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Video Game / HQ

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HQ, also known as HQ Trivia was a live trivia game for mobile devices. Played at 9 PM EST every day, and 3 PM EST on weekdays, players had to correctly answer 12 questions (sometimes more) of increasing difficulty in a row in order to win real-world money.

Jackpots tended to be from $1,000 to $5,000 on weekdays, whereas weekend jackpots can go up to $50,000, and special shows can get it up to as much as $400,000. note  This money is split among every player who manages to get every question right, which is no small feat.

One of the biggest draws to the game was its host, the energetic Scott Rogowsky. Occasionally, other hosts will take Scott's place. Matt Richards permanently replaced Rogowsky in 2019. Richards regularly filled in when Rogowsky was unavailable.

On February 14, 2020, it was announced that the app would immediately cease operations after its primary investors had stopped funding the company and a potential sale of HQ to an "established business" fell through. A final episode of HQ After Dark was aired that night, hosted by Matt Richards and Anna Roisman. The show ended with Richards showering Roisman and himself with a large bottle of champagne. The final payout was between $0.00–$0.01 per player, split between just over 500 players, as $5 was the final jackpot prize, which Richards said he paid for out of his own pocket.

On February 18, 2020, it was announced on Twitter that a tentative deal with an unspecified company to purchase the HQ franchise had been made, thus allowing it to continue in the near future. HQ resumed operations on March 28th, though with drastically reduced prize pools.

The last game was held on November 17, 2022, though no shutdown was ever officially announced, and the app was removed from Apple App Store and Google Play Store on August 5, 2023.

The creators of the game, Rus Yusupov and Colin Kroll, are better known for previously creating Vine.

HQ contains examples of:

