Monday, January 23, 2006

If ever a Wiz there was

My brain seems specially designed to absorb useless facts and information. Consequently, I liked trivia games and trivia books.

Very rarely is this information actually pressed into service, but hey, you never know.

While going through some old crap I had in boxes, I found the mighty Coleco Quiz Wiz.

These days, Quiz Wiz sounds like a spin-off show from "Fear Factor": Get loaded up on coffee and Mountain Dew and then see how many questions you can answer before you pee your pants.

But no, this was a handheld electronic one-player trivia game. They eventually came out with the Quiz Wiz Challenger, which accommodated up to four players, but take it from me, you never get four people to play after you win too many times. They'd rather be out socializing and things like that.

The Quiz Wiz came bundled with 1,001 general trivia questions, but you could buy other modules that contained themed questions: sports, movies and (my personal favorite, naturally) Super Heroes.

Here's how it worked.

You punch in the number of the question on the keypad. You look at the question in the book and pick what you think the answer is, then you press the corresponding key (A, B, C or D). Then hit the "Answer" key. If it's right, you get a green light and a relatively pleasant tone. If you get it wrong, it's the red light and a buzz.

I thought I'd test my memory so see how much of this I still had locked up in the old noggin.

I've still got it. And let me tell you, knowing comic book trivia from 25 years ago -- much of which is now obsolete -- really impresses the ladies.

The questions -- all about DC Comics characters -- were complied by Bob Rozakis, who among other numerous comic credits, was DC's famed "Answer Man."

I distinctly remember that one of the questions in the book is wrong; I imagine it just got coded wrong in the assembly process. Alas, I don't really have time to go through all the questions.

I did, though, like the answers to choose from in this question:

57. In order to attend Legion meetings, Superboy must:

A. travel through time to the 30th century
B. travel through a space warp to the 12th century
C. use a cosmic treadmill
D. take the "A" train to Harlem

The answer is A. Or it used to be when this came out originally. If you have a year or so, I can try to explain how it's different, but I'd bet you probably don't really want to know.

I know my wife doesn't.

1 comment:

  1. Niiice... just googling Quiz Wiz and found this blog entry. Albeit a year later, I found it. :) Thanks for the memories.

    Don't know why, but I'm working on collecting the Quiz Wiz set-- got about half of the 30 modules so far.

    Anyway, just to make sure this comment is sufficiently geeked out-- the 'wrong' questions aren't miscoded in the cart or system, they're miswritten. The system uses a lowrent version of a checksum. It's a calculator with a few altered genes. The carts are simply shorts-- they loop from one contact to another. That defines the answer key. There are no chips or real electronics in the carts themselves. But the questions have to be written to match the answer key provided.

    Don't ask me why, it's my night off, and I just got done reading the patent info on it for some reason. Yeah, now who's the nerd? :)