R.I.P. Scrabulous


It’s a sad day for the socially challenged. Scrabulous, the addicting Facebook application based on Hasbro’s board game, Scrabble, has been shut off indefinitely to US and Canadian users. Pressured for months by Hasbro to shut it down, its India-based creators were finally sued into submission. Sigh. Non-North Americans can still enjoy their online bingos and triple word scores.

Personally, I’m kind of relieved the game has been pulled from Facebook rotation. Why?

1) It’s an unmitigated time-waster.

Although the fundamental “web-iness” of the game – what makes it work so well as an Internet application – is its start-and-stop dynamic, it’s rarely played in such casual spurts. More likely you’ll make your move, stare at the screen until your opponent makes his, then frantically take another turn. Then repeat; a vicious cycle. When played by obsessive compulsives like me, Scrabulous becomes less a diversion than a spelling addiction. “There are worse things a person could be doing,” you might say. “I mean, it’s a word game – isn’t it inherently educational?” Hardly, because

2) Scrabulous actually makes you dumber.

Playing the game in person you’re forced to rely on your own brain and whatever word/spelling synapses are currently firing. It’s a great way to show your illiterate siblings who’s #1, and a quick and easy route to “you’re so smart!” praise from your parents. Online, however, true ability takes a back seat to Google search speed. And everyone’s in on it. Jake really knows that much about foreign currency? Suddenly Paulene is a chemistry major? I’ve returned to games to find words like “kolhozy” and “wadmaal” on the board, words that exist only in the Scrabble dictionary. With my intended “cat”* thrown into harsh, stupid light, I too wind up turning to a special site for inspiration.

… More than anything, my greatest Scrabulous frustration was just the consistent ass-whoopings I would receive at the hand of Jackie Rogers. I was second runner-up in Haddonfield Middle School’s 6th grade Spelling Bee, dammit!

NOTE: You can still play the game on the official Scrabulous website. Of course you’ll need to register… then get your friends to register… yeah, too much work. And who wants to keep multiple windows open at once? I’ll hold out for the Facebook version of Candyland.

* blank tile for “a”

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2 Responses to “R.I.P. Scrabulous”

  1. heather Says:

    A special-er site: http://www.wineverygame.com

    …used only when playing holier-than-thou douchebags who need to be put in their place, I swear.

  2. Henning Says:

    Too many to count, really – this game brings out the worst in people.

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