Critical Play: Judging

I played, which is a drawing game created by ticedev you can play with friends similar to Pictionary but online with chat feature. The chat is essential because that is how you guess. I played this game a lot during quarantine with my family and friends and it was really fun. Today I just played with one friend because I didn’t have anyone else to play with which was a much different experience than what I’m normally used to when having 5 people playing.

The target audience seems pretty inclusive over any age range, since the terms they use are family-friendly and you can customize the game through custom words and the drawing style you use. However, this game would not be suitable for those with low sight as it is primarily a visual game with no additional alt text or other redundant coding. The game can operate with as little as 2 players as I did today, although I’ve played this game with my product team at the company I worked at, which must have been upwards of 15 people. Each player has a turn to draw a word out of three options (which seem to me to be easy, medium, and hard to draw). The rest of the players must guess the word in the chat box to the bottom right. When you are guessing, you see the masterpiece your friend is making as they are drawing as well as the blanks which tell you how many words and how long each word is. As you can see below, the chat is also a great way to have game discourse.

There is a speed element involved in which the faster you guess the words the more points you are awarded. Drawers are also rewarded for how good their drawing is. A round is over once all players have drawn. There are usually three rounds but that number is customizable along with the draw time and custom words.

Open photo

There is a lot of fun that comes from this game, both from the hilarity in the word guesses/fun banter in the chat as well as the drawings that each player makes. They can either be hilariously terrible drawings or actually masterpieces. The types of fun as per our class categories would be Expression and Fellowship as the game lets you explore your creativity or humor as well as fellowship since the goal of the game is to get your friends to guess your drawing. The chat is integral because it is immediate feedback for the drawer.

The game is simple but it works. It is extremely open and flexible, giving the players the two tools they need–the canvas and the chat box. Additionally, the game is as hard as you want to make it since they give you the blanks for the words but the drawer can choose how obvious they want it to be. This means, of course, that if a drawer isn’t trying they could fully just write out the word in paint — my brother always does this. Unfortunately, the game will reward them for this because they believe that the drawing was just really good. However, this is probably just a necessary hole in a game that allows for so much flexibility. I don’t think there is much improvement I would give to this game due to the amount of customization they give. However, I think it would be cool if they had different themes you could explore like how the online Spyfall game has Outrageous and Adults Only. The only other improvement is not necessary but whenever I play this game with friends, I always call them on another platform so that we can hear each other play. If they had a microphone feature that was purely for chatting and not for guessing, that could be helpful.

In this genre, this game is most similar to Pictionary. However, it is enhanced by this chat feature, which allows for a mediator between the drawer and the guessers. Instead of being unsure whether they are giving too much info by confirming or denying a guess (in the case that someone is pretty close to the answer), the chat feature has a rigid rule of only telling them their close if they are a letter off.

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