The Game That is Taking Over


Chris Yeung

Students (left to right) Alison Cheung ’18, Swara Kalva ’18, Chloe Frajmund ’19, Sabrina Raouf ’18, and Zaid Sarmad ’18, at their daily 3 p.m. gathering to play HQ.

“Hello HQ-ties!” beams the habitual cheery voice. A little behind schedule as usual, it’s Scott Rogowksy, also known as ‘Quiz Daddy’ or ‘Trap Trebek’ by fans, the beloved host of the daily HQ Triva show.

HQ is a new live trivia game show app which airs at 3 p.m. Eastern Time on weekdays, and at 9 p.m. Easter Time daily. The host asks twelve multiple choice questions, each with three possible answers. Players who get a question correct within the ten second limit move on, while the rest are eliminated, although they can continue watching if they so choose. For players that make it through all twelve questions, a cash prize awaits, usually split evenly among all the winners. For most games, the prize is around $2,500, but it can be as high as $250,000 on special occasions, such as the Super Bowl. Creators of the app experiment with different game models to keep audiences coming back, such as a ‘winner takes all’ style that continues to ask questions until only one player remains. The unique humor of the host also attracts new and returning players, dubbing particularly challenging questions, or those that eliminate a large number of players, as ‘Savage Questions.’

“While the payoff might not be very big, students find that the activity helps to spice up their day.”

Students see HQ as an easy way to make money and show off their knowledge of otherwise useless facts. “I never thought that the random facts I learned from the internet would ever pay off until I heard about HQ,” said Ryan Yam ’19.

Quite a few Bronx Science students have actually won HQ games, claiming that although none of them made much of a profit, the title was more than enough for them. “I won the 1,000 dollar prize alongside 339 other people, so I got $2.95. It wasn’t a lot of money, but it does give you bragging rights,” said Jared Samarel ’19. A loophole in the rules dictates that in order to cash in your prize, you have to have at least $20 in your account, which can take more than ten wins to accomplish.

While the payoff might not be very big, students find that the activity helps to spice up their day. “It’s like Kahoot, but there are a million kids in your class,” Joseph Moser ’19, another HQ enthusiast, said. Alexia Frangopoulos ’19 plays the game every night with her sister, saying that she looks forward to the daily notifications on her phone and Rogowksy’s familiar voice and corny jokes. “I usually play it at night with my sister to see who can win, or answer the most questions correctly. The person who gets the most questions correct gets the right to ask the other for help on one homework assignment,” said Frangopoulos.

Although the game has generally received positive feedback from Bronx Science students, there are a few skeptics, suspicious of how the company is making any profit by just giving away money. Cy Toriello ’18 believes that the app is “hypnotizing innocent people who now have the potential to be activated by the government and instantly turned into mindless henchmen at a moment’s notice.”

In reality, HQ has been funded by Silicon Valley venture capitalists. As the audiences have grown, new lucrative sponsorships from corporations like Nike and Warner Brothers are paving the way for even bigger prizes. Many have speculated that the extended breaks between questions will be used as ad space for additional revenue.

As HQ-mania sweeps the world, Bronx Science students continue to tune in every day for a quick after-school escape from reality, a chance at at making a few dollars and, most importantly, bragging rights.