On Wednesday night’s episode of Jeopardy!, everything was going swimmingly until the contestants made it to the final category of questions, which none of them had been brave enough to tackle until the very end: video games.
The first question, an easy $200, was a sign of the travesty to come: returning champion Evelyn Rubin incorrectly answered that Pixar created the Infinity series of games, when it in fact was Disney. Things spiralled from there, when the focus moved to another contestant, University of Maryland associate professor of computer science Jordan Boyd-Graber. He was leading the pack with $2,800, but his inability to correctly answer a single question about video games knocked him out of the lead. His fellow contestants, also unable to answer the gaming questions, sat silently by and watched him fail.
“Morrowind and Skyrim are iterations of this ‘venerable’ set of games,” host Alex Trebek asked.
“What is Dragon Age?” Boyd-Graber answered, grimacing. “What is the Elder Scrolls,” Trebek said, looking disappointed. The Elder Scrolls series of first-person RPG games are some of the most popular and beloved games in the genre.
The contestants went through the entire category without one right answer. Boyd-Graber thought footage of Destiny 2 was Halo and no one knew that Fortnite is a battle royale game, referring to its last-player-standing play style.
It was funny to watch, but also a reminder that despite gaming’s mainstream acceptance, not everyone on the planet has an intimate working knowledge of the still-expensive hobby. This also isn’t the first time Jeopardy! contestants have failed hard when answerings video game questions.
Jeopardy! has in the past used video game questions as a “final jeopardy” curveball. Like in 2012, when the question was “the villains in this game were inspired by the swine flu epidemic.” The three contestants answered Halo, Skyrim, and Resident Evil. The answer was Angry Birds. Everyone lost money.
Contestants answering a question about The Legend Of Zelda in 2013 did better, probably because the writers used an F. Scott Fitzgerald reference as a hint. In 2017, only one contestant knew the origins of Pokémon and that answer allowed him to knock out the reigning champion and walk home with more than $20,000.
Jeopardy! contestants had better brush up on their gaming knowledge.
Get six of our favorite Motherboard stories every day by signing up for our newsletter.