I've always considered myself a trivia whiz. I'd devour any and all trivia books I could find. As I got older, I played games on the computer and online. That eventually morphed to the present day, where I like to sharpen my skills on various gaming consoles. One of the best games I've found is Buzz! Quiz ($60; PS2, PS3, PSP, buzzthegame.com). What makes Buzz! Quiz different from other games is that it comes with its own controllers, which look like the ones you'd use if you were on an actual game show.
The show has a snarky host named Buzz, who has an English accent that reminds me of Simon Cowell. He's not above insulting the players, but he's funny and he keeps the game moving. You can choose your own character, buzzer noise, clothes, and name. The categories and Qs run the gamut: '80s Music, Mind & Body, TV Hits, Sports. The choices are wide enough to keep everyone playing interested.
The game itself has all sorts of odd and amusing twists. In one round, every time you get a question right, you throw a pie at your opponent of choice. Three pies to the face and you're out. Last player standing wins. In another round, a lit bomb is tossed around like a hot potato. (You don't want to be holding the bomb when it explodes.)
Buzz! Quiz has become a must-play on holidays with my entire family. We've played with the kids and the grandparents, and they all enjoy it!
Back in the early '90s, I was addicted to a computer game called You Don't Know Jack. I was pleasantly surprised to see Jack has made its way to consoles ($30; PlayStation, Wii, Xbox, Nintendo, youdontknowjack.com). It's the same fun game I remember, with the wiseass host and the anti-game show attitude. You get the fun pop-culture references and the oddball categories like Jack Attack, where you might be asked to pair up people with their BFFs (Bart Simpson? Answer: Millhouse), or Dis or Dat, where you might have to decide if the answer is a YouTube video sensation or a Renoir painting ("The History of Dance" is YouTube, "Dance in the City" is Renoir). Each player also has the chance to "screw" their opponents by forcing them to answer a question if they don't buzz in and you think they don't know the answer.
Jack is a game for people who think outside the box, as the answers are not always what they seem. It's trivia with a heavy dose of pop culture mixed in - and quite a bit of fun.
Finally, I was very excited to try out Trivial Pursuit ($29; PlayStation, Xbox, Wii, hasbro.com), because that board game was a staple for me in the '80s and '90s. It still has all the elements you remember, but manages to provide a few new twists like graphics using maps in the Geography category or photos in Entertainment. If you love the board game, then you'll love this version.
That being said, I found Pursuit to be a bit slow after the fast pace and fun of Buzz! Quiz and You Don't Know Jack. Pursuit still plays more like a board game than a console game. Still, I loved the scope of all three games because they appeal to different crowds, and you really won't go wrong buying any one of them.
Now it's your turn. No matter which game you choose, have fun sharpening your trivia skills!