HQ trivia app engages students, offers prize money


Graphic by Charlotte Alden.

By Rebecca Hirsh

What would you find in a toolbox? A hammer. What revolves around the Earth? The moon. If you were to dig a tunnel in Honolulu through the center of the Earth, what country would you end up in? Botswana.

These are a few of the questions that HQ Trivia players must answer correctly in any given round in order to advance. Created by the founders of Vine last October, the app has recently become popular among students, who compete in trivia games for the chance to win cash prizes.

“I’m a very competitive person. I like just knowing fun facts about random things or rediscovering something that I once knew,” sophomore Jack Gonzalez said. “It’s so satisfying to use the process of elimination to pinpoint an answer and then get it right.”

Twice a day—3 p.m. and 9 p.m. ET—an HQ host livestreams for around 10 minutes, reading the 12 questions to the audience and commenting on players’ progress. The questions get progressively harder and come from a variety of topics including sports, art and entertainment. Based on their performance, users can win money sent to their PayPal accounts.

In an informal Black & White survey of 93 students of all grades, almost two thirds had heard of the game, a majority of whom play. Some play regularly, while others only tune in when they have the time.

“I play because it’s a super fun, entertaining game that’s also not a huge time commitment,” sophomore Joanna Papaioannou said. “You can win actual money without paying anything to play. It’s a win-win situation.”

Players have 10 seconds to choose between three multiple choice answers, and users are eliminated from the round once they answer a question incorrectly.

Players who answer all 12 questions in a round correctly then split the prize, which is sent to the user’s PayPal account. Most games attract around a half million people to compete for a prize of $2,000 total, but the prize on Jan. 7 of $10,000 brought more than one million players to the app. Games since then have held those numbers.

Nathaniel Dwyer (‘17) won $10.47 after starting to play over winter break with his family.

“I was pretty excited, but also shocked,” Dwyer said. “I guessed on more than half the questions and just got really lucky. It’s been really fun to play and have the chance to win money just based on knowing random facts.”