Critical Play:

Formal elements is a free online game you can play with friends in a closed room or play with random people online. In each round of the game, each player takes one turn. The player choses a word out of three provided options and tries to draw that word in 80 seconds. The other players type their guesses of what the player is trying to draw into the text box on the side of the screen. The players get as many guesses as they want but get more points for a faster guess. After the rounds are finished, players are ranked by their cumulative score.

Type of Fun

The game can be played in a private lobby with friends and is fun in a social way. When I played with my friends, I noticed fellowship at work when people said things like “I knew exactly what you were thinking”. The game can definitely bring people together.

It is also fun because it is challenging. Drawing with a computer mouse is difficult and interpreting something scribbled out in a minute is equally challenging. The pressure of seeing your friends finish before you adds an extra layer of difficulty and stress.

When a player picks their word, they have unlimited ways of expressing that word through drawing. Expression is key in because creativity is baked into the game. No two players will draw the same word the same way and it can be really fun to see how everything thinks differently.

Playing it

The game works because the mechanics are pretty simple. For new players, the concept can be explained a sentence and they can jump right in. However, I do think the game could add some features to prevent the ability to cheat and make the game more fair. One thing that players would do to get more points was to write words on the screen to either give hints or just give the answer away. It would be an improvement if could prevent writing out English on the whiteboard, although they do give players the option to vote to kick out another player if they abuse the rules. Also, some players guess the word because someone who was typing out the word misspelled it and it showed up on the chat bar. Then other players see it and type the correct spelling. would be improved if it didn’t show misspellings on the chat bar at all.

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