Keep Sharp – and Social – with Trivia

Online trivia quizzes and other games make you think and engage with news, information and the outside world. Even better – they can improve your mood and well-being, according to a study of regular or sometime online players.

And even better than that, online trivia games help you socialize virtually, all while keeping brains sharp and having fun.

The original trivia game goes online 

Jeopardy! has an online version named J!6, a daily game with six categories in standard answers-first format, followed by another set of six. Broadway musicals, criminals, world travel and business were some topics when I played. You can also play on your smartphone: just download the free app or use voice commands with Google Assistant with Android phones.

Search for free trivia quizzes by topic from the two million at JeopardyLabs, or create your own quiz using its template.

Geeks Who Drink

Geeks Who Drink offers several varieties of trivia quizzes. They have themed one-subject quizzes (on subjects like Harry Potter, Baking, Disney, Broadway or decades like the ’80s and ’90s) or Classic quizzes, which can range from Hungary to The Hunger Games, science to sports, the Billboard Hot 100 to Game of Thrones. Each quiz has seven rounds of eight questions each.  Both audio (name the song title and artist) and visual (e.g. name the movie or show portrayed) are in each round. The company ran quizzes in bars and restaurants for 15 years before adding online games in March 2020, and has hosts for all quizzes. Each two-hour game costs $5.99 per device (a team sharing one device pays just $5.99). A 10-pack is $44.99.

“Teams can discuss answers to each round in virtual ‘breakout’ rooms,” says Bryan Carr at Geeks Who Drink. “Whether you want to be entertained, compete with other players, or socialize with friends, we cover it all.” Pick a quiz from days, times and themes on its website.

Words with Friends

Words With Friends is a free Scrabble-type game, with jumbled letters you shape into words. “I play Words with Friends constantly on my phone with its app – meaning I can do it on a bus, waiting for someone, in a dentist office etc.,” says Jessica Levant, an artist and former management consultant in San Francisco. “I like it because it’s a problem to solve. Anagram and strategy skills are needed to get the highest score and prevent others from using high score squares.”

Levant often plays many games at once, with one person each, sometimes using the chat function to discuss the game or plans for next weekend. “Actual playing depends on when the other person engages,” she says. “For example, I play with one guy who manages a word or two a week: the game stays until his next move. But others play every morning or evening, so we can finish a game.” For the past three years Levant has played with a friend she met on a flight to Arizona (they realized they were playing the same game).

Wanna play? 

Don’t be limited by this list!  There are many places to find online trivia games to play alone, with friends or with anyone. You can also find dozens of free online games in this list from AARP Staying Sharp. These include trivia, fill-in-the-blanks-from-famous-texts and Around the World in 80 Trips. This game asks you to pick countries, then remember place names, photos and routes connecting them in order, and tests memory, attention and visual-spatial brain functions.

What’s right for you?

  • Do try game types that interest you. If you’re a fountain of obscure facts, trivia is for you. If forming jumbled letters into words doesn’t appeal in real life, it won’t magically enchant you online.
  • Decide if you want free, short games just minutes long, or a longer, more official, hosted paid “game experience.”
  • With phone voice apps, talk slowly and clearly into the microphone.
  • Don’t force yourself. If you’re bored to tears, it defeats the purpose. Have fun while sharpening your brain!

Photo by Vane Nunes for Adobe Stock

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