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We here at Mashable love a buzzy tech startup, whether it’s Yo!, Peach, Meerkat, or any of the other dozens of apps that have had their moment in the sun. So when we heard about HQ, the new live trivia app that has created something of a sensation with its daily quizzes, we had to give it a shot.
That’s how much of Mashable‘s senior editorial leadership found itself in an office at 3 P.M. EST on Monday, trying out HQ Trivia. Most of us hadn’t ever played it before, and we generally have fun. Here’s a Facebook Live of us playing.
Each of our players provided us with their reactions to the app. It’s only on iOS right now, but it’s already got a couple hundred thousand people playing the game at the same time.
Lance Ulanoff, chief correspondent
I love trivia. I’ve been playing Trivial Pursuit for 20 years, and when my local news station does Weekend Trivia, I play that, too. I’m even halfway decent at it (I once got my name on TV for it), so I’m biased toward a mobile trivia game.
The reason HQ works is that it doesn’t break the mold. It’s a tight trivia game with a little bit of education and the ultra-fun added benefit of maybe, just maybe, winning a few bucks.
Honestly, though, I think people play for the opportunity to show up on the leader board. Trivia makes people feel smart (or stupid), and being able to say you won at HQ Trivia is like a little nerdy badge of honor for the digital age.
If I have any criticism, it’s that the host drags out the correct answer way too long. I’d say, reveal the correct answer, then educate us. Also, the chat stream is just broken and dumb, but then, no streaming app has figured that out.
Jessica Coen, executive editor
This was my first time playing HQ Trivia, and you always remember your first! I had a lot of fun, but I’m not sure I would’ve enjoyed it so much had I not been surrounded by fun people. For all the isolation that smartphones can encourage, the communal experience — rather than the game itself — was what made HQ so great. It’s also worth noting that for something that is truly modern, the game had me picking up retro vibes: the playing-live-against-strangers reminded me of airplane trivia (is that still a thing?), and the music/graphics were straight out of Kids Incorporated.
But here’s my biggest takeaway: The irritating host made an off-the-cuff “joke” about Jews and Ponzi schemes. Like, what? Who let this dude out of his cave and decided to put him in front of a camera?
Alex Hazlett, deputy managing editor
I can totally understand how it’s addicting. It came right around the point in the afternoon where I’m usually ready for a break, and it’s over fast enough that it doesn’t really feel like I’m slacking in a meaningful way. It’s hard to cheat, so I feel like I have a reasonable shot at winning, and I think they make the first couple questions a little easier so it pulls you in. I just really need them to make an Android app so I can play, too.
Pete Pachal, tech editor
I can see why HQ is suddenly the next mobile phenomenon: The host is fun, the premise is straightforward, and the “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”-meets-Facebook Live format is addictive. But for me, the Moment came when one of the questions was about the “prematurely canceled” show Millennium, which awakened a long-dormant piece of TV trivia in my brain and made it suddenly, urgently useful.
For a brief moment, I was in total command of the experience, capable of outsmarting thousands of others. If HQ can keep stoking that feeling that we, as individuals, have more wisdom than the crowd, it just might outlive its 15 minutes of fame.
Miriam Kramer, deputy science editor
I generally liked my first experience with HQ. I like the fact that it’s a private way of doing pub trivia wherever you go. I don’t actually love pub trivia generally. I find the social pressure of it stressful, but this took that pressure out of it and didn’t take that much time. I’ll play again!
Michael Nuñez, deputy tech editor
HQ Trivia is about as thrilling as a scratch-off lottery ticket. The stakes are super low. Even when you win, you lose. I’m not a huge fan of trivia to begin with, and when everyone is sober and the winners only get $9 and some change … it’s somehow even more intolerable.
Jason Abbruzzese, business section editor
I liked it, but the hype is a bit much. It’s definitely exciting to get a few questions right and see the numbers dwindle. And the sense of urgency is legit — I got a little nervous sweating going as we played.
I’m not sure it’s going to become a thing I do all the time, but I can see myself playing if I’m just sitting around and get the push notification.
Alex Arbuckle, photo curator
I’d seen friends play it before but had been hesitant to jump in, so this was my first game. I found my heart racing and hands shaking as the countdown began. I busted out on the third question even though I knew the answers to the other ones. I hate the game with my life and I will be playing again at 9 p.m.