Game

Remember when the whole family would gather to watch Blockbuster or Jeopardy, shouting answers at the TV in vain? Well, we live in the future now and the mobile equivalent lets you join in for real!

A gameshow app from the makers of Vine is gaining popularity fast, bringing the thrill of trivia to the palm of your hand with a live daily gameshow that thousands of people worldwide can compete in for cash prizes.

HQ runs two shows a day during the week and one a day at the weekend. Once you’re registered with the app, you’ll get a push notification when the game is about to go live. You’ll then have about two minutes to open the app and sharpen your wits before the game begins. The quiz is hosted by a live presenter, which gives HQ a realness that most trivia games don’t have.

To win a share of the day’s jackpot, you have to correctly answer 12 multiple choice questions in a row. Tens of thousands of people are competing at the same time, answering the same questions, and even if you don’t get to the end it’s fun to see how many others you manage to beat. With just ten seconds to answer each question, it can get pretty tense – but the time limit is there to discourage cheaters from Googling their way to victory.

We were skeptical when HQ launched a few weeks ago, thinking it might be a flash in the pan that fails to ignite the public’s interest. But aside from the odd technical issue with the video feed, this is the real deal and has picked up steam surprisingly quickly. We’re not sure where the sponsorship money comes from exactly – there are no visible ads and the game is free to play – but the cash prizes range from $250 to $5,000. Sure, you split the winnings with everyone else who gets to the end, but the thrill of beating 99% of competitors is its own reward and if you’re the lone winner you keep the lot!

Playing feels a bit like taking part in Who Wants to be a Millionaire via FaceTime, and the production values and live video make it stand out as a fresh idea on the App Store. It’s a surprisingly social app, too. We received the alert while out for drinks and soon had a group of people gathered around shouting answers at the screen, just like the old days in front of the TV. Only this time, if you’re right you can win actual money!

It’s hard to tell if this will kickstart a lasting craze for live communal in-app events, or if the novelty will soon wear off – but for the moment, HQ is the place to be every night at 9pm EDT.

Download the app free if you want to give it a try, and sign up with the referral code “rolfebox” if you want to help us win. (That’s not the only reason we’re writing about the app, we swear!)

Download HQ