Critical Play:

For this week’s critical play I chose, a web-based game similar to Pictionary in which players take turns drawing words while all other players race to guess what is being drawn. was created by Mel (@ticedev) and is meant for all sorts of players. It features multilateral play in which all players compete against one another to win the most points. Points are awarded each round, with the players who guess the word sooner winning more points than those who take longer to guess.  

Given that is web based, it can be played either among people who are physically together or remotely apart. For my critical play I played with others while physically sitting together whereas in my past experience with I have only played with others remotely. I thought this was an interesting experience, for new dynamics were introduced and other dynamics were lost when playing the game in person. 

Whether in person or entirely remote, emphasizes both expression and fellowship as types of fun. Expression based fun takes the form of drawing and is fueled by mechanics such as the ability to customize one’s color pallet, brush width, etc. On the other hand,’s fellowship based fun is fueled by the competitive nature of the game. One mechanic that lends a hand towards competition and fellowship is the timer that limits round length. The timer creates pressure for both the player that is currently drawing and for all other players who are racing against the timer, and one another, to guess what is being drawn. Because of this, there is a friendly sense of rivalry that is created between players that is especially evident during instances where certain players may take much less or much more time than others to guess the drawing. 

Given that the drawing takes place through the website itself, the expression based fun does not change much whether one is playing in person or remotely. The fellowship based fun however seems to slightly differ depending on whether players are colocated or not. For example, features a chat log that players use to submit guesses. This chat log allows for players to view one another’s guesses, and in the case where players are not colocated, it is often also used to simply communicate with one another. For example, players may react to each other’s guesses via the chat. This particular functionality of the chat log however was completely absent while playing in person. The chat log instead switched to purely focus on players’ guesses given that players could easily communicate via speech.’s fellowship based fun also shifts when playing in person because it becomes much easier for players to communicate throughout the entire game. For example, when playing remotely, players don’t generally reveal their thought process via chat and instead save the chat log to submit guesses or to communicate with other players. On the other hand, when playing in a colocated space, players tend to think out loud, mentioning guesses to one another before actually submitting them to the chat. This in turn alters the competitive nature of because it becomes easier for players to build guesses off of one another as opposed to submitting guesses in siloed trains of thought. Overall, excellently emphasizes expression and fellowship as types of fun, but it is worth noting that these forms of fun manifest in different ways depending on how exactly the game is played.

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