Jewish World Review April 9, 2012/ 17 Nissan, 5772
Words with Friends spells e-a-t-s t-i-m-e
By Mitch Albom
Put it away.
I have resisted Pong, Space Invaders, Pac-Man and Super Mario Bros.
I have scoffed at Asteroids, Donkey Kong and entire generations of Game Boys.
Put it away.
Shut it off.
I'm serious. Don't tempt me....
I have ignored Gran Turismo and Grand Theft Auto. I showed no interest in Myst, Doom or anything with wizards.
"Not for me," I would say, when someone offered a joystick or a controller. "That stuff is for kids. I'm too busy."
Don't tempt me. Turn that screen off.
I am talking about Words with Friends, an app that is basically Scrabble played long distance. It involves nothing more than two players making words out of the letters they are given, and trying to score more points by doing so.
My sister-in-law innocently showed it to me a few weeks ago.
"You're a writer," she said. "Help me."
That was a mistake.
The first time I tried it, I was on for an hour. That is an hour longer than my lifetime's total on video games.
I'm the guy who rolled his eyes at Halo. I'm the guy who never owned a PlayStation or an Xbox. I'm the guy who asked, "Why would anybody play The Sims? Isn't the real world good enough?'
Get that screen away from me.
Do not tell me the letters!....
I am embarrassed at my attraction to Words with Friends. They say there is a match for everyone on the planet, and while they are talking about love, maybe it applies to video games, too.
All I know is I spent stupid time on my sister-in-law's cell phone, trying to come up with a word that used two D's, two U's, two L's and a C. Go ahead. You try. It ain't easy.
In addition, you want to put the word over a triple-word square, or combine it with another word so you get double the points, or lay it down so it doesn't create any opportunities for your opponent....
The opponents. Did I mention them? They don't need to be near you. They don't need to be on the same continent. You play your word, send it in and it's the other player's turn, whenever he or she gets around to it. You can have up to 20 games going simultaneously. It's like those guys in the park who play multiple chess matches.
Only Words with Friends you can do in bed, in your underwear.
Not that I'm revealing anything here.
Of course, like everything that is big news today, this phenomenon took place in the last five minutes.
OK. A little longer. Words with Friends was stared by a couple of game developers in 2009. The legend is it wasn't very popular, until singer
It has been nothing but huge ever since. More than eight million people play every day, and actor
That's truly embarrassing.
But so is this.
I like it. And I have never liked a video game in my life. I ignored my Call of Duty. I refused to enter the World of Warcraft. And the only correct spelling of we, in my book, is "we" or "whee" -- not Wii.
How could a game that was nerdy 40 years ago suddenly be so hip now?
I don't know. Ask Baldwin. Meanwhile, put it away. Do not tell me what seven letters you have. Do not stick the phone near my nose and reveal a triple-word square just sitting there, next to a Q, and you have a U and an I and a Z.
Move. Out of my way. I will not give away one more precious minute of life, even if my entire working career has prepared me for this app like a
Not interested. Go away.
....By the way, UZI is a word....
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