The 21st Century has been one marked by movement towards convenience and mass participation in anything and everything. Social media has captivated the eyes and ears of the world, regardless of age, race, or gender. Television is a non-stop buffet for different types of entertainment, ranging from juicy plot lines to tender heart-wrenchers. This constant need to be entertained and to be hypnotized by the warm glare of a screen is reflective upon the society in which we live. Nothing in recent years has appealed more to these new developments within the human psyche than the instant-sensation, HQ Trivia.
This revolutionary application combines everything our media starved generation craves into one loud amalgamation of colors, noises, and technology. HQ Trivia is not your grandmother’s typical game show of yesteryear, it’s an online trivia challenge that allows all users to participate in the festivities. This game is aptly hosted by Jewish comedian Scott Rogowsky, who never shies away from his religious background. One particularly funny moment where he referred to his Judaism occured after half of the participants were eliminated from the game, when he appropriately said that they should recite the, “Mourner’s Kaddish” in memory of those who lost the competition.
These small chirps and witty references are what makes the HQ experience so memorable. Despite his occasionally on-point humor, Scott has a habit of giving long, drawn out monologues while introducing the audience to the game that are typically cringe worthy and off-putting. Some of the most memorable games occur when Scott is not even there; when guest hosts like TV personality Jimmy Kimmel and music producer Dillon Francis get to shine. Despite the refreshing change of pace these guest stars provide, the comment section of the game is usually livid with messages like “#FREESCOTT” and “#WeWantScott”.
Scott Rogowsky, pictured above, in a blue and white Magen David blazer holding a Hannukiah to celebrate the holiday in style
The game’s basic concept is simple enough; answer 12 consecutive trivia questions correctly and win a portion of the prize money. The game caters to the masses by being as convenient as possible, having two games per day; one at 3 PM and one at 9 PM. People go out of their way and set aside hours of their day to prepare for the festivities, refusing to go out on occasion solely to make sure they don’t miss their chance at the pot. The prize money is split among the winners, which usually ranges from about 10-25 people, though there are exceptions. On one particular day, one individual won completely by himself and received the whole pot; a whopping $1,500. Other times, 50 people win and the prize money is a measly $6 per person. The odds of a big payout grow smaller with every passing day, as the game continues to grow in popularity and reach new heights. The live show typically averages around 750,000 players/viewers, with numbers increasing regularly. Recently, the game hit a new high of 1.5 million participants, a number of players unforeseen by even the most ardent supporters of the game and its potential. Hillel has yet to produce a winner, something that will elevate the lucky individual to folklore status and will live on in Hillel legend forever.
The incredible support this game has received from around the world reflects the era in which we live, where commercial viability and mass appeal are king. This game caters to the younger generation by promoting bright graphics and psychedelic music while also drawing in more mature crowds by asking difficult yet engaging trivia questions. Users are given 10 seconds to answer questions, so each round is always exciting and challenging, as 10 seconds isn’t nearly enough time to search for answers to more intricate questions.
The beauty of this game is that it has a way of drawing in people to play and keeps them engaged long enough by giving them a slight taste of victory to make sure they come back for more. It is exceedingly rare for somebody to play once and never play again, as just the prospect of making money, combined with the entertainment factor, creates the fantasy of victory for the player and traps them in its vices. HQ’s simple but effective business model, they make most of their money from sponsors, along with the sheer enjoyability this game presents makes HQ a staple in pop culture for the foreseeable future.
Admittedly, the game has yet to be perfected, with sparse yet irritating moments of server failure and frequent heavy lag that can slow the game down significantly and reduce the experience to a game of catch up. While these server and connectivity issues are being addressed, they do leave some room for concern. The biggest, most publicized blunder these issues have brought reached a climax on New Year’s Day. With the last game of the year came a massive reward for players; $18,000 to bring in 2018. Over one million users from around the world logged into HQ at 11:45 PM to stake their claim for the money. Unfortunately, the servers at the time were incapable of supporting such heavy traffic and after a few minutes of painful lag, the servers crashed and the game was postponed. This left thousands upon thousands of people feeling disgruntled, as they had to wait nearly an hour to try and play again, in which case midnight had already passed and the New Year was already in session, taking away the zeal surrounding this particular game. These issues are manageable, but they do come with a heavy price. Leaving players feeling dissatisfied with server issues is bad enough for business, as many are unwilling to put up with lag for extended periods of time and some even abandon the game altogether. This can be seen in the actions of 11th Grade Student, Moises Lencovski, who claims, “HQ’s too slow and too glitchy for me to put up with every day.” Cases like these will continue to plague the company until changes are implemented to improve the user experience.
Overall, HQ is a game exemplary of the future, as allowing users to participate in an unprecedented way has completely revolutionized the manner in which people interact with entertainment and media through technology. This live game show is reflective of the future of consumerism and social interaction, as HQ has pioneered a new avenue for companies to pursue. HQ Trivia has proven that keeping players engaged and establishing a system of participatory media can prove beneficial and profitable. Other companies are already taking inspiration from this, with knockoff applications like “The Q” slowly entering the mainstream. HQ Trivia is here to stay and along with it come cringe-worthy jokes, tense moments of dread, and incredible highs of excitement; and that’s why we love the game.