WRAL Brain Game

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Brain Game is a long-running show that has aired on WRAL featuring teams from North Carolina. The show has aired since January 1997. Mark Roberts is the current host, who tries too hard to be hip and cannot tell the difference between ESP, ESPN, and buzzing in early on a transparent question.


On each show, three teams (or, in later rounds, two) compete to answer questions and score points. All questions other than Name Game are toss-ups which are worth plus or minus the value of the question and rebound to only one other team (called a "toss-up" by Roberts) if the first answer is incorrect. The game is divided into the following rounds.

  • Pop-up culture (10 questions worth +/-20 points)
  • Headliners (10 questions worth +/-20 points)
  • Crossword puzzle (10 questions worth +/-20 points)
  • Arts & Literature (10 questions worth +/-20 points)
  • Name game
    Each team gets 30 seconds to answer five questions, scoring +/-20 points for each question (they may pass without penalty). If a team answers all five questions correctly, that team gets a 20 point bonus.
  • Crunching numbers (5 questions worth +/-20 points)
  • Rocket science (10 questions worth +/-20 points)
  • Globetrotting (9 questions worth +/-20 points), then Final Jeopardy! the Extra Credit question where all teams write down an answer; the point value (any number of points from 0 to 100) is determined by each team before the start of Globetrotting. The Globetrotting questions cover three specific countries that teams know about prior to the show and can study.


Before around 2011, Arts & Literature was Arts & Crafts, and before fall 2008, Arts & Crafts was the Connections round.

Brain Game used to have an Across America round after Globetrotting.

During the first season that Extra Credit was used (2011-12), there was no special question used for it. Rather, teams gained their wager for reaching their quota of correct Globetrotting answers (3 in a three-team match, 4 in a two-team match), but lost it for not reaching the quota.

Before the 2013-14 season, some categories had questions worth only 10 points. The 20 point value for questions now serves no real purpose (aside from artificially inflating all the scores).


Before Fall 2008, the top nine teams (based on scores) advanced to the playoffs. This meant that two teams that played against each other could both qualify; conversely, it also meant that two strong teams who lowered each others' scores could both miss the playoffs.

Beginning in Fall 2008, each preliminary round winner advances to the playoffs, along with the three highest scoring runners-up.

The current playoff format is as follows:

  • 12 preliminary games
  • 6 first-round playoff games featuring the twelve preliminary winners plus six second-place teams with the highest scores
  • 3 second-round games featuring the six first-round winners (each game features only two teams)
  • The Final Four and Championship, with the three second-round winners plus the highest scoring runner-up participating (each game features only two teams)

Noticeably, the production staff appear to make no effort to sequester the teams in the second round so that later-playing teams do not know what score they need to reach to qualify for the Final Four as a runner-up.

Prior to the 2009-10 season, there were two tournaments each school year: Fall and Spring.