Is your phone a bit less smart than other people’s? Is your phone battery just not up to the challenge of playing a power-draining* game online anymore? Are you tired of trying to read a tiny screen when a bigger one would make things so much easier? At least two of these excuses are part of why I had given up on HQ Trivia a couple of years ago but, it turns out, one doesn’t need a swanky phone to partake of (potentially) paid trivia goodness.
* (HQ does warn you to ‘Find a power source’ in its daily live game pre-show, but playing tethered to your charger is not exactly ideal either.)
What is HQ Trivia?
HQ Trivia is a free trivia app for Android phones (and tablets) and iPhones (and iPads) that lets you win cash prizes. It was a mega-big deal a few years ago, then, after some funding and managerial problems, it was taken offline for a few months for retooling, before re-launching in 2020.
You can find out way more about HQ Trivia in an extensive run-down on this very website.
Can You Actually Play HQ Trivia on a Computer?
Yes! But HQ Trivia is not something you can just pick up from the Steam store or download directly; it’s a bit more complicated than that.
(BTW, if you are in the Mac world, HQ Trivia is available for Apple TV.)
Is HQ Trivia Available on Desktop?
Not exactly; you are going to need tools to make it work.
But Wait! I Saw This Version By Softonic That Calls Itself HQ Trivia For PC?!
Don’t be fooled! This isn’t gonna work. The link to download, which originally led to the store at Microsoft.com, is kaput. And this “app” has only two ratings (two stars!) after three years, so chances are that it was not great to begin with and/or was not super legit.
How to Play HQ on a PC
To get HQ Trivia on your PC, you are going to need an emulator.
What’s an emulator? It’s a bit of software that will emulate (hence the name) a phone or tablet on your PC. We’re going to be talking about Android emulators, specifically; this is software that will allow you to run Android OS on a Windows computer, and therefore download, and run, apps, and games from the Google Play Store.
For this article, I tried two different emulators, BlueStacks and Nox Player, with mixed results. Please note that I am most definitely not an expert on Android emulators, so if you need more information than this basic, HQ Trivia-specific intel, Techradar has a decent rundown.
Before You Begin
You will need a Google account to use either of these emulators, as you will need to sign in to use them and the Google Play Store, whence you will download the HQ Trivia app (still, oddly, in Beta, all these years later).
HQ Trivia with Bluestacks (Also Available for Mac OS)
I tried BlueStacks first, downloading the 500MB+ install file from their website. You won’t have to hunt for it.
However, my PC (running Windows 10), which is totally fine for everyday use (word processing, internet browsing, playing too much Civilization VI) had some hiccups as soon as I fired up BlueStacks after installation. This is no little widget, but a powerful tool that requires at LEAST 4GB of RAM. Which I have. But if I’m running anything else (like Chrome, for example), Bluestacks gets cranky and creaky. Consider yourself warned if your computer is older/not primarily used for RAM-heavy things.
BlueStacks makes things easy to find, like the Google Play Store and/or HQ Trivia. Once BlueStacks is installed, click on the Google Play link, or search for ‘HQ Trivia’ in the search bar.
At this point, you will be asked to log in to your Google account on your pretend phone (aka your emulator).
And then you can download and install HQ Trivia!
Note: Once I got HQ Trivia running in both BlueStacks and Nox Player, I ran into an issue with logging into the game itself; when I tried to log in to HQ with my Google account, the emulator/game asked me to set my lock screen (as if I were on a real phone), but then wouldn’t let me either a) do it or b) skip the step asking me to do it. So, I logged in to the game with the Facebook account I have desperately been trying to break up with instead.
But, after that wee complication, the game worked just fine in BlueStacks!
The window when playing the game changes to a phone shape! Just like a phone! I completed the Daily Challenge, got 10 out of 12 (of the incorrect ones, one was a goof, the other a NCAA basketball question I was never going to get). But, huzzah! Success! I played HQ Trivia on a PC!
Later that evening, I tested out the more demanding-to-emulator(-and-smart-phones) 9 PM live game, too, which worked flawlessly.
But I did not win the $5000, or even a portion of it. Bah!
HQ Trivia with Nox Player
Nox Player is another emulator that allows you to download and use Google/Android apps, including HQ Trivia, on your PC. However, in my experience, it was far buggier and less straightforward.
I spent a lot of time looking at a blank screen, dealing with repeated crashes, and just cursing some of its peculiarities, such as things that look like Google Play Store search bars and icons taking the user to an in-emulator browser Google search rather than the Play Store.
Then, to find HQ, you have to type “HQ Trivia Google Play Store” to actually find what you are looking for.
Once I got to the right link (ie Google Play store) and clicked to install HQ Trivia in Nox Player, I ran into the first of many crashes.
RAM problem, or Nox problem, or a bit of both?
I had to shut down the emulator and start my search (‘HQ Trivia Google Play Store’) and click ‘install’ again. Twice. Eventually, after much frustration, I got HQ ‘installed’ on my faux Nox Player ‘phone.’
But then more funkiness ensued almost immediately.
I got to stare at a horizontal ‘phone’ screen for quite a while before the program crashed again. Another crash, another login, and eventually, fortunately, I got the actual game working. But it was laggy, and it wouldn’t accept some of my furious clicking-of-answers, and then crashed again before the game was over (though HQ DID remember where I was when I relogged in using BlueStacks.)
I did not attempt to play a live game using Nox Player because I was 100% sure that either Nox, or my computer, or both, couldn’t handle it.
Should I Play HQ Trivia on PC?
Even though it worked successfully on BlueStacks, I am in no hurry to play HQ Trivia on PC again. But it is doable! Here are the key takeaways from my experience:
- Make sure your PC is up to the challenge! 4GB of RAM seemed plenty when this desktop was built for me six years ago, but that kind of power is not gonna cut it with some Android emulators.
- Don’t anticipate being able to get HQ Trivia running on your machine in a hurry; if you’ve found this article after a frantic googling because because it’s five minutes before the 9pm live game and you’ve just dropped your phone in the bathtub, you are almost definitely not going to be able to play today. Sorry!
- BlueStacks is more stable than Nox Player by far, but you may have to do your own research to find the right emulator for you. There are dozens out there.
So if you have a funky phone problem, and a decent PC, maybe try it out! If not, take a pass, and maybe ask your cell provider if you can upgrade to a device that’ll let you play without all this convolution (and once you do that, make sure to get all your friends to play HQ Trivia as well!). Additionally, if you’re searching for a good trivia game to play on your PC instead of your phone, check out what Trivial Pursuit has to offer. Likewise, if you’re already downloading emulators on your PC, consider also joining a Discord server for HQ Trivia. And you may not be able to win any money, but TriviaBliss has a ton of questions and trivia categories to choose from if you’re just looking to scratch that online trivia itch. Good luck!