Ellen’s Know or Go fills those empty hours between broadcasts

Spoiler alert! Ellen’s Know or Go is a trivia game for Ellen fans. If I have to say Ellen who, you probably won’t do well at Ellen’s Know or Go. It’s a bit pricey for this kind of app, but Ellen can get away with it because she’s about to replace Oprah. And if I have to say Oprah who, just forget this game. You won’t stand a chance. Four stars.


I’m not sure I should give Ellen any free publicity. I am still a fan, but I was a bigger fan in the first few years before I realized she was never going to return an email or enter me in one of her contests no matter how original or endearing my request. Now I know that it’s a show for women, and I would expect her to show favoritism to the viewers advertisers pony up the money for.

But not even a “Thank you for your kind email asking me to give you something?”

When she had a contest granting someone their lifelong wish, all I asked for was a chance to host Saturday Night Live. She can do that, she’s Ellen, right? I even sent in some skits to show her how funny I could be. Did she listen? No, she granted some woman her wish to drive a monster truck in the studio parking lot.

What a waste of a lifelong wish. Imagine what would have happen to Obama if he had counted on her to grant him his wish to be President?

When she was looking for cities to visit, and I invited her to Austin to do a show for Carol and Siamese Rescue (and you would think she would want to support siamese rescue considering all of the animals she’s rescued), she went to Chicago. Chicago? Austin’s way cooler than Chicago (except for the temperature and heat index). Even Bill Maher did a show in Austin, and David Byrne and Laurie Anderson twice. But Ellen went to Chicago and then Orlando, and then Orlando every year.

I sent her books of poetry. I sent lengthy emails discussing the meaning of life, the quantum dynamics of of dancing and the role of Derrida’s theory of differance in talk show hosting. Nothing came back. I offered to write comedy for free just to get her show on my resume. Nothing again. I can’t have been a better fan, but what did I get in return? Not even a win on the twelve days of Christmas giveaways.

Well, I should admit that I never asked to be picked for a giveaway because Carol doesn’t want to pay taxes on useless crap we get for free from TV talk shows. But even had I done so, she never picked me.

Maybe it was that long, rambling email I sent a few months before her marriage begging her to introduce me to Portia before it was too late because I knew, deep down inside, we were soul mates even though I’m already married and we have serious gender preference differences (or, rather, we share the same gender preference). But that’s such a small thing. How could Ellen hold that against me?

Yes, I understand now why Carol was pissed. But Ellen? She’s supposed to be bigger than that.

So why am I doing Ellen the favor of promoting her iPad app, Ellen’s Know or Go? Because it’s the Christian thing to do. Because I’m better than that. Because I’m still clinging to the slightest hope that maybe Ellen will notice me and give me a shout out.

No, it’s the first two. This is totally selfless on my part. After all, there’s no way Ellen will even learn about this review unless several of my readers take pity on me and send the link to ellen’s email address at The Ellen Degeneres Show.

Eight hundred questions

That’s right, there’s plenty of trivia in Ellen’s Know or Go because she (her app developer) included eight hundred questions. Or so she claims. I got through a couple of hundred without a repeat, so the claim sounds reasonable.

For those readers who don’t watch Ellen, Know or Go is a particularly cruel game where audience members stand on an elevated platform and answer trivia questions. Three guests play and each time one answers incorrectly they fall through the floor, hopefully onto something with a comfy cushion to break their fall. The last guest standing wins the prize, although usually the other two do as well (Ellen isn’t big on the “losing” thing).

Since the iPad can’t deliver a platform to drop you, the game settles for animated characters instead. You can play solo or against another player, but first you have to create your character.

You can create a wide variety of characters with a variety of wardrobes, so long as the characters are skinny women. You can even paste your own face on the character, but you will still be a skinny woman (even if you’re a bearded woman like me).

You can select from a variety of characters and even use your own face. The app lets you mask out the background.

When I downloaded the app I wondered how they would handle the face. Most apps that use player photos paste them into squares or ovals. But Ellen’s developer created a pretty nifty vector mask that allows players to keep the shape of their faces. My face ended up slightly to the side of my neck, but the app still did a good job with the outlining.

