You are presented with questions from a variety of categories, like History, Sports, Entertainment, Music and Comics, and you must supply the answer. To make things interesting, there is a timer on each question that allows you fifteen seconds to answer. The more time that goes by, the lower your bonus score on the question will be. You are allowed to miss only a certain number of questions before the game is over. You start out with three Free Misses. Each time you miss a question, you loose one free miss. But you get an extra free miss when you answer ten questions correctly.
There are five volumes of Trivia Whiz and each volume has a hundred different questions.
It's hard to compare trivia games to other games. Testing one's intellectual level is not something that most gamers enjoy doing, especially since the other genres look so much more fun. You can blame this on weak educational systems, but that's not the case with Trivia Whiz. Trivia Whiz was a shareware game published first by George Broussard under Micro F/X Software and later by Apogee Software. It was re-released as freeware by Apogee in December 2005.
The game comprises five volumes, each containing 100 questions from different categories of knowledge, like Sports, History, Geography, TV Shows, Science, and so on. The questions are randomly generated, and you finish each volume once you have answered all 100 of them. At the start of the game, you receive three free misses. That means that if you get four questions wrong, it's Game Over. However, with only that, the game would've been too difficult. That's why, after you have answered 10 questions correctly, you receive one free miss. Basically you can win with more than 10 mistakes per volume. Depending on how fast you respond, you can get a number of bonus points, but if you take too long (more than 15 seconds), you don't get any.
How do you appreciate a game that has no story, almost no graphics, and generic sounds? The only feature worth reviewing is of course the quality of the questions. Trivia quizzes should be directed towards people with an above-average IQ who are interested in a variety of subjects. Unfortunately, Trivia Whiz fails to be a fun challenge for all people or a viable source of knowledge in fields you've previously ignored.
The first thing you may notice is the game's focus on North America. This is a detriment for the following reasons: on one side, we have the Europeans struggling to understand why they should know the answers to half of the questions - which are about various American sports, TV shows, movies, comics, and cartoons - and on the other side, we have the Americans who think of these questions as complete no-brainers. So it's a matter of either knowing everything, or using pure guesswork.
At least the science questions are common to everyone. However, most of the questions are too easy, be they about American history, American geography, astronomy, or any other field. It's stuff that you've heard about at least once in your life. You can find some scattered pieces of info that you'll consider interesting, but that's about it.
Trivia Whiz occasionally fails the test of accuracy. For example, Sydney is not the capital of Australia; it's Canberra. The game also incorrectly identifies the year that the telegraph was invented. These may be simple mistakes on the part of the creators, but they are especially unfortunate in a trivia game. Overall, I have to say this is an outdated game directed towards casual players who have spent their entire lives watching TV and sports. It's a good helper when you want to improve your memory, but too boring for you to even finish the first volume.
Probably two of the rarest Apogee games in existence, Word Whiz and Trivia Whiz are two decent trivia games by George Broussard and Scott Miller, two founders of Apogee. Word Whiz is the more limited and straightforward game of the two: you must pick the right synonym or definition of the highlighted word from 4 multiple choices. In Trivia Whiz, the questions span a wide range of subjects, and there is a nice real-time mechanic: you must answer each question within fifteen seconds to get bonus points. There are "free misses" you can use as well. All in all, fun games that trivia fans will enjoy - and Apogee fans will definitely delight in acquiring ;) Last but not least: an interesting anecdote is that Trivia Whiz was actually not published under Apogee name but "Micro F/X," a small company that George Broussard ran before he teamed up with Scott Miller in 1990 to form Apogee.
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