How the Video Game Crash Lead to a Golden Age of Trivia Games

As it turns out, just after the great video game console crash of 1983, there was a golden age for coin-operated trivia machines. Here’s more from Waypoint:

The mania for trivia games can be seen as a subset of the wider trivia craze blanketing the United States in the early 1980s. Trivia, especially the type that dwells in low culture, first became popular in the 1960s with competitions held at Columbia University. One of the organizers, Ed Goodgold, would go on to publish a book titled Trivia. He’d also serve as the first manager for the band Sha Na Na, which adopted the same ironic nostalgia for Boomer childhood as Goodgold’s trivia questions.

By the 1980s, the Canadian board game Trivial Pursuit had brought this type of trivia into tens of millions of American living rooms. It was so popular that by 1984 three separate copycat board games were being marketed under the identical title of “Texas Trivia.” Scores of trivia books were published. Jeopardy got a reboot, ditching old host Art Fleming for Alex Trebek. 150,000 people participated in a nationwide Trivial Pursuit contest in 1985. The operators of the Queen Elizabeth II even staged a Trivial Pursuit-themed cruise.

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