The only catch to building your personna is that all the characters have female bodies. Wait, there are two catches. You can adjust your skin tone but you can’t adjust your weight. You will always be as thin as Portia.

The game consists of a sequence of questions with four possible answers. Players are awarded points for correct answers, speedy answers, and answers given without help. The first wrong answer ends the game.

Players earn a new lifeline for every three correct answers. They can use one lifeline to narrow the choices and a second for the correct answer. The only penalty for using lifelines is a lower score for the question and the counter for consecutive correct answers is reset to zero. You can’t earn double digits in lifelines either. Once you reach nine you might as well use them because you won’t be getting any more.

Players must choose the best of four answers. They can also earn lifelines to narrow choices or provide correct answers. The questions could be clearer. Is this question referring to the Hannah Montana on TV (Miley Stewart) or the meta-Hanna Montana who toured (Miley Cyrus)?

The questions become increasingly difficult as the game progresses. To make it more challenging, the questions are timed and Ellen prattles away endlessly about the question category and how well you’re doing. She also loves to give positive feedback. You can earn awards for everything from five consecutive answers to earning points in multiples of a hundred.

Do well enough and you get to travel to different locations to play. In the Caribbean, for example, you walk the plank instead of drop in the box. Presumably, a wrong answer lands you in shark-infested waters. After that you find yourself on a cliff ledge in the Southwest. I never got past the southwest.

There are so many awards its like being back in kindergarten. You get a gold star for everything. My favorite award? Future game show host. Really, do you mean it, Ellen? You didn’t get me the host spot on SNL.

Ellen’s Know or Go sells for $3 on the iPad and $2 on the iPhone. The price is reasonable, but I’ve seen much better games for that price. I also can’t help but think they could have simply developed a universal version of the app to play on both devices for one $3 price.

Other than that the app is solid and stable. The game itself is colorful and plays fast. The sound can get out of synch with the questions, but it’s not too bad. If I wanted to criticize, however, it would really border on nitpicking (for instance, “where is Stonehenge” and “where did St. Patrick’s day originate” hardly belong in the category of world news).

Oh, yes, and according to most internet sources, Ellen, the world has five oceans—not four. The Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic andSouthern (Antarctic). Since we all know the internet is more reliable than our schools, you might want to get new fact checkers because that question broke my string of consecutive correct answers without a lifeline at 35.

Jenny Manytoes loves to sit on my lap while I play and swipe on the characters as they drop. This means I have to get more questions wrong for her to play. If I get on a streak she gets bored and wants me to pet her instead.

In the end, however, I have to suspect this game will appeal to Ellen fans more than trivia fans. Especially when you get questions like, “What color are my eyes?” (Hint: Blue). This is nowhere near as challenging as a New York Times crossword (one of the answers) or the twenty questions questions college grad students dream up after mid-terms when they’ve been sampling illegal substances to wind down.

You don’t have to like Ellen to waste an hour playing, however, and that makes it worth the price of download for at least one of your devices.

Jenny Manytoes rates Ellen’s Know or Go

Jenny Manytoes would purr next to Ellen’s Know or Go. But that’s because she, like Carol and I, is an Ellen fan. A bigger fan, in fact, because Ellen hasn’t refused to return Jenny’s emails. If you’re not an Ellen fan, however, you may find the app only napworthy.

The rating will definitely go to five stars, however, if Ellen actually makes me a game show host like she promised in the game. Hell, I’d settle for a week as a guest writer on the show.

The Jenny Manytoes Rating System


Jenny Manytoes, our polydactyl cat
  • When Jenny makes biscuits on a product she thinks she’s in heaven.
  • When Jenny purrs over a product she’s very happy.
  • When Jenny naps next to a product it’s okay with her.
  • When Jenny bunches her tail she can live with a product, but she has higher expectations.
  • When Jenny leaves it in the litter box….I don’t think I need to explain this one.

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About Phillip T Stephens

Phillip T. Stephens disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle twenty years before he was born, creating a time travel paradox so confusing it remains unspoken between physicists and sci-fi writers to this day. Follow @stephens_pt
This entry was posted in 3 Stars - nap, Entertainment, Games, Trivia & Quiz and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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