the question asked us to name a kitchen appliance. That doesn't sound too difficult. I guessed "oven", and it was the #1 answer. Joy passed, and I began to play. Well, even though I ultimately used up my three strikes, I learned a couple of interesting things. Apparently, "stove" and "microwave" are the same item, and "fridge" is unacceptable, but "refrigerator" is just dandy. You have to be precise with this one!

I put a few good answers in, including "toaster", but I couldn't figure them all out. So, could the Jones's do it? Well, obviously. They ARE the computer. They know pretty much every answer to every question. It's a rigged system. Looks like I missed "can opener" (we don't have an electric one at this house), and... "coffee pot"? That's not an appliance! That goes WITH an appliance! You put a coffee pot in a coffee MAKER! Idiots! Who did they survey for this? Mageirocophobes (people who have a fear of cooking)? Must be. Alright, I lost two rounds, but the next one, I'll nail, right? RIGHT?!

Okay, so... "Name A State That Has Avalanches." Well... dog donuts. I'm Canadian. I guess Colorado, and it was the top response, but I still passed on this query. I just don't know enough about American geography. The Jones's took control... and were unable to guess a single other state! Whoa! I had a shot at the big time! Double points! Yeah! Alright, SoyBomb's, stay calm...

You can do it, man. Just guess a state that has avalanches. Don't panic. There are five other choices... just take your time... think carefully... and for goodness sake, don't guess Minnesota! It's a trap. Wait... no!!! I guessed Minnesota! And I failed! That's it, I'm down three for three. This will be my last chance! The question is "Tell Me..." Wait, who is YOU? There isn't even a host in this game. Now THAT'S pennypinching... Errr, anyway... "Tell Me Approximately How Much A New TV Set Costs (Type Numbers Only)". Okay, fair enough. I'll guess "200". Seems legit. Turns out they won't accept that for some reason. Hmmm... Okay, what will the Jones's guess, then? ..."200"?! And they took it? Okay, now there's a conspiracy against me! It won't even let me guess what's up there! Okay, I'll just sit back and wait... the Jones's are doing very well. But alas, they got three strikes, and I stepped up to the plate once more. I guessed "300". It's up there, but they sure didn't give it to me. Why, you blasphemous game show!

So I lost. I lost badly. I was embarrassed at how badly I lost to an awful looking family that only has three colours to its name. Alright, well, I guess I can just sit back and watch the other family win themselves the grand prize. I just know that they will be quite successful.

What the?! You lucky dastards!!!


GAME 2 START!

Determined to beat that smart-aleck computer and its condescendingly smug character roster, I decided to have a go at a second game. I was ready to win, and I was NOT prepared to let this new family, the Ray's, win that big sum of money!

The first question appeared to be typical, asking me to name something you eat too much of, and get sick. So I guessed "candy" first, and all was well. Lo and behold, it was the top answer! And so I began my conquest of the 1987 Family Feud computer game with an iron fist... Next, I guessed chocolate. Nope, not on the board. Potato chips? No, not there, either. Geez... uh... alcohol? Afraid not, although if you think about it, it should be. Let's see what the beloved Ray's have to say.

Well, they knew that "ice cream" was the second best answer. I was not surprised. And I also could predict where this game was starting to head: in the wrong direction! The other answers were posted... "Peanuts"? You have to be kidding me! How many people are scarfing down peanuts?! I can understand this if the person is deathly allergic, but seriously? Oh, and "spaghetti"? Who's upchucking stringy pasta? This whole game reeks of stupidity; whomever they surveyed must have some sort of neurological disease. I was not amused, and my grimace grew wider with every passing round. BUT! There is always hope. Luke Skywalker had it. That guy Doogie Howser plays on "How I Met Your Mother" has it. And I can have it, too!

Bring on the next question... "Name Something You Put On A Cut". I guessed "bandaid" and it was indeed the top answer. Now, what else does a person put on a cut? That's when I drew a blank. "Bactine"? No. "Antibacterial spray"? No. ...I typed in "salt" just to see if anyone surveyed was a jerk, but alas, it was not meant to be. Okay, computer, just win the round as usual and let me know what I missed.

Okay, I've heard of iodine and peroxide, but what is merthiolate? I'm sorry, this game must be from a time when medicines were much different, like when physicians spent their days with a mortar and pestle. If someone offered me some merthiolate, I'd probably eat it. Sounds like it's an artificial sweeter or a laxative. In any case, this round was over (and not a moment too soon). I knew I was failing miserably; this is what I get for pulling my family together from hobos and other unseemlies off the street. Alright, Family Feud, lay the third question on me... "Name A Type Of Place Where People Can Kiss In Public And No One Notices". Well, that's pretty difficult. The only possibility I could come up with initially was "movie theater", which made the cut. I ended up playing this round, but I could devise nothing more. The Ray's, however, had different plans, and came up with the top response.

Terminal. A terminal. As in a bus terminal? Well, I know that if I go to a bus terminal, the first thing I notice is all the weirdos giving dirty looks, making out, or horking up phlegm on the sidewalk -- you know, all the stuff that rarely happens in my typical surroundings. I think a few people will notice kissing; maybe not a quick peck, but that's not part of the question, is it? Other locales included the park, the beach, and the disco. How can we NOT notice kissing in the park or on the beach? I mean, with tons of people there, someone's bound to notice some love (most likely a large pot-bellied bearded man who walks his dog in a speedo; that guy knows stuff...). Just like Eminem in 8 Mile, I only get one shot... do not miss your chance to blow! And blow, I hope not to! The final round commenced.

