During the first, beta season of Xbox Live’s 1 vs. 100, I probably played about two dozen rounds of the game’s half-hour, 37-question Extended Play mode, which pits thousands of live participants against one another in a straight up battle for trivia supremacy. In that time, despite having some pretty strong trivia knowledge (if I do say so myself), I didn’t once make it onto the prominently displayed list of top-10 scorers available throughout each round. It didn’t matter if I started the round with a string of quick, correct answers — there always seemed to be at least 10 other perfect players whose faster answers gave them at least a few dozen more points than me. I would often skirt the edges of the top-10 list for 10 or 15 questions before inevitably missing an answer and watching my chances of seeing my name in lights fall away for the rest of the round.

I thought more than once that the people putting up these top scores must be cheating somehow. Their answers were too perfect, their timing bonuses too high, their consistency too … consistent (the same Gamertags seemed to clog up the list throughout multiple Extended Play rounds). I figured these top scorers must be exploiting a glitch in the game, or using a group of trivia experts and super-fast Google searches to feed them correct answers, or something. There’s no way they could do that well without cheating, I thought.

I no longer think that way, because last night, between 11 and 11:30 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, I managed to defeat all but two of my over 34,000 trivia competitors to secure a third-place finish in the “Video Game Trivia” round of 1 vs. 100.

*Holds for applause*

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