For this article, we will be defining trivia video games as “video games that primarily focus on asking questions to the player about details, facts, or bits of information that typically hold very little importance.” For the master and veterans of trivia, the next big trivia game can liven up the party, bring family together, or just be a way to test your knowledge of pop culture, historical info, geography, or scientific awareness. To the more hesitant or unaccustomed gamer, trivia games can seem like a looming wall in the distance. Some of the trivia game obstacles are as follows:
- Trivia games can be time-sensitive and region-specific, excluding players if they are unfamiliar with the game’s target demographic or time period.
- Trivia games must have a wide and thorough amount of information to help its replayability and engage a player’s breadth and depth of knowledge.
- Trivia games must grapple with variation (or faithful representation, if it is has a gameshow counterpart) to keep the interest of the veterans and not exclude newer players.
We will be using these three points to help explain the choices on this list while also doing something unique: reading this list from beginning to end will inform you about how older trivia games try to surmount their obstacles while newer games relish in the difficulty or tackle their problems with creativity and variation. This list will not solely be on the worth of the game’s enjoyment, but also its cultural significance. We hope by utilizing this unique approach to a “Top 10” list, we will give the readers both an interesting recommendation while showcasing how trivia games have evolved over time.
10. Family Feud
- System: PS2, NES, 3DO, GEN, SNES
- Publisher: GameTek
- Developer: Imagineering Inc., Eurocom Entertainment Software, Beam Software
- Release Dates: May 1991
Family Feud is an archaic example of a game that tries to stay faithful to the show but creates a myriad of problems by doing so. If the trivia game has a real life counterpart, then it’s reasonable for the game to want to replicate that, thus this game allows players to input their answers directly when asked its iconic survey questions.
Instead of creating a multiple choice format, the game asks players to input every answer by typing on the gamepad, creating a hilarious balance of answers that were too strict or too open-ended. The lack of variation in the game also creates issues of player interest.
Staying too close to the show meant sacrificing the replay value of Family Feud’s video game, a problem that every trivia game must engage in some way, replayability. Family Feud, while objectively a bad game, is a good example of the constraints of the trivia game genre. Players interested in a history lesson on trivia video games would be interested in trying this game, but more importantly, gamers looking for a good laugh and stream game might want to look at TAS (tool-assisted speed-runs) videos on youtube for this game to demonstrate the appeal and flaws of this game.
- System: Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U
- Publisher: THQ, Nordic Game Publishing
- Developer: THQ, Pipeworks Software, Inc.
- Release Dates: Oct 6, 2012
The value of this game is in its faithful presentation. In describing the actual game show, you end up describing the video game, and that was the intended purpose of Jeopardy! (2012). Gamers looking to experience what it would be like to be on the television show will be amused by how the game captures the music faithfully and its visuals. The gameplay allows for 1 - 3 players offline or online to play, creating a bigger environment to test your knowledge. For those hesitant in the trivia genre, easy mode presents the game’s answers as multiple choice while the regular mode will require players to type in their answers. Although one of the best trivia video games for its faithful presentation, “Jeopardy! (2012)” lacks a variety of gameplay modes, the price it pays for staying close to the show.
Newer players might shy away or remain uninterested if the allure of the game show is not enough. The pop culture questions also are losing their shine, as even the game implies it is dated. Try this game if you prefer a video game that is faithful to its game show, but if you’re a newer player or want more variation, continue reading the list!
8. Trivial Pursuit Live
- System: Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4
- Publisher: Ubisoft
- Developer: Developer:
- Release Dates: Feb 3, 2015
Where Trivial Pursuit Live excels is variation. Depending on whether you’ve chosen 3 or 5 rounds, there is a different structure to accompany the gameplay. If you’re new to trivia, you might favor “the Grab Bag,” a round that allows each player to make a correct choice amongst many correct answers, however, selecting the wrong choice eliminates you until the next question. Veterans might favor the quick answers rounds where the value of your answer is determined by the speed you answer and whether it is correct or incorrect. These variations in gameplay lend to the game’s replay value, but also to its allure for newer or non-seasoned players.
Unfortunately, despite its benefits, extended sessions of this game online are buggy, so even though this game features multiplayer, local play is oddly the best experience. For gamers looking for a traditional trivia game with enough variation to include newer players, Trivial Pursuit Live is an acceptable answer.
