Cafe, cafe, cafe, cafe, cafe, cafe

Last night, Ben made mention of a website that’s now holding a live streaming quiz show each evening called Play Cafe. Having little else to do tonight, I decided to give it a whirl. I knew I was in for an interesting time when I logged in and the online hosts (who were warming up before the show) immediately made note of my screenname, and one player recognized me from the website. (Didn’t know I was that much of an internet celebrity, but that’s all right with me. The whole reason I had the website in the first place was out of the egotistical urge to gain online fame and fortune.)

The game itself is fairly simple. It starts with a series of Power of 10-ish questions, which you have to guess what percentage of the polling group answered a particular question. The closer you are to the actual percentage, the more points you score (out of a scale of 10,000). Then they move on to a couple of matching questions, where you have to match four items on the left to their mates on the right. The catch is that there are seven items on the right, so three of them are decoys. It’s a timed round, and if you pick a wrong answer, you lose points. At the end of each round, the player with the highest score in the round wins a $5 Amazon gift card. (Not a whole lot, but this isn’t something you’re likely to do for the prizes.)

In each round, they put up a phone number to call in and play along with the hosts on the fourth question. During the second polling round, yours truly decided to pick up the phone and give it a try. You could imagine my surprise – and glee – to find that the other side rang and picked up. I almost immediately got patched through to Danielle, the hostess onscreen, and introduced myself as Loogaroo, the guy with the unusual screenname. They had me explain its meaning, and they all found it very cool (although Danielle did remark that she thought at first that it had something to do with loogies. Yes, I get that a lot). Then, the next question came up – what percentage of the people polled couldn’t identify the year when 9/11 occurred? I set my pointer at 38%, stammering my reasoning to Danielle, and lo and behold I was just 4% off. For getting more than 5000 points on the question, I also scored a $5 Amazon gift card. So now I can officially say that I’ve won something on a game show. Not much, but it’s something.

But that’s not all – at the end of the show, you’re given a key for every 10,000 points you scored in the course of the game. You then use these keys to open up the 30 treasure chests on the screen. Depending on what you open, you could end up winning a song on iTunes, a magazine subscription, a Wii, or $1000 cash. I had six keys, and managed to get an iTunes song.

The game itself is a lot of fun, and runs incredibly smoothly. There was no downtime or lag between questions, and the hosts are apprised of the scores very quickly afterward. The only problem I had was during the phonecall – I could hear myself on the other end of the phone line, which made it tough to hear them when they were speaking over it. Still, it’s a neat little way to pass the time.

The game is currently invite-only, but I’ve got 10 invites in case anyone else is interested. The game takes place at 7PM Pacific time (10 Eastern), so I might visit this thing a few more times on my days off. (And maybe I’ll win the Wii next time.) If anyone is interested, make sure I have your E-mail address so I can send you the invite.

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