The trainwreck at the charity trivia event

Yesterday, I participated in a charity trivia fundraiser with a team from Trinity Alliance of the Capital District.  We’ve won this event before, we’ve raised some money for the charity, and this most likely is our last go-round in this tournament.

Partially because the very qualified and dedicated director who organized these teams, Kat Brown, is leaving at the end of the week for a new and fun career move (she was also instrumental in Trinity Alliance’s “Rock Your Style” fashion shows).

Partially because of who won the event this year.  I’m not mentioning their name, but i’m sure they’ll find an old blog post I wrote for them about three years ago when they won it in the past and re-purpose it as if it was written yesterday.  Always stay classy…

No, my beef this year with that charity trivia tournament was an escalated beef from last year.

It involves something called Buzztime.

Let me explain.

Last year, each team was provided with an online keypad where they could enter their answers electronically.  Sort of like that NTN trivia you see at bars, where you’re playing nationally and you’re selecting multiple-choice responses in real time.

Last year, the computerized keypads kept freezing up.  They’d freeze up, and you had to reboot the laptop and re-log in and do all this before the next question was asked.

It was a pain in the tuchus.

So last night, the host made a very strong point about how everything had been checked over and we were all going to have a great time with these keypads.

First question involved a choice of five actors, one of which got his start on the soap opera The Young and the  Restless.  This was a tough question, and I knew it would separate the teams.  I knew the answer was Tom Selleck.  Press the button for Tom Selleck.

About five minutes later …

Our answer was registered.  Ten points to us.

Then the system froze up.

Everybody’s system froze up.

After about 20 minutes… they re-started the game.  With the same damn question, which now everybody knew the answer.

And after one question … the system plotzed again.

At this point, the organizers had to go with a Plan B.

So here’s Plan B.  Everybody wrote down their answers on paper notepads.  But since the answers would appear on the screen after every question, the organizers had to turn on the screen for the question … and then turn off the screen before the answer appeared … and then turn on the screen for the next question.

It also meant that we really didn’t know who was leading and who got what question right and who got what question wrong.

Look, I get it.  Many trivia companies use big screen technology now.  It’s a fact of life.  But knowing that you had these problems last year … and you continued to use this system … it’s like putting your hand on a mousetrap and hoping it won’t snap on your fingers, even though it snapped on your fingers the last time.

So here’s the deal.

To the organizers of this event, I say … by next year, you need to ditch this Buzztime software.  To put it in the parlance of your game, it’s got more bugs in it than:

  1. (A) a Russian embassy
  2. (B) a bedroom at a Trump Hotel
  3. (C) A Warner Bros. cartoon festival
  4. (D) A Sid and Marty Krofft cosplay event where you’re avoiding Benita Bizarre

Just do the smart thing here.  Hire a professional trivia company like the local Trivia Nights Live crew.  They’ve produced trivia games for nearly two decades, their questions are tough but fair, and they can handle as many as seventy different trivia teams in a single game.  Twice as many as who appeared last night.

Because I could have written a blog post this morning about how much fun I’ve had at this event the last four years with my trivia team crew…

Or I could have written a blog post about the team that came over and taunted us with “Oh, you brought your ringer,” and who pointed to her shoulder to show us her homemade charity patch and said, “Oh we’re playing for this charity, so you should just give us the victory right now.”

No.  Instead, I’m writing about how the game went completely off the rails like the climactic scene in Buster Keaton’s The General because the damn software that screwed up last year’s game went and done screwed up this year’s game.

Come on, guys, you deserve much better than this.