Growing up, most of my friends refused to play Scrabble with me. Not only was I a “big word” person, I was obnoxious about winning and completely oblivious to how rude I could be. The only person who would consistently play with me was my Mum who not only wanted me to be a “big word” person but also cheated like no one you’ve ever seen. She even cheated at Monopoly.
Even in graduate school – the perfect storm of really smart people and beer – I was terrible. One of my friends who is super smart with a Ph.D would look at his tiles to find a word and then look at the board to find a space for it and OMG …JUST PLAY THE WORD. ANY WORD.
When I first discovered online versions of Scrabble via Yahoo about ten years ago, I was ecstatic. I’d be bored and launch 10 games in a matter of minutes, playing dutifully for hours. Typically, I’d finish many of those games because EVERYONE was using a desktop and could only play once a day most of the time.
The person who introduced me to ‘Words With Friends’ was actor Alec Baldwin, whose addiction to the game landed him in hot water with an airline. Prior to that, my ghastly virgin experience with ‘Farmville’ left me scarred and unwilling to venture into Facebook games again. I also was still using a Blackberry that didn’t give me access to the game.
Eventually, I gave it a try. Same sort of fun – I could play Scrabble (sort of) with my interesting and fun friends at my own pace. So I once again launched 10 games and sat back for the responses. They came quickly and the games were on!
And on. And on. I soon learned that with a smart phone comes an inordinate amount of prompts and reminders and pokes and prods to PLAY MY DAMN TURN. I’d get a reminder in the middle of the day, scan my tiles for a quick play and promise to get back to it after a meeting. Then I started playing before bed, I’d play a round and go to sleep feeling that I had done my duty. Not so much fun.
Soon came dilemmas like picking a game to play when I had a few minutes – my cousin or my college roommate? my “celebrity” friend or the cool girl who turned down 7 previous requests to play? Eventually, I gave up and lost all of my games. Raise the white flag and please don’t unfriend me.
Months passed. I flipped past the app on my phone and decided – why not? This time I added “strangers” to my games. Not a good idea. It was bad enough that someone I had known 20 years was prodding me to play, but strangers were mean. And I suspect they cheated. Hmmm. Can’t prove it, but I’m suspicious word generators were involved. It was far worse than playing with my mother. Ha.
Again, I let it fade away. Rinse and repeat at least 3 more times. Several people refused to play with me because I was too slow, used too many words, or didn’t wanna chat with them. For the record, I don’t cheat. I never look up words in other apps and I have never used a word generator. In fact, now that I have some memory challenges, I tend to forget the cool offbeat words that people use. I’m a good player, not a great one.
After my last round, I swore “no more!” Who wants all that guilt and anguish? It’s hard enough adjusting my playing level up and down so it was fun, not a “do you remember your SAT scores” competition with people who didn’t take the SATs but still turned out to be great, smart people who spell like all get out. And actually play their turn in a timely manner. And don’t cheat. Or insist on chatting. And have fun with the words. FUN. Games are fun.
Until I received an invite to play with BurghBaby … sigh, here I go again. Wish me luck and remind me to check my phone and be a good game buddy okay?