Raspberry Pi Quiz Game with Buzz Controllers?

The Raspberry Pi is a versatile single board computer that lets you build all kinds of creative projects. One fun project you can create with a Raspberry Pi is a quiz game that uses Buzz controllers as buzzers. In this DIY guide, you’ll learn how to program a Raspberry Pi quiz game using Python and integrate Buzz controllers so players can “buzz in” to answer questions.

Raspberry Pi Quiz Game with Buzz Controllers?

The Raspberry Pi quiz game built in this project is a simple two player quiz game where players compete to answer multiple choice questions by buzzing in first.

To build the game, you will need:

  • Raspberry Pi
  • Buzz controllers and cables
  • Breadboard and jumper wires
  • HDMI monitor
  • USB keyboard and mouse

The Raspberry Pi will run a Python quiz game script that reads quiz questions and multiple choice answers from a text file. Players will connect Buzz controllers to the Raspberry Pi GPIO pins using a breadboard. When a question is displayed, the first player to press their Buzz will be able to answer the question verbally.

By the end of this project, you’ll have a fully working DIY Raspberry Pi quiz game that makes for a fun coding project or educational classroom activity!

Setting up the Raspberry Pi

The first step is to get your Raspberry Pi up and running. Here’s what you need to do:

Enable SPI Interface

The Buzz controllers communicate with the Raspberry Pi over SPI communication. So you need to enable the SPI interface in the Raspberry Pi configuration.

  1. Launch Raspberry Pi Configuration from the Preferences menu.
  2. Go to the Interfaces tab.
  3. Enable SPI.
  4. Click OK and reboot your Raspberry Pi.

Install Required Packages

Next, update your package list and install the Python libraries required for this project:

sudo apt update

sudo apt install python3-pip python3-dev git

The python3-dev package contains headers files and other resources needed to build Python packages.

Clone the Project Repository

Now clone the project repository from GitHub which contains the Python game script and sample quiz questions file:

git clone https://github.com/raspberrypilearning/buzzer-quiz

This will download the project files into a folder named buzzer-quiz.

Navigate into this project directory:

cd buzzer-quiz

Install Python Packages

Use pip to install the RPi.GPIO and pygame packages which are used by the game script:

pip3 install RPi.GPIO pygame

That covers the basic software setup!

Hardware Setup and Wiring

The hardware components needed for the Raspberry Pi quiz buzzer game include:

  • 2 x Buzz controllers
  • Breadboard
  • Jumper wires
  • 2 x 10kΩ resistors

Here is how to connect them up:

Insert Buzz Controllers into Breadboard

Place the two Buzz controllers into the breadboard. Make sure the flat side lines up with the blue line on the breadboard.

Connect GPIO Pins

Use female-to-male jumper wires to connect the Buzz controllers to the following GPIO pins:

  • Buzz 1 → GPIO 04
  • Buzz 2 → GPIO 17

On the Raspberry Pi, the pins are numbered as GPIO, not physical pin numbers. Refer to a Raspberry Pi GPIO pinout for help identifying the correct pins.

Add Pull Down Resistors

The two 10kΩ pull down resistors connect between the Buzz signal pins and ground. This helps prevent false signals.

Connect them to the breadboard like this:

  • Resistor 1 between GPIO 4 and GND
  • Resistor 2 between GPIO 17 and GND

Plug In Buzz Controllers

Finally, connect the Buzz controller cables to the 3.5mm jacks on the Buzz devices.

Double check all your connections. Now the hardware is ready to go!

Python Quiz Game Script

With the hardware wired up, now take a look at the Python code that drives the Raspberry Pi quiz game.

The main script is quiz.py which imports the Question class from question.py.

The Question class reads quiz data from a text file and stores the questions and answers.

