Raph Koster used MMO design to help revitalize a bar trivia game
Polygon has a fascinating read on how Koster was brought in to update a bar trivia game after it had started to decline in popularity. After playing and observing the game, he noted that players weren’t able to get better at trivia games, unlike an increase in skill that comes with playing a lot of, say, League of Legends. So he said that he needed to change it up so that everyone could feel useful: “We needed to give the players who weren’t necessarily great at trivia several ways to be good at the game, without necessarily being great at trivia.”
Koster’s redesigned version, Jackpot Trivia, allowed players to select topics within their field of knowledge and to use tokens as a resource to bet or skip on certain questions. The new version has been played by up to 15% more than the old in the venues where it’s being introduced.
“Even though bar games have been around forever, there’s something uniquely now about the idea of a networked bar game that you’re playing that’s massively multiplayer, but you’re effectively playing right next to your nachos,” Koster said.