7. Scene It? Box Office Smash
- System: Xbox 360
- Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
- Developer: Krome Studios, Screenlife Games
- Release Dates: Oct 28, 2008
“Scene It? Box Office Smash” is the game that rewards trivia knowledge of contemporary box office hits and classic movies.Up to four players can play offline and online, utilizing either traditional Xbox 360 controllers or the included 4 “Big Button Controllers” found in the bundle pack.
Now, here’s where the fun begins. As you play the game, the game tests your knowledge with different game types. “Pictogram” tests your ability to name the movie using pictures to form words--a sort of word association game. “Movie Clip”, asks you to answer multiple after a movie clip is played, so players with weaker overall knowledge can win with observation. “Who Am I?” tests whether you use clues to determine an actor’s name. “Child’s Play”, asks you to name a movie from a scene as it is being drawn, a quick answer providing more points. There are even more game types, allowing both new players and seasoned movie critics to have fun.
While “Scene It? Box Office Smash” lacks diversity in its topics, it executes the presentation of questions so well that it easily stands as a great example of how to make trivia video games interesting to both new and old, offline or online.
6. Buzz! Quiz TV
- System: PS3
- Publisher: SCEE/SCEA Games, SCE Australia
- Developer: Relentless Software
- Release Dates: Sep 23, 2008
“Buzz! Quiz TV” is PlayStation’s love letter to trivia fans. Gone are all the problems of intriguing new players and fans. Instead, you have a game that masters both presentation of a trivia show and variation of game types. The game comes with bundled “wired buzzer” controllers to help player immersion. “Buzz! Quiz TV” tests players with thousands of questions in categories such as music, sports, TV, lifestyle, and also gives you access to further questions with DLC packs that add 500 extra questions per pack.
If you find 2008 too old for your tastes, then why not update the questions with the game’s custom questions, allowing savvy trivia gamers the chance to defeat one of the biggest problems of trivia games: time. While the game might favor players from the UK, its celebrity choices can sometimes be a bit unfamiliar, “Buzz! Quiz TV” is excellent at adapting to problems of the genre while still remaining true to its form. Test your trivia knowledge both online and offline in this well-executed trivia video game.
5. Quiz Magic Academy Evolve World
- System: Arcade
- Publisher: Konami
- Developer: Konami
- Release Dates: March 15, 2017
Quiz Magic Academy is an ongoing trivia arcade game that is a staple in Japanese arcades. While relatively unknown in the US, if you are a Japanese arcade-goer or someone involved in anime/manga culture, you will have heard about this popular Konami trivia game. Quiz Magic Academy is so popular, it gets referenced in anime/manga and even had its own anime that released 2 OVA’s (original video animation). Multiple iterations of this series exist, dating back to 2003 with its first release, and the most recent one releasing this year: “Quiz Magic Academy Evolve World.”
In the most recent iteration, players engage in either single-player or multiplayer mode. Single-player will engage players with a variety of different options testing their knowledge on specific topics of their choosing. Multiplayer mode is where the fun begins though. You can get up to 4 players to link together online at any arcade cabinet. Players can engage in time-sensitive, regularly-updated story events or engage in battle with non-event enemies. The battle system works like this: to defeat an enemy, your party must successfully answer a multitude of questions while surviving the enemy attack. Correct answers will deal damage to the enemy while ranking you against other members of your team. Defeating enemies yield rewards and placing higher amongst your teammates will yield even bigger rewards.
The RPG format of the game really helps appeal to newer players and the events help keep the game competitive and fresh with new content. If you understand Japanese, love trivia, and are fortunate enough to be near an arcade with this game, definitely check it out.
4. You Don’t Know Jack - Jackbox Party Pack 1
- System: Xbox One, PS3, PS4, PC, Mac, Ouya, Fire TV, Nexus Player
- Publisher: Jackbox Games, Inc., Telltale Games, Avanquest Software
- Developer: Jackbox Games, Inc., Telltale Games
- Release Dates: Nov 18, 2014
Ask anyone who’s into trivia video games, and you will quickly find out that the “Jack” titles have certainly anchored themselves in the trivia genre. “You Don’t Know Jack” lets you pick 1 to 50 episodes to play solo or together using your mobile devices. It is recommended to play these games in a house setting, as online lag will benefit the host (although, this is remedied in future Jackbox games with increased time for players).