The main quiz.py script does the following:

  • Sets up GPIO pin inputs for the Buzz controllers
  • Initializes pygame for sound effects
  • Loads quiz questions from questions.txt
  • Runs the main game loop:
    • Displays each question and answers
    • Checks Buzz controllers for input
    • Provides feedback if answer correct/incorrect
  • Displays game over message and final scores

Let’s break the key sections down:

Imports and GPIO Setup

First the required Python modules are imported:


import RPi.GPIO as GPIO 

from question import Question

import pygame

The script configures GPIO pin numbering and inputs:



Set up GPIO input pins for Buzzers

BUZZER_1 = 4

BUZZER_2 = 17

GPIO.setup(BUZZER_1, GPIO.IN, pull_up_down=GPIO.PUD_DOWN)

GPIO.setup(BUZZER_2, GPIO.IN, pull_up_down=GPIO.PUD_DOWN)

The pull down resistors are enabled here to prevent false inputs.

Load Question Data

Next, a Question instance is created which loads the quiz data from questions.txt:


quiz = Question()

The questions.txt file contains the question text and multiple choice answers in a CSV format like:

Who is often called the father of computer science?,Charles Babbage,Alan Turing,Ada Lovelace,Bill Gates

What year was Python first released?,1989,1991,1995,2000

The Question class parses this into a list of Question objects.

Main Game Loop

The main game loop does the following:

  1. Displays current question and answers
  2. Waits for player to buzz in
  3. Checks answer given and updates scores
  4. Loads next question

It uses the pygame module to play sound effects.

Here is an extract with comments explaining what’s happening:


 Main game loop

while quiz.still_has_questions():

  Display question and answers  


  for i in range(4):

      print(f”{i+1}. {quiz.get_answer_text(i)})

   Sound effect and wait 0.5 seconds



  GPIO.wait_for_edge(BUZZER_1, GPIO.RISING)

   Player 1 buzzed first

  player = 1  

   Get player’s answer  

  print(“Player 1”)

  answer = input(“Your answer: “)    

   Check answer and update score

  if quiz.check_answer(answer):

    players[player1] += 1




  Load next question


Print final scores

print(“Game over!”)

print(f”Player 1 score: {players[0]}

print(f”Player 2 score: {players[1]})

The full script has error checking, lets player 2 answer if player 1 is wrong, and keeps track of scores.

But this shows the core logic flow.

The script is heavily commented so you can understand everything it’s doing step-by-step.

Run the Quiz

With the hardware set up and Python script ready, you are now ready test your Raspberry Pi quiz buzzer game!

To launch it, simply run:

python3 quiz.py

Buzz in to answer each question. The player who buzzes first gets to answer out loud.

At the end it will print out final scores.

Feel free to add more questions to questions.txt to expand the quiz. You can look up quiz question datasets online.

Tips for Smoother Gameplay

Here are some tips for making your DIY Raspberry Pi quiz game run more smoothly when playing:

  • Add a small capacitor between the Buzz signal pin and ground – this helps debounce the button press
  • Adjust delays as needed in the Python script – you may need a slightly longer or shorter delay after asking each question
  • Use wiring best practices – keep wires short and avoid loose connections
  • Add status LEDs connected to Raspberry Pi GPIO to indicate when Buzz has been pressed
  • Mount the Buzz controllers securely using boxes or boards with drilled holes

Taking these steps will help make your quiz game more reliable and professional. The basic script provided is a starting point – customize it to suit your needs.

How This Raspberry Pi Project Teaches Valuable Skills

Building your own DIY Raspberry Pi quiz game with buzzers is a great learning project. Here are some of the skills and knowledge you can take away:

  • Basic Raspberry Pi setup and configuration
  • Interfacing external components like Buzz controllers
  • GPIO pin usage and input detection
  • Running Python scripts that integrate hardware
  • Simple game loop and scoring logic
  • Playing sounds with Python
  • Parsing data formats like CSV
  • Collaborating on coding projects

While building a fun quiz game, you also get hands-on experience with hardware, Python programming, and working on a complete project from start to finish.

These skills will serve you well as you take on more Raspberry Pi projects!

More Raspberry Pi Project Ideas

The Raspberry Pi is incredibly versatile for DIY electronics and coding projects. Here are more project ideas to try:

  • Retro game station – Turn your Pi into a retro game console by installing RetroPie and connecting game controllers
  • Smart mirror – Build a magic mirror with a two-way mirror and screen behind it
  • Time lapse camera – Use a Pi camera module to create timelapses for photography
  • Weather station – Connect sensors to collect weather data and upload it online
  • Home automation – Control lights, locks, appliances in your home with a Pi
  • VPN server – Set up OpenVPN on a Raspberry Pi to access your home network remotely
  • Streaming media server – Host your music and videos at home and stream them anywhere
  • Robot – Use motors and sensors to build a robot that can roam around

The possibilities are endless! No matter your skill level, the Raspberry Pi has a project that will challenge you and expand your capabilities.