"Name Something You Have That Never Lasts As Long As You'd Like It To Last". That's a mouthful. Although I guessed "sex", it wasn't enough to secure my ability to play. The Ray's fudged up a few things, giving me the upper hand. Unfortunately, I forgot how intelligent I am not.

And thus, the game was over, and again, I lost. Maybe I'm just stupid (and that's possible), but that computer is WAY too smart -- smarter than a normal human family. It seems to have the upper hand on one too many occasions. Anyhow, go ahead, Ray's. Win that fast money.

WHAT?! They're not going to play, either? ...I don't suppose that money could've been used to pay the escalating hospital bills, could it?


GAME 3 START!

I'm a sucker for punishment. But for the sake of this review, I shall prevail! I must! You, patient reader, must know what lies at the end of this turdish rainbow! Alright, it's time for a rematch with the Jones's! (There seems to be only a few opposing family names. Jones, Johnson, Ray, and Volk are quite common.)

So my new duty is to name a pet bird you keep in a cage, eh? I can do it! I guessed "parrot", and it beat the Jones's "parakeet", so I was able to play. I guessed "canary", and it was pleasantly situated at the top of the list. Alright, just one more answer to go, and those delicious points would be mine! I may never have to swear again at Family Feud! But what could it possibly be? I took a few stabs at it. "Budgie" seemed to be a shoe-in, but... nope. "Finch"? No. At this point, I ran out of ideas for birds people keep as pets. "Sparrow"? Obviously not. Oh, almighty Jones family, what is the answer?

You gotta be kidding me. It was at this point that I realized I will never win this game. Family Feud is just too illogical to be completed. Bah. But I had already started, and one must always finish what they start, unless it's a chocolate cake, which will make one fat. Next up is "Name Something An Airplane Needs To Fly". Well, I figured an "engine" would do some justice, but it sure didn't beat the Jones's classic "wings" response. Luckily, I was able to play anyhow, and put in a couple of decent answers: "fuel" and "pilot". Oh, yeah, I got the trick "pilot" answer. I'm the smartest man this side of Family Feud Town! But alas, I didn't know the final answer... but will the Jones's?

Yes. Of course they would. They already have propellers lodged betwixt their rear ends; that's why they're so stuck up and condescending. The father keeps giving us an "L" with his fingers, indicating that the SoyBomb's are, indeed, losers. And perhaps this isn't too far off. The programmers could've been a little nicer... and a little less fiendish in developing the AI for this sorry excuse of a declaredly fun time. Frankly, I'm not sure how much more of this whole feudin' business I can take. That little "finish what you start" mantra bites the big one. Okay, what's next?

"Name Something That's Cold". That should be easy enough. The Jones's said "snow", but I countered with "ice". I'm a sculpture of pure genius, I am. Then I suggested "drinks", and that fell flat. At that point, I had to wonder... what the hell else is cold? Aside from guessing "women", I had no good ideas. And they didn't even like THAT one. Developer's office must be full of feminists. So I left it up to the Jones's to solve this mystery, and they did...

...with beer and soda pop, two DAMN DRINKS! This is just wrong. I took the last question and ran with it. "Name A Fruit Used In Making Daiquiris." I could use a stiff drink right about now, thought the entire SoyBomb family. I started out fairly, with "strawberry", "lime", "banana", and even "lemon" under my belt. But I guess I'm not familiar with the entire daiquiri clan because they didn't like any other answers I gave. No "raspberry"? I'll give you a raspberry. Phhhhht! Yeah, you like that, inanimate video game? I'll tear you up like an old lady at a rummage sale!

I assumed the Jones's were going to take this one. And they did. I also had some high hopes that they were going to stick around and play for some money at the end.

Obviously not. Clearly they're more concerned about their stupid taxes than about actually getting any money. Ridiculous morons. So... three games lost. And that was me being a sucker for punishment. This experience has taught me that one of two things are true: either Family Feud is unfair, or I am the dumbest organism on the planet. Take your pick.

But this is what Family Feud for the PC is: a vile monstrosity that is extremely unfair to human players. The graphics are as putrid as the year 1987 would possibly allow; all family members have horrific shirt and pant combinations, and their heads were pulled right out of a bag of discarded skull faces. And thank goodness there isn't much music here, because the title theme alone is enough to induce violent diarrhea of the ears just by listening. I get it: the PC Speaker is terrible. But if it's so terrible, don't use it, or at least have the decency to use a lower octave if you have to blast out your sorry excuse for a theme song. This game is terrible. Don't bother.


...BUT WAIT!

I couldn't possibly end this review on that note. It feels... incomplete. The only way for me to attain justice is to actually win against this beast. So, back to the game I went, blundering through question after countless question with the ultimate goal of someday becoming a Family Feud champion. Well, after an unknown number of tries, this happened:

Awwww, yeah! That's right. It IS possible to beat the computer. Very unlikely, yes, but it's definitely possible. I'm ready to move on to the fast money round, with the chance to earn up to $10,000 in fake computer dollars I'll never actually see! Yeah! Let's go! Just like in the show, two players (both played by me) are asked 5 questions quickly, and you need to earn at least 200 points (based on the number of surveyed people who guessed your answer, if you didn't already deduce that) in order to get the money. I began to guess...

I thought my answers seemed mostly reasonable. (No, I didn't actually put in "orgy." My real answer was much worse.) Let's see how I fared.

Yup. Definitely failed there. Unfortunately, they don't tell you what the #1 answer actually was, as they do on the TV show. So I suppose I lost again. Such is the story of my life! But this was the closest I ever came to delicious, juicy victory. And it tasted good, like an oatmeal raisin cookie or a Mr. Goodbar on a cold winter morn. Perhaps someday, I shall taste that joy once again.

What?! That won't pay for my newly-required therapy bills!


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