These episodes have a predetermined set of questions, but their presentation makes it fun to play, as each episode plays out like a comedy routine you’re watching. The uniqueness of the questions requires you to dissect what is being asked and the knowledge of the correct answer. There is also a “sponsored wrong answer” of the game, which is a unique wrong answer that will give you points if you can determine which the wrong answer they want you to choose. Any wrong answer, other than the sponsored wrong answer, will have the narrator explain why the correct answer is right, useful for teaching new trivia gamers.
While replayability is weak in this game, episodes not changing whether you play it alone or together, the way the questions are asked allows for a strong, entertaining impression for newer players to feel engaged in the genre as they go through all 50 episodes of the game.
3. Fibbage XL
- System: PC, MAC
- Publisher: Jackbox Games, Inc.
- Developer: Jackbox Games, Inc.
- Release Dates: Mar 24, 2016
This game can be bought standalone or bought together in the Jackbox Party Pack 1, its sequel Fibbage 2 can be found Party Pack 2, but only as a package. Both contain different sets of questions, so if you enjoyed the former, definitely buy the latter. For those unaware, Fibbage does an appealing take on the trivia genre, a move that makes it fun for both veteran trivia players and new alike. Instead of being forced to answer correctly, players can gain points by making either funny or believable lies for the questions. Every correct answer will net the highest value of points, but successfully making a player choose a lie as their answer will net the owner points.
Players experienced in trivia games will try to determine the right answer, but players skilled at deception or funny answers will also get a kick out of Fibbage. The format of the questions vary depending on the topics players choose, but games are quick and the replay value is certainly high.
2. Trivia Murder Party - Jackbox Party Pack 3
- System: PC, MAC, PS4, Xbox One, NS
- Publisher: Jackbox Games, Inc.
- Developer: Jackbox Games, Inc.
- Release Dates: Oct 18, 2016
A different presentation goes a long way, and “Trivia Murder Party” isn’t just any trivia game, it’s a game to the death. Players will find themselves placed in a precarious situation where answering correctly means survival and answering incorrectly means cer--, no, you play a mini-game, some far more rugged than others, adhering to the game’s cutthroat nature.
Similar to other trivia games, the player is presented with a bunch of trivia questions, spanning tons of categories from sports facts to Hostess products. Newer players will definitely know a fact or two while veterans will be challenged and baffled at how weird some questions can be. The allure of this game is the ridiculous nature of the questions and easy audience participation. Just like other Jackbox games, audience members can participate in some mini-games, allowing for fun with the already large amount of main players (up to 8).
Playing with online players is seamless, especially with the added extra time feature to count for players farther away from the host, definitely helping its replayability. Whether you’re playing in a house setting or online with viewers, Trivia Murder Party is both an entertaining game to watch and play.
- System: PC, MAC
- Publisher: Majorariatto
- Developer: Majorariatto
- Release Dates: Mar 28, 2017
Majotori ignores the tried and true path of trivia video games, the online multiplayer. Instead, the game takes a dangerous gamble. Majotori is a story-driven trivia video game that chooses to hone in and refine the single player experience. While there are tons of trivia questions that are a staple of the genre, an alluring aspect to veterans, this might frighten newer players whose experience are far more limited. Majotori handles this spectacularly in two ways. First, players are allowed to customize the appearance of miscellaneous, cinema, video games, and animation questions. Second, and by far the most important element of this game, is that there are branching paths for each character and their stories. Majotori distinguishes itself with quick excerpts into a character’s life and wishes.
Majotori’s story will make you want to keep playing to see your favorite characters succeed or fail. The branching paths allow players to seek out different experience each playthrough, making the game’s replay value cater to any level of skill. The game is a very generous $6 on Steam and its contents are still being updated with more story and character paths as we speak. Definitely check this title out if you’re enamored with trivia or love quirky, fun stories.
Trivia video games are a genre difficult to explore for newer players, but their reward is two-fold--an experience that is great to build up your memory and bond with your friends and family. While trivia video games aren’t for everybody, the steady and purposeful push to include newer players might have you interested in the future!
If you enjoyed the article or have played any of these trivia games in the past, let us know in the comments! Hopefully, in the future, we can get in some game time together!
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