Wicked Game

To start, bienvenidos to my first-ever visitors from Paraguay and Bolivia…ole!

For one of my classes this week, we were given the assignment to go on a website about languages and find three links of value to the rest of the class. Easy enough, right? But then, out of the mist of the wild Internet, it appeared…

The Games Section.

I am a complete sucker when it comes to online games. Actually, games in general. I will play for hours and hours and hours, not only trying to get a better high-score, but to figure out how to beat the game. And if the game involves words, even better. A girl in my grade in high school once told me that I wasn’t fun to play games with anymore because I would always figure out how to win, and then do that every time. Didn’t work out so well for her, but hey, that’s the game.

Anyway, one of my sections was about improving one’s English grammar (http://www.roadtogrammar.com), and it included a games section with not one, but SIX addicting games.

Four of them were kind of duds, though. The game called MERGE is your basic doublet game, in which the player is given two four letter words and must change one letter at a time to connect them, like lamb-limb-lime-mime-mine or whatever. The one called FLUENT is sort of a general English challenge and is pretty easy, although for a couple of answers I disagreed, which tripped me up. WORD SLAMM [sic] involves flying letters, and making a Scrabble play out of them; a good concept, but poorly designed and executed. WORD SEARCH is mostly just your basic word search with a Minesweeper-esque twist, where if you click a letter that is not a part of any word, it costs you a life.

The two that were complete time-slaying demons:

CHOPPED and WORD STRIPS

Let’s start with CHOPPED, the lesser of the two offenders.

In this game, you’re given a sequence of ten letters, and must “chop” off letters (without rearranging them) in order to make a word, the longer the better. The concept is easy enough, but if you think “oh, I’ll just pick out the five letter word right off the bat, then you’ll lose. You get bonus points for five-letter words or more, but usually I ended up with only three- and four-letter words.

Then, onto the time-waster of the day, WORD STRIPS.

Again, a simple concept, but made increasingly harder by time, stress, and the infrequency of vowels. There are four strips of five letters each, and you can slide them up or down to make a four letter word in the center row. There is also a little red indicator on the side to see what letters you have in the center row. It also automatically stops when a four-letter word is formed; so sometimes it will stop you from trying to make, say, “stop” when you have “atop” or “shop” in the boxes, which is a time saver. Sometimes the four letters in the center row will already be a word, so just click on it and your work is done. Others are much harder, with lots of j’s and q’s and x’s in the mix, as well as a paucity of vowels.

So, strategies. There are a few, but none are completely fail safe.

First, you can look at all the letters before moving the sliders, then when you see the word, just move the strips and you’re done. However, when time is a factor, sometimes your eyes dart to the clock rather than making words.

Second, there’s the vowel pattern strategy. If you see a pattern of consonant-vowel-consonant-vowel, especially when there is an e at the end, just line up the second vowel and the final vowel and play with the consonants until you get a match. When the second letter is a and the last is e, there are endless combinations to make it a four letter word. In this paragraph, there are two: “LINE” and “MAKE.”

Third, there’s the “make it plural” strategy. Due to the sheer number of three letter words, when you have an s in the fourth position, it’s inevitable that the three preceding letters will make some word.

Most of all, don’t waste time looking for fancy words. This is not Scrabble, you don’t have that kind of time. Sure, a few times I ended up with “QAID,” “AMYL,” and “SOYA,” but that was because I saw absolutely nothing else.

My personal high score is 984.

There went several hours of my life, and probably several more in the future.

I’m toast.

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