How Trivia Makes Problem-Solving Fun
Trying to keep your distance from every human being in the world, it turns out, means spending a lot of time by yourself. Like many, I developed curious new interests during the pandemic, ones I probably wouldn’t have discovered if my day-to-day life didn’t transform overnight. It was during this time that I became obsessed with professional sports, got my driver’s license, and fell in love with driving. I also found my true calling, an underappreciated art form that (in my opinion) I have an innate gift for: making trivia.
A few months into the pandemic, my fiancé’s college friends started hosting a weekly Zoom trivia hour. Whoever won that week’s game got to make their own trivia the next week. My fiancé Hudson and I happen to be very good at trivia and, as a team, we work well because we fill in each other’s knowledge gaps. Hudson thinks the guy who did the iconic “Whatcha Say” song is named Justin Derulo, but I know it’s actually Jason, thanks to the useless encyclopedia of celebrity minutiae that exists in my brain. Meanwhile, I was shocked to learn that the capital of Vermont isn’t Burlington. (WTF is Montpelier?)
Winning trivia is fun and all — the weekly pandemic games brought out a competitive side of me I never knew existed — but the best part about winning was that it meant we got to host the following week. I’ve always been a fan of playing games, but there’s a unique pleasure to creating fun problems for your friends to work out.
Now, there’s a fair amount of people who don’t particularly care for trivia because they don’t have the sort of brains that retain useless knowledge like the year that Chester A. Arthur was elected president. And I agree, trivia like that is wholly unfun: you can’t pull from your general knowledge base to work out the answer, you either know it or you don’t. It feels like you’re back in high school, taking an exam you didn’t study for.
At its best, a game of trivia has creative and weird questions that players can figure out using logical reasoning skills. After writing several hundred questions, I have learned how to make trivia that anyone can enjoy. Trivia, like any other game, exists to entertain, delight, and challenge the player. It…