Critical Play: Vulnerability in

I played, an online multiplayer game that is a guessing-drawing game. It has one user choose to draw a phrase out of three options in 80 seconds. The number of letters are provided to the rest of the players, similar to Hangman, and the rest of users try to guess what the drawing is the fastest. Therefore, it utilizes a unilateral player interaction pattern. This makes it easy to adapt to players who are strangers because there does not need to be any trust or communication between guessers. The faster you guess, the more points you are awarded. It can be a a three to eight player game – the random rooms you can join as a solo player seemed to be capped at 8 players. The target audience seems to be people who like time-pressure games, drawing, and competition since there is no action that players take to work together that results in a reward. The words provided seem to be feasible for even a ten year old since most provided are nouns (eggplant, statue, Chewbacca, etc.). However, I do want to note that there doesn’t seem to be that much protection in the chat (I was able to type curse words), so it could be an inappropriate platform for kids.


In terms of game structure, there are three rounds that are timed at 80 seconds, and one player per round at random is chosen to draw. This means that not everyone is guaranteed a chance to draw and most people guess. Drawers are provided with a decent amount of drawing tools, including multiple colors, a pencil tool, bucket tool, and eraser tool. Guessers have unlimited guesses, and once the clock hits 20 seconds and nobody has gotten the answer, one letter is provided to users in the correct place in the word. The interesting part about this being an online game, versus an in person game, is that all users are able to see the incorrect guesses people make in the chat box for inputting guesses. This can help both the drawer improve their drawing, and the other guessers narrow down their answer. Guessers also can see who has guessed correctly and the correct answer is covered, adding even more pressure to guess the answer as you see your competitors score points. Once the three rounds are over, the server restarts and a new game begins – this probably helps to guarantee enough players being online to play a game since the games are very short, and players aren’t trapped in long games while other players wait to join (a good density logistics solution!).

The fun comes from time pressure and the competitive race against every other player, an almost “everyone for themselves” type of challenge game. Because you can see other people’s guesses, it also lets you know how far off track players can be, which adds some transparency to players’ understanding and thought process. This increases the stress players can feel, which brings in a sensation component of fun to the game! Although this does not necessarily share personal information that is vulnerable, players do have to be willing to put their guesses out in public, which if they are quite off from other players, could be a little embarrassing!



The game works really well because the words are relatively feasible to draw in 80 seconds, but because the word bank is so large, guessers still face some friction while guessing because their brain has to switch tracks so frequently. It could be improved by reordering users in point order, since their current layout makes it hard to see who is in the lead. I would also add a soundto the timer since it is a digital game and could increase the sensation of stress-fun more! The words could also be more difficult since I was presented “heart,” “omelet,” and “kitchen” as my options, and heart was so much easier to draw – people guessed it in about 5 seconds.



Other games like this, such as Pictionary and Telestrations, have different group elements to them that does not. In Pictionary, there are teams to score points, and in Telestrations, it is a purely collaborative and silly game where the fun comes from how far off the final drawing is from the initial phrase (like Telephone). Additionally, Pictionary uses categories for words, and Telestrations lets users choose the words they want the other players to draw. I like how is a very casual game that uses drawing, while the other two require more organization. Strangers are also able to play and have fun, while strangers playing Telestrations or Pictionary might not have as much fun since they do rely more on player to player interactions.

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