One day last week, millions of people who used to play live trivia games in China just couldn’t get their fix anymore -- because the games suddenly stopped.

Just before Chinese New Year’s Eve, 17 trivia game makers were “invited for a conversation” by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Film and Television and told to clean up their act.

It slammed the brakes on one of China’s hottest mobile trends. More than a dozen online trivia games sprung up in a month, following the template set by HQ Trivia in the US: Multiple choice questions asked by a live-streamed video host, with cash prizes for the winners. The most popular games attracted millions of daily active users.

The shutdown came after state media published a series of pieces criticizing the games for “attracting eyeballs and traffic with abnormally high prizes” and “confusing junk information with knowledge”.

Standalone trivia apps are still operating... but without trivia. In Cheese Superman, developed by live streaming company Yingke, trivia was replaced by mahjong -- the famous Chinese tile game.

Live streaming app Huajiao’s trivia game Million Winner and short video app Xigua Video’s Million Heroes kept their quiz sections, but with a message saying “The first season has ended.”

Homepage of trivia game Cheese Superman (“Cheese” sounds like “knowledge” in Chinese) before and after the clampdown

But there are suggestions that trivia isn’t dead. Microblogging site Weibo ran a series of games during state-run channel CCTV’s New Year’s Gala -- one of the most-watched TV shows in the world.

And the state order suggests that companies can operate trivia games… as long as they play by the rules. That means they need to have a license, “promote core socialist values” and “stop spreading information that is against state law and regulations."