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Chris Christou's Weblog. Everyone has a story — What's yours?

Archive for July, 2008

July 31st, 2008: 12:10 am

There are legal issues surrounding the imitation Scrabble game known as Scrabulous. The fact that this is making news headlines around the world is very intriguing. I’m guessing that before the game was available via facebook, it did not have anywhere near the popularity and user base. So here we have this facebook entity shaping our lives in such ways as to determine what constitutes ‘major news’ in our society.

People are sad that they can no longer play Scrabulous on facebook (in Canada and the US). The reality is, these people are lazy. It appears that the same game is served up for play through their regular homepage, which I think was available well before facebook went mainstream. So what people are really sad about, is the fact that they lost their convenient way to play it — from within facebook.

Will I miss Scrabulous? No. To me, turn based games follow a sort of bell curve pattern. To start, its kind of fun, you see how things work out. Then, something catchy about the game, plus additional people available to play against causes urge to play more. Then, you are checking it every couple of minutes. And then, slowly and without reason, the interest wanes. The game is played less, and then almost never. In the case of Scrabulous, I couldn’t be bothered to check if it was my turn anymore, nor did I particularly care. In the case of netrisk, after a few games, I think I got my fix, and didn’t feel the need to either find people to start another game, or wait for everyone to actually finish their turns. And in the case of Scrabble (the real board game), Tiffany and I go through cycles where we play it a lot for about three weeks. And then it goes onto the shelf for another two to six months. Just a natural flow.

The reality is: if I want to play Scrabulous or a Scrabble type variation, I can sign up at the Scrabulous site, or try out the official Scrabble facebook game. Or pour some juice and set up the board game at the kitchen table. Or play one of the other millions of anagram-based web games widely available on the internet. That’s enough options for me.

Do I think the imitation game should have been taken down? Sort of. While I don’t think that legal action was necessary, and admittedly would like to see Scrabulous live a long internet life, I think that it was the right thing to have happen in the end.

Am I biased? No.

When Coca Cola was getting started, lots of imitation beverages jumped onto the scene, trying to cash in on Coke’s new found success and popularity by offering similar product with intentionally confusing similar names. I’m not saying that Scrabulous is trying to be deceptive here, but Coke had the right to protect its product, and Hasbro/Mattel do too. And at the end of the day, I’m glad that I can enjoy the refreshing taste of the one and only Coca Cola.

[A response to Brad’s Post]

July 22nd, 2008: 9:08 pm

The best way to make a lightning storm go away is to run out and attempt to photograph it. While I did watch a good light show from my living room, by the time I went outside, it was making its way out. I did manage to catch a few bolts though…

July 12th, 2008: 8:58 pm

This has to be one of the best experiments I will never perform:

Somehow, blending glowsticks seems like an awesome idea!