  • All or Nothing: You either get every question right or you walk away with nothing.
  • Audience Game
  • Audience Participation: It's an interactive app.
  • Allegedly Free Game/Bribing Your Way to Victory: Previously averted. There was no way to use your own money to gain an advantage. You could only gain Extra Lives by referring a friend, by playing the game five days in a row, or by the whims of HQ management. That changed in late 2018 and you can now buy Extra Lives for a small fee.
  • Big Win Sirens: In HQ Words, whenever you win a game.
  • Bonus Round: Sort of; in 2019 the game started doing surveys before the gameplay begins.
  • Catchphrase: Each Host has a few:
    • Scott Rogowsky:
      • "Let's get down to the nitty gritty, let's get this show on the road, qumero numero uno!"
      • "Oh boy Oberto" when a savage question occurs
      • "It all boils down to this" when reaching Question 12
    • Matt Richards:
      • "I'm your host with the most, holdin' it down from coast to coast, smooth as the butter you put on toast, the one, the only, money-flippin Matt Richards!"
      • "Five thousand dollars up for the taking, how much money will you be making?"
      • "Nothin' to it but to HQ it!"
      • "Question 12, what's that smell? Smells like money, follow me @mattwasfunny! Whoo, Question 12! I said Question 12!"
      • "Savage question song, sorry you got it wrong!" (with variations for further savage questions).
      • "What's it gonna beee?"
      • "Question 5, question 5 / Ah-ah-ah-ah / Question 5..." (to the tune of "Stayin' Alive")
    • David Magidoff:
      • "I'm your host David Magidoff, the only David Magidoff in the world"
  • Deadpan Snarker: Sarah Pribis's preferred style.
  • Elimination Catchphrase: "Oh my gosh! That's a savage question! - Current host Matt Richards' reaction to savage questions. Also, on HQ Words, this is called being schooled.
  • Expanded Universe: The H Qniverse as the hosts call it.
    • HQ Trivia, the main game.
    • HQ Words, where players are given clues, and have to type in letters for the answer to the clue, sort of like Wheel of Fortune.
    • HQ After Dark, a more adult style, where the hosts could swear and drink on screen.
    • HQ Sports, where players answer sports questions.
    • HQ Tunes, where players hear a snippet of a song and have to answer questions about it, like "What album did this song originally appear on?" or "The writer of this song also wrote which of these?"
    • HQX, where players submit and rate pictures, and whoever gets the highest rating wins.
  • Fun with Acronyms: What exactly DOES HQ stand for? Scott's answers to this question include:
    • "Happy Quinceañera"
    • "Humpback Quail"
  • Game Show Host:
    • Matt Richards, usually.
    • Sharon Carpenter
    • Tyler Fischer
    • Lauren Gambino (primary for HQ Sports)
    • The lightly-regarded David Magidoff
    • Anna Roisman (HQ Words).
    • Formerly Scott Rogowsky and Sarah Pribis.
  • Large Ham: Scott Rogowsky and Matt Richards are very animated.
  • Lifelines: Your Extra Lives, earned by inviting your friends or playing five days in a row, can save you from elimination once per game. You can also earn Erasers to eliminate a wrong answer by playing with a friend nearby. You cannot use Extra Lives or Erasers on the last question, however.
  • The Nicknamer: The hosts love coming up with silly nicknames for themselves, often involving the word "quiz", such as "Quiz Khalifa" or "Quizzie McGuire". Rogowsky also used names related to other well known game show presenters including "Woke Woolery" and "Trap Trebek"
  • Nintendo Hard: Just making it to to the last question of a game is mind-bogglingly difficult. Generally, less than one percent of the starting audience will make it to the end, and far fewer will actually win anything. It's very common for several hundred thousand players to start the game, but only 1,000 or so to survive all of the questions.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Unless you have an Extra Life handy, you will be eliminated from the game if you get even one question wrong.
  • 1-Up: Extra Lives can be used once per game to keep going (but may not be used on the final question) if you answer incorrectly. They can be earned by having another person use your invite code while signing up or by playing the game five days in a row; in rare cases, they're awarded by HQ themselves.
  • Padding: As this is an internet based game show, connectivity issues occasionally rear their ugly head. As such, Host Scott Rogowsky often has to "tapdance" on the air, as they say, and at times this can be very obvious.
  • Progressive Jackpot: On the very rare occasion that no one can answer all the questions correctly, the prize money from that game gets carried over to the next one. The one time this has happened so far was during the March 18, 2018 "one winner takes all" game, where the 27th question came down to two people, one of whom answered incorrectly, and the other one was discovered to have used a bot to answer the 26th question and was disqualified. This being a Sunday show, the prize from that game was carried over to the next "one winner takes all" game the next Sunday, now valued at $50,000 instead of $25,000.
  • Promotional Consideration: Usually required to get the prize pool above the usual $5,000/$25,000 marks, but when they happen... hoo boy. Promoted games usually start at $100,000.
  • Retired Game Show Element: Initially, the gameplay was simple- get 12 questions right and you win or split the jackpot. In May 2019 however, they switched to a Deal or No Deal style format.
  • Rules Spiel: Delivered by the host before every game, to get new players up to speed.
  • Running Gag: See Fun with Acronyms.
    • Also, Scott has been comically inconsistent when stating the game's live filming location.
    • A common running gag among the players is to type "Birds Nest Soup" repeatedly into the chat during every game, in reference to a particularly notorious savage question from a special $50,000 game.
    • "Wakanda Forever" is another popular chat spam.
  • Shocking Elimination: The savage questions.
    • Question 3 on January 8, 2021 asked players what an "accidental" is on sheet music, with beat, pitch and time being the options. 16,861 were eliminated, partly due to an ad for extra lives blocking the screen for most, which caused a huge ouutrage. In the end, only 6 people won.
    • In what is apparently the most savage question in HQ history, a Question 4 asked where 10% of all U.S. electricity came from for two decades, with New York landfill gases, the Hoover Dam and Soviet warheads. 44,498 players picked Hoover Dam. Those 44,498 were wrong. Soviet warheads was the correct answer, with 409 moving on to Question 5.
    • The second most savage question asked which wrestler played a villain in Freddy vs. Jason with Rey Mysterio, Kane and Will Goldberg as choices. Because of his big size, a lot of people easily picked Kane. Turns out it was Rey Mysterio, who, in WWE, is regarded as a lightweight because of his small size, but indeed was one of Robert Englund's stunt doubles in the film. 276 people advanced.
  • Timed Mission: You only get 10 seconds to answer each question, to prevent people from just Googling the answers.
  • Unexpectedly Obscure Answer: The hosts refer to these questions as "Savage Questions" when they eliminate a large section of the audience. This can be rather jarring when it happens in the first half of the game.
    • Likewise, you can get "Schooled" out HQ Words for particularly difficult puzzles (not counting the infamous "Rocy" misspelling).
      • One examples of this during HQ Words was when they used Link's most powerful sword as the clue. Most players thought it was the Master Sword. Turns out it was the Magical Sword. Many players cried foul until a particularly die hard Nintendo fan explained that the magical sword was Link's most powerful sword, in the first couple of Legend Of Zelda games! Also who else would know that Nintendo had a breakout style arcade game called 'Monkey Magic'.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: Occasionally, technical issues can cause players to get eliminated despite giving a correct answer, or in some cases, the question could not appear at all. In these cases, HQ will generally either run a second game or reward affected players with an Extra Life.
  • Yiddish as a Second Language: Scott Rogowsky occasionally lampshades his Jewish heritage by peppering his dialog this way.