Building a DIY Raspberry Pi quiz game using Buzz controllers provides a fun coding challenge. You learn how to integrate hardware like buttons into a Python application.

The simple 2 player game only requires basic hardware and software components, but teaches you valuable skills.

With the instructions in this guide, you can set up the hardware and have the Python quiz script running in under an hour.

Customizing the game by adding questions, sound effects, status lights and more advanced features is a great way to make the project your own.

The Raspberry Pi opens up an endless range of possibilities for DIY electronics and programming. A quiz game is just the beginning – take your Raspberry Pi skills further by creating other imaginative projects.

Learning by building engages both your mind and hands. So get started on that next Raspberry Pi project and see where it takes you!

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do you connect a button to the Raspberry Pi?
    Use female to male jumper wires to connect one side of the button to a GPIO pin and the other side to ground. Add a pull up or pull down resistor.

  2. What GPIO pins can be used as inputs?
    Any GPIO pin can be configured as an input. Some common pins are GPIO 4, 17, 27.

  3. How do you detect a button press in Python?
    Use the RPi.GPIO module to set up a GPIO as an input. You can detect a button press using GPIO.wait_for_edge(channel, GPIO.RISING)

  4. Can you have multiple buttons connected at once?
    Yes, connect each button to a different GPIO pin. In your code, track the state of each GPIO input separately.

  5. How do you debounce a button input?
    Add a small capacitor (e.g. 0.1uF) between the button signal line and ground. You can also add software debouncing.

  6. What is a pull up or pull down resistor?
    It’s a resistor that pulls the GPIO pin to 3.3V or ground by default until the button pulls the voltage level in the other direction.

  7. Can you use a Raspberry Pi quiz game without buzzers?
    Yes, you can simply have players push a button instead of a buzzer to buzz in. Or have them hit Enter on a keyboard.

  8. How do you play sounds in Python on Raspberry Pi?
    Use the pygame module. Call pygame.mixer.music.load() and pygame.mixer.music.play() to play .wav files.

  9. Where can you find quiz/trivia questions to use?
    There are many free trivia question datasets online. Or you can write your own questions on any topic!

  10. How do you display the quiz questions on a screen?
    Connect the Pi to a monitor via HDMI. Use the built-in Python print() function to display questions in the terminal.

  11. Can you use a buzzer without a Raspberry Pi?
    Yes, you just need some way to detect the button press. For example with an Arduino or connected to a PC GPIO board.

  12. How do you keep score in a Python quiz game?
    Define a scores variable (list, dict). When a player answers correctly, increment their score in this variable. Print at the end.

  13. Can you use a Pi quiz game without a screen?
    Yes, read the questions and answers aloud. Have players buzz in and respond verbally.

  14. How do you end the quiz game after a set number of questions?
    Track the current question number. Increment it each loop. End loop if exceeds total question count.

  15. How do you build a quiz game hardware box?
    You can mount the Pi, buzzers, wires inside a cardboard or wooden box with holes for buzzers.

  16. Can you connect buzzers to a Pi Pico instead?
    Yes, the Pi Pico can work similarly using its GPIO pins for the buzzers and running a MicroPython script.

  17. How do you secure the wires inside the box?
    Use hot glue to attach and secure wires so they don’t detach from pins. Heatshrink tubing also helps.

  18. How is a Raspberry Pi quiz game useful for education?
    It provides an interactive way to reinforce lessons with students by reviewing questions. Gamification increases engagement.

  19. What programming language can you use to code it?
    Python is the most common for Raspberry Pi, but you can also use C, C++, Java, JavaScript, Rust, and more.

  20. Where else can you find project tutorials and guides?
    The Raspberry Pi website has excellent guide for different projects. There are also many YouTube tutorial videos to learn from.


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