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Answer Me This: Who Goes to Vegas to Answer Trivia Questions?
By Lucy Westcott
The Game Show GuysMost of the TCONA quizzers I spoke with regaled details of their victories and losses, the near misses and what-could-have-been’s on “Jeopardy!” and other game shows. But for those who haven’t experienced being a contestant on one of these shows, or who just want to smash a buzzer, TCONA offered something called the Game Show Playalong, simulations of popular and obscure game shows.
I met the team behind Home Game Enterprizes, the company that runs the Playalong. A group of male game show fanatics, they’ve set up a buzzer system and have a brilliantly vampy host called Stad St. Fleur to make the experience as authentic as it can be considering that it is held in a Las Vegas hotel room.
Each member of the team has an impressive list of game show credentials that puts to shame my one appearance on “The Weakest Link,” where I was voted off first. They include Home Game Enterprize’s Joe Van Ginkel, who tells me he used game shows as a “weapon” against his autism as a child and was a contestant on “Merv Griffin’s Crosswords.” Creative director Ben Ziek competed on “Win Ben Stein’s Money” and “Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader” and is a pun champion.
“This is, for lack of a better term, a hobby we hope we can make money with,” said Tim Connolly, an emcee for Home Games Entertainment who works as an Uber driver in Los Angeles. “We would like it to be our full-time job.”
I took part in the first Game Show Playalong of the weekend in a simulation of “Split Second”, a 1970s buzzer quiz game. My competitor, Marshall Flores, an information analyst for P.F. Chang’s in Scottsdale, Ariz., was a formidable opponent who answered the “Star Trek” questions I couldn’t -- which means all of them.
“We’re something different [from] bar shows,” Ziek says. “We consider it an alternative to regular pub trivia where everyone just sits at a table and writes stuff. We’re still struggling with that, but we know there’s a market there somewhere.”