Since Sporcle hit three billion plays on Tuesday, April 2, 2019, a few things have changed, to say the least. Now, two years later, we’re fast approaching the four billion plays mark, an achievement that fills all of us at Sporcle HQ with joy and one that wouldn’t even be in our sights without the help of the Sporcle community as a whole.
These past couple of years have been harder than most and have certainly brought about a good deal of changes—changes that meant, among other things, updating quizzes and content across the wide world of Sporcle.
In late December 2018, the president of Burundi announced that the nation’s capital would be moving from Bujumbura to Gitega. However, we waited to update Sporcle quizzes until the powers that be (the .orgs and .govs of the world) also made the update. When official news of the change came through in mid-April 2019—after our three billionth quiz play—Bujumbura was out, and Gitega was in.
As you can imagine, this was a significant update, as it involved changing the answers and hints of many of our comprehensive capitals quizzes, including Capitals of the World, as well as adjusting answers for letter-based quizzes like World Capitals First Letter Blitz.
Almost four years after the fateful referendum, and after 47 years as a member state, the United Kingdom left the European Union when Brexit took effect on January 31, 2020. For Sporcle, this was a relatively simple matter of removing the UK from quizzes like European Union Members. In response to the question “Is It in EU?”, the answer for the UK is now a resounding “No.”
Very little has happened in the realm of politics over the last couple of years, so we don’t have to discuss the topic at all, right? No? Well, I tried.
Outside of the United States, native New Yorker Boris Johnson became prime minister of the United Kingdom when Theresa May resigned in July 2019. Belgium also saw the appointment of its first woman prime minister when Sophie Wilmès took office in October later that same year. These changes, along with many others, meant updates to World Leaders quizzes.
While there are 596 quizzes tagged with the World Leaders subcategory as of the writing of this post, there are 863 tagged with US Presidents, and almost 500 quizzes across the site needed updating on January 20, 2021. When Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States and Kamala Harris as the 49th vice president—the first to be a woman (and a woman of color, at that)—it was all hands on deck at Sporcle.
Oftentimes, and definitely in the United States, a political changing of hands means the undoing of opponents’ progress, so it’s always important to keep abreast of any news that will affect politics quizzes.
Pop Culture Updates
Pop culture also experienced its fair share of changes that helped us all take our mind off of—gestures around—everything.
Before we in the US really knew the full extent of the damage the coronavirus would do, Billie Eilish dominated the Grammy Awards in January 2020, becoming the youngest individual artist to win Record and Album of the Year.
More history was made at the Academy Awards the following month, which meant updates for Oscar quizzes, when Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite won Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best International Feature Film, and Best Picture, the first non-English language film to win the last award.
Following the murder of George Floyd in May 2020, and the ensuing events across the US, many entertainment figures began to reexamine their own roles in perpetuating racism and racist ideas. Among those figures were the country music bands previously known as the Dixie Chicks and Lady Antebellum, who in June 2020 changed their names to the Chicks and Lady A, respectively. Both of the removed terms share connotations with slavery and the Confederate South.
Actor Elliot Page, of Juno and The Umbrella Academy fame, came out as transgender in December 2020 on social media. To make sure that we accurately represent him in our quizzes, we made updates across the site. Page went on to appear on the cover of Time magazine in March 2021—the first openly trans man to do so—so we’re sure that we’ll see him in future Time cover quizzes!
In the world of sports, 2019 was a year of firsts. The Toronto Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors in June to claim the franchise’s first NBA championship and the first Finals win for any NBA team based outside of the United States. Then, in October, the Washington Nationals won their first World Series four games to three, defeating the Houston Astros. As a result, both teams needed to be removed from the quiz listing Big 4 Teams Without Titles, just like we did for the Astros, Eagles, and Capitals prior to our three billionth play.
When we got the news in January 2020 that the Raiders had officially moved to Las Vegas after the relocation was first announced in 2017, almost 250 quizzes needed updates. And the last significant update pre-pandemic was when the Kansas City Chiefs won Super Bowl LIV, their first victory since Super Bowl IV.
To those of us in the US, it seemed like the media at large only really took the pandemic seriously when the Summer Olympic Games were postponed and the NBA season was suspended in March 2020. A couple weeks after the Lakers eventually triumphed over the Heat in the NBA Finals in October, the Dodgers won their first World Series championship in 32 years, solidifying Los Angeles’ place as ultimate sports champion of 2020. (Is that a thing? I don’t think that’s a thing.)
After years of refusing to change their offensive team name and logo, the former Washington Redskins temporarily rebranded as the Washington Football Team in July 2020, a name that certainly helps when playing quizzes like Big 4 Team Geographic Names. There was some debate amongst Sporcle moderators as to whether the team name should be displayed as “Washington” or “Football Team,” and we ultimately decided on “Washington,” because that seemed to be what official sports commentators were using and because “Football Team” is just silly.
Also in July 2020, Liverpool won its first Premier League title since 1990 after the season was put on hold for three months, setting a number of records while doing so. In February the following year, records were also broken when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won Super Bowl LV, extending Tom Brady’s individual records to ten Super Bowl appearances and seven total victories. It just goes to show that even a man with the most punchable face on the planet can become a football legend.
We wouldn’t have been able to keep on top of half of these updates without help from Sporcle users. You all do a fantastic job of holding us accountable for the information we present on the site, and we sincerely appreciate your efforts. It is incredibly important for a trivia company to not only maintain accuracy but also consistently improve and do better about staying relevant and about providing a diversity of quizzes that reflects the diversity of the world around us.
Thank you again for all that you do—please continue to report quizzes and reach out to us when you see information in need of updating. With your assistance, five billion plays will be upon us in no time.