Critical Play: Competitive Analysis – New Phone, Who Dis

Our team’s game is a type of hilarious comparison card game, so for the competitive analysis I chose to try out New Phone, Who Dis, a text message card game (offline, not really requiring any texting) created by the team behind What Do You Meme?. I played an app-based version of it called Who Dis together with two friends in person. Similar to What Do You Meme, the fundamental game dynamic is players choosing the funniest reply card from their hand in response to an inbox card, and a judge picking the winner. The theme of the game is coming up with hilarious and witty responses to awkward or weird text messages. The mechanics of having players choose from a random handful of card allows players to think on the spot and creatively express their sense of humor and wit through choosing the funniest reply possible and explaining their choice. Points are given at each round to the person whose reply the judge picked, so the judge’s preference may also be taken into consideration. Through these game mechanics and dynamics, the game promises players multiple types of fun, most prominently Fellowship and Expression.

Grounded in the premises of a text message conversation, the graphics of app version was designed to mimic text message interfaces. The same IOS text message style and emojis are also applied to hint messages, which was a nice way of making sure the hints don’t interrupt the game too much. This is also what differentiates the game from other similar games. Most other games that compares players’ responses and judge the funniest such as Cards against Humanity or Apples to Apples don’t really have a strong theme, not something as situated as New Phone, Who Dis at least. There are pros and cons to this, in my opinion. On the upside, this strong theme of text messaging in New Phone, Who Dis gives it a unique spectrum of content and is also relatable to real life situations. On the downside, this also limits what kind of input and reply cards there could be.

Since unlike some games that allow completely free expression and let players come up with responses on their own, this game strictly requires players to choose from their hand of cards, I don’t believe there is a concern for verbal abuse in the responses. As for favoritism, the replies are anonymous until the judge makes a decision, so favoritism is also not possible.

One thing that I noticed while playing the app version is that each player only has three cards to choose from for each round, and quite often I felt like there were no replies that made any sense. Of course, the fun of the game requires coming up with the most ludicrous replies, but sometimes there were no replies that were related or funny at all. I would consider increasing the number of choices for each round in order to increase the chances for each player.

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