For this critical play, I chose to play Skribbl.io, an online multiplayer game created by a developer with the handle @ticedev on Twitter (https://twitter.com/ticedev). The game is a drawing and guessing game that I’ve heard of and seen played on Twitch streams. It looked fun, so I decided to give it a try myself.
The game does not have an explicit target audience; however the game is bright, visually appealing, and appropriate for any age so the audience range is quite wide.
Each private game lobby supports up to 12 players, though it seems like public lobbies may support even more. The game lobby that I joined and played in had anywhere from 6-10 players in it at a given time. The game is played in 3 rounds. During each round, every player gets a chance to be the drawer. They are given 3 choices of words to pick from that they can draw. Their goal is to have as many people in the lobby guess the word they are drawing correctly. Players who guess the word correctly receive points based on how quickly they guessed the word. The object of the game is to be the player with the most points at the end of 3 rounds.
The game exhibits several forms of fun, notably including fellowship and expression. A sense of accomplishment through fellowship is felt when correctly guessing someone else’s word; it is satisfying when as the drawer or guesser you are on the same page and are rewarded for guessing correctly. Expression comes by way of interpreting the word you pick and drawing it how you see fit, to get as many people to guess the word correctly as possible. The game is an enjoyable artistic outlet for people who enjoy drawing.
I think the game works well in large part due to its simplicity. The game is accessible and appropriate for anyone and the rules are easy to understand: simply draw a word you select or try to guess what other people are drawing. There is however some room for improvement with the game interface. The color scheme and moving animations can be a little bit hard on the eyes at times. Additionally, the chat rooms are not moderated or filtered so there was some inappropriate behavior going on in the chat of the lobby I was in at one point in the game. This is one thing that could cut down a big chunk of the game’s target audience as the chat can sometimes create inappropriate content for younger players.
Skribbl.io is a fairly unique game in how it combines the best elements of drawing games like Pictionary or Draw Something with elements of judging games like Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity. The drawing and guessing is fun and the larger lobby sizes give the game a more prominent social aspect and allow you to play in large groups of friends or strangers.
Vulnerability in this game is a choice completely up to the players, which I think is a great thing. Players can choose a name to remain anonymous online while playing with strangers, and players choose which words they draw so they can avoid content that they are uncomfortable with or vulnerable about.