A) What is the name of The Simpsons’ cat?
B) Who was the first Vice-President of the United States?
C) Where is the largest volcano in the world?
D) Which metal is most commonly used as filament in incandescent light bulbs?
I don’t have any prizes for you, but if you know the answers and are also super-speedy at thumb-typing on a touch screen, you’ll probably enjoyo Quizarium.
Operating a lot like an old-school trivia chat room on IRC, Quizarium is definitely not designed for slow-typers. You start in a lobby with a variety of rooms to choose from, depending on whether you feel like facing a grab bag of questions or prefer more focused subject matter. You can even create your own custom room, and although you must have a Plus+ account to play, once you’re verified, you also have the option to play offline.
Questions are asked, and after a certain amount of time, hints like answer length and random letters start to be revealed, either until someone types in the answer or time runs out. Naturally, you want to be the one to type in the answer first, but their servers tend to be rather forgiving, so multi-way ties are frequently awarded if you get your answer in fast enough. You can thumbs up or thumbs down questions you like or dislike, and Quizarium even has an option on their website to submit your own questions.
I suspect that the user-submitted content is where things start falling apart, because spelling matters in the game, and quality control isn’t always great. You’ll frequently run into odd syntax and typos in the questions and even outright incorrect answers, and I suspect that the general difficulty level of the questions gets partially sabotaged by unhappy losers thumbs downing questions they think are too hard or people misunderstanding how the categories work.
Typing on a touch screen is a difficult task at the best of times, so trying to do it quickly makes it that much harder. Additionally, there is very little leeway for accuracy. You can get away without pluralization, but spelling is absolute. You also might run into spotty connection issues, which can be frustrating, but when everything is working well, the multiplayer experience is actually handled very nicely.
In the end, it’s a nice idea, but it seriously suffers from a sloppy execution. On the other hand, it is a clean interface and totally free, unless you opt to spring for the Premium version, so a budget-minded trivia hound might still get a kick out of this.
*Answers: A) Snowball, B) John Adams, C) Hawaii, and D) Tungsten
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