Trivial Pursuit is a board game in which winning is determined by a player’s ability to answer general knowledge and popular culture questions. The game was created in December 1979 in Niagara on the Lake in Ontario, by Canadian Chris Haney, a photo editor for Montreal’s The Gazette, and Scott Abbott, a sports editor for The Canadian Press. After finding pieces of their Scrabble game missing, they decided to create their own game. With the help of John Haney and Ed Werner, they completed development of the game, which was released in 1982.
In North America, the game’s popularity peaked in 1984, a year in which over 20 million games were sold. The rights to the game were initially licensed to Selchow and Righter in 1982, then to Parker Brothers (now part of Hasbro) in 1988, after initially being turned down by the Virgin Group; in 2008 Hasbro bought the full rights, for US$80 million. As of 2004, nearly 88 million games had been sold in 26 countries and 17 languages. Northern Plastics of Elroy, Wisconsin produced 30,000,000 games between 1983 and 1985. In December 1993, Trivial Pursuit was named to the “Games Hall of Fame” by Games magazine. An online version of Trivial Pursuit was launched in September 2003.
Dozens of question sets have been released for the game. The question cards are organized into themes; for instance, in the standard Genus question set, questions in green deal with science and nature. Some question sets have been designed for younger players, and others for a specific time period or as promotional tie-ins (such as Star Wars, Saturday Night Live, and The Lord of the Rings movies).