I never really played much Scrabble as a kid.
I guess I was always more of a Monopoly guy, or maybe some Trouble, or perhaps even a little Mouse Trap … well, as much as anyone ever actually “played” Mouse Trap, anyways. Our games usually consisted of excitement in first setting up the entire gigantic board, then bits of frustration as we fought to get the thing to work, finally followed by disappointment as we angrily shoved everything back into the box because the stupid thing never seemed to run all the way through!
But still, it looked cool running in the commercials, didn’t it?!
Too bad in reality those mice had absolutely nothing to worry about…
Anyways, recently my wife suckered me into playing a new game on our phones – not Mouse Trap, thank god, but an incredibly popular Scrabble look-alike called Words with Friends, which you might have heard of. Ok, unless you’re either me or have been living underneath a rock lately, you’ve definitely heard of this game because it seems like everybody and their brother is playing it these days! Any day when I login and there aren’t at least a dozen people on my friends list looking for games, I feel like the entire universe is off balance and the only thing that can make it right is a myriad of small, wooden tiles with assorted letters and point values on them.
I do have to hand it to the guys that made Words with Friends, though – being able to play it on my mobile phone opens up all sorts of possibilities that just never even would’ve been possible in a normal game of Scrabble. For instance, typically the other player might consider it “rude” if all of a sudden right in the middle of your game, you were to just get up from the table and leave, go make yourself a sandwich, maybe run some errands or go watch a little TV, only eventually wandering back to finally take your turn several hours … or maybe even days … later! And yet when I’m playing on my cell phone, this type of behavior is perfectly transparent and acceptable because I’m always playing on the go, wherever life takes me!
It’s also the perfect excuse for when you just flat out need a little more time to come up with your next word – because it’s mobile gaming, for all your opponent knows maybe you were just really busy in a board meeting or giving an important sales presentation or making a 6” meatball sub for that creepy guy with the toupee that you’re always telling them about. No need to worry about nosey minds prying when it’s a statistical fact that 90% of all mobile gaming takes place when people are sitting on the crapper anyways…
Ahhhh – technology!
On the other hand, though, I do feel like I have to profess that as much fun as I’ve had playing Words with Friends with my wife over the last couple of weeks, it does also drive home the understanding painfully clear as I’m sitting there trying to figure out a nine-letter word that ends in Z that in real life, I would probably be a horrible Scrabble player to sit across from because unlike the computer, who doesn’t seem to care in the slightest that it takes me 37 tries before I get a word right, my opponent would likely go clinically insane trying to flip through that Scrabble dictionary every 30 seconds only to support his claim of, “No, Scott – BLARGHHHZ isn’t a word, either…”
And that’s just for one game at a time, whereas I look at my wife’s phone and she’s got no less than half a dozen different games that she’s playing with people all at once! You’d think that it’d be easy for a writer to just throw out random words like it’s nobody’s business, and that might be true if when I wrote my columns I only had access to a fraction of the letters at any given time, but if I was limited to only having the letters F, Q, H, A, A, I & T at my disposal?! I’d never get any FAQHIAT done!
It’s a word! It means, ummm, stuff … as in, “Cleo just left a bunch of FAQHIAT all over the living room rug!”
How about QAHTAFI??? You know, like, “I can’t believe I’ve got so much QAHTAFI to do today…” I don’t know about you, but I use the word QAHTAFI all the time!
Fine – I’ll come up with something better … right after I finish making this sandwich…