Glitch: The Rise and Fall of HQ Trivia Review- A By the Numbers Documentary Film

In the early 2000s, there was a boom in websites and startup companies that popped up. Just as many failures as well. People had all kinds of ideas for apps and so forth. Two young men, Colin Kroll, and Rus Yusupov, at the time, created an app called Vine where anybody could do six-second videos. It was very popular and the people who owned Twitter bought it for thirty million dollars. After a very successful period, they shut the app down and the creators who worked for them at the time had to go do something else. So they took their money and created a trivia app called HQTrivia. This is the film documenting the rise and fall of this popular gaming app.

Scott Ragowsky was a struggling standup comedian when he took one last audition before giving it up altogether and moving to LA where all the action was. When a friend who was part of the coding team added his likeness to the mobile trivia game he was working on, the owners couldn’t see anybody else as the host of the game after this. He was very funny and personable and added his unique wit and repartee to this mobile trivia app. And things were off and running for him and this little app that could.

The filmmaker Salima Koroma uses popular methods in documentary filmmaking to make this film. And a few interesting additions to spice it up. The popular aspects are all the talking heads in the documentary. Everyone from coders and game designers to users of the game were interviewed for the film. There was a wide range of subjects that gave their thoughts on the rise and the fall of this mobile trivia game. The other element added to the film that spiced it up a bit were various animatics and stock footage of interviews from various talk shows and such. This broke up the monopoly of the narrative of the film.

As with all films of this nature, the rise part was a main part of the story but the fall was equally as important to the story the filmmaker was trying to tell. When people are making a lot of money in a short period greed and power come into play. These guys became so big so fast it went to their heads. Their pasts came back to haunt them and their interpersonal relations with the employees came into question. Such as how they treated them. Including but not exclusive to Scott Ragowsky. He endured a lot of strife at the small company during his tenure there.

As an example rock stars become very popular and they start taking drugs and drinking heavily and partying a lot. That is what happens with these guys who owned this little start-up. It was too much too fast and things started to explode from within.  This won’t be the first time that this has happened and it sure won’t be the last. Ego and the like are another aspect of the trouble people can get into when it comes to this kind of business.  That is just what happens sometimes. It happened very fast for this little mobile game company though.

Glitch: The Rise and Fall of HQ Trivia is a good documentary. It does a lot of similar things as so many other documentaries though. A few things it does do differently help make it more than just a cookie-cutter film like so many others. Scott Ragowsky was the star of the film. He had a lot of presence and a lot to say about the issues of the main story depicted in the documentary. The filmmaker informs the audience watching but doesn’t do anything groundbreaking. Having CNN and HBO Max on board will help with its viewership though. That’s a good thing to get this film out to the public.

3 stars 

Dan Skip Allen

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