Critical Play: Bluffing, Judging and Getting Vulnerable…

Skrillbio was developed by ticedev for mobile and desktop browsers. The target audience seems to be suited for groups of friends. The extremely colourful, silly aesthetic is suitable for an audience under 30. The game mechanics, which require some understanding of drawing on a digital interface, further seems to be suited to the more tech-savvy generation.

The game can be played with 2-12 players.  Players are either in the position where they are a “drawer”, selecting a word and drawing the world using a drawing software built into the game; or they are a guesser, where they may be able to type a word pertaining to their guesses of the drawing into an answer box. Each round, each player is in the “drawer” role once, and players take turns being the “drawer”. Interestingly, the game is transparent about who is drawing and who is guessing, showing all guesses publicly.

The game is fun as it fosters both competition and fellowship. The players are competing with each other to guess the object as fast as possible, and because everyone can see what others are guessing, there is pressure to get the answer immediately correct for fear that others will catch on to your initial guess. The element of competing against everyone else, as well as trying to help everyone out as the “drawer” (as you are trying to ensure as many people guess correctly as possible), introduces an interesting dynamic where you’re alternating from trying to help and trying to oppose the other players (fellowship vs. competition). The aesthetic element is also part of what makes the game fun: the ability to create silly, colourful visuals make the game visually stimulating.

The game could be improved if players could have the ability to engage in more speech. It feels like the game can be played entirely without communicating via anything but the chat-box in the application. This is great for an online setting where strangers are playing against strangers, but for a friend group who already know each-other, the lack of incentive to communicate verbally make the game less fun than alternatives.

The game reminds me of Charades, as they both rely on judgement of a visual symbol. Skribblio differentiates itself as it can be played in online settings, and requires people to draw rather than act something out; this can be more accessible if people are uncomfortable with physical movement or acting. The drawing aspect is accessible as even silly or bad drawings make the game enjoyable, and people are often very understanding of them.

You don’t need to get too vulnerable; you just need to draw the picture or guess it. There’s no disclosure of personal information, which can make the game comfortable to play. The only cause for lack of vulnerability is if the player is not comfortable with drawing; but this is not the case in my experience playing Skribblio, as I found the game to be very accessible to non-drawers, as bad drawings make for extremely fun and hilarious gameplay, and is widely acceptable.

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