For this critical play, I choose to play skribbl.io, a judging web browser game created by a developer who goes by the name of ticedev. This is a game aimed towards casual players. Since it’s a web browser game, it can be brought up nearly anywhere as long as you have wifi, and since players are able to easily join in on ongoing games and leave when they wish, it’s perfect for people with busy schedules who are looking to take a quick break.
skribbl.io is a game that can be played with up to 12 players. When it is their turn a player must first select a word from three choices. After that they are given their resources which consist of a palette of different colors to choose from, a brush tool that they can change the size of, an eraser tool, and a bucket tool. With these resources, the player is meant to draw a picture of their chosen word. As they draw this picture, other players try to guess what the word is using a chat. For the other players, they are given a hangman version of the word where all they have is how many letters are in the word, but overtime, the letters start to fill in to give the players some hints as to what the word is.
While playing skribbl.io, I found that I had experienced three types of fun, fellowship, expression, and sometimes sensation. Fellowship being the most obvious, even though this was a game where we were all competing against one another, I did enjoy the chat feature as it led to us joking and even discovering that we were into the same music artists. Expression is also a pretty obvious one, when it was my turn it was up to me to draw my picture however I wanted, with the hopes of people guessing what it is. It’s definitely a game that allows for a lot of creativity. As for sensation, sometimes people drew really impressive artworks that I just enjoyed looking at them.
I think the main reason this game works is really because it’s a browser game that’s easy to just hop in and play. Convenience is a huge factor. I also think it works because of how the scoring system is designed. The quicker you guess, the more points you earn. The player drawing also gets points for however many people are able to guess their work, but the amount of points they get is never more than the fastest guessers. I think this helps to create a catch up dynamic. If you’re behind in points, you can still make a comeback by guessing faster, and the person in first place will eventually have to draw again, so the points the can win will be limited allowing for players behind to further close the gap.
When we compare skribbl.io to another judging game like Cards Against Humanity, their main difference is that in Cards Against Humanity, only one person is the judge at a time, while with skribbl.io, everyone else is judging one player at a time. While both games have a sense of vulnerability, this coupled with the fact that your drawing in skribbl.io is attached to you (it’s not anonymous aside from the nicknames chosen for your player) makes skribbl.io a much more vulnerable game. I can’t really say if it makes it better or worse, I think this is dependent on how vulnerable you’re willing to get.
Speaking of vulnerability, in skribbl.io, since you are drawing pictures that people have to try and guess what it is, there is a vulnerability there with your drawing skill. During some rounds of my play, I noticed some players essentially gave up when it was their turn to draw because no one could guess from their drawing and they would instead just spell out the word. Another vulnerable aspect in skribbl.io is guessing the word. If everyone else is guessing the word correctly except you, it could make you feel pretty incompetent. Speaking from experience, one of the rounds I just couldn’t figure out the word, but everyone else did. It came to the point where people were upvoting the drawing as if it was a perfect drawing, all of that didn’t help and instead just made me feel like they must have all through I was less intelligent because I couldn’t get it. Overall though this was a fun game, if you’re okay with being a little vulnerable with your drawings and guessing game then I recommend it.