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NPR launches Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! game for smart speakers

Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! from NPR is one of the most popular shows (radio+podcast) in the world, thanks to its blend of humor and trivia, and now you can play along on a smart speaker. Owners of devices with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa can try out an interactive game hosted by the radio show’s Peter Sagal and Bill Kurtis. The quiz is just five minutes long and will be updated weekly. As with the live show, winners of the interactive quiz will have a chance to win one of the hosts on their voicemail and get an on-air shout-out. The game, developed in collaboration with VaynerSmart, can be accessed with the commands “Alexa, open Wait Wait Quiz” or “Hey Google, talk to the Wait Wait Quiz.”

The host of All Things Considered, Ari Shapiro, took a stab at the game himself and NPR recorded the attempt — see the video at the bottom of this post. The video is recorded [ahem] rather poorly, and we can barely hear the smart-speaker part. We also tested the experience, though we did not record it.

The Alexa/Assistant skill works well, though Google Assistant did not recognize “Wait Wait Quiz,” the official name of the game. Google did bring it right up when we asked for “Wait Wait Game,” so there’s a confusion somewhere.

The game itself works splendidly. Hosts Peter Sagal and Bill Kurtis both play parts with some amount of shameless cheesy humor. (The show’s live wit doesn’t come across as effectively in a pre-recorded experience, but never mind that.)

We failed to hit the benchmark five correct responses (no surprise there) which qualify players for prize eligibility. But when we switched from an Echo Dot to a Google Home for a  second try at the same quiz — we were amazingly smarter and gained a brilliant perfect score. This is a loophole for dual-platform owners. We intend to take full advantage.

The Wait Wait Quiz is a weekly product — that’s disappointing compared to Alexa’s very popular and well-executed Jeopardy quiz. But both games follow the production schedule of their founding shows, so it makes sense. We keenly await the opportunity to cheat next week.

RAIN News Staff

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