Last Sunday my wife decided to do a highly-realistic impersonation of a fish out of water, while at the same time attempting to remodel the hallway floor with her face.
Her fish-flop (brought on by a seizure of some sort – the cause of which has yet been determined) left much to be desired and her floor-refurbishing attempt only served to remind everyone involved that any successful task needs the proper tools. No one carries a “face” in their tool box.
As a result of the subsequent five-day hospital stay, I introduced her to Words with Friends*. Yes, the same game that got Alec Baldwin booted from an American Airlines flight 2 years ago. (Exaggerate much?)
I introduced the game to her because of the following: German hospitals only offer one English-language television channel; no matter how good the programming BBC News offers, there’s only so much of it you can take; and she enjoys spelling contests and consistently beats my ass at solving the puzzles on “Wheel of Fortune”.
If the aforementioned doesn’t mean one is ready for Words with Friends, I don’t know what does. I downloaded the free version on both our phones and the Words with Friending ensued. We quickly fell into a routine.
She steadily took me to school, laying down words that had like four Zs two Qs, and a C, while I’d be laying down the letters T and O to complete my turn. The ending score always seemed so lopsided: Daggy58 – 268 vs. Oliveritaly – 23.
But whatever, it was a time passer, she was stuck in the hospital and she was enjoying it.
Then it happened, on the last night of her stay doctors asked her to stay awake the entire night so they could monitor her. Because caffeine was not an option, Words with Friends helped her achieve that goal.
She played with my Dad’s girlfriend, she played with old friends in the U.S., and she played with strangers on the Internet. During this journey into the depths of Words with Friends she discovered two things: First, my Dad’s girlfriend is not to be toyed with when it comes to that game (she consistently kicks Dagmar’s ass), and second, she discovered the Internet is teeming with assholes.
One random Words with Friends player (I forget the name) told her she was a “shit player” and that she “fucking sucked.” This was during the second round of their first game. That’s a lot of information to present based on so very little evidence Mr. Troll, so keep up the good work.
Another random player turned the game into a meat market, letting her know he was 40 years old, good looking and wanted to “sexy chat.” This (she’s so cute!) also baffled my wife. “But he doesn’t even know me,” she expressed with genuine concern the next day.
But the Internet trolls and oversexed 40 year olds aside, it was proven on that VERY long evening that an addiction was seeping through my wife’s veins.
My wife — the woman who fought getting a smart phone until last year, who mocked my own online-gaming obsessions and who once decreed that anyone who plays a games just needed to “grow the hell up,” — kept me awake until almost midnight obsessively tapping words into the game with the determination of a junkie looking to score.
Chase that dragon baby … Chase that dragon.
I’m not knocking it. Far from knocking it, I completely understand it. I’ve often thought I should, and may still, write a piece about early online gaming. In 1991 I once racked up a $500 phone bill playing America Online’s Neverwinter Nights. It was a great online game presented in 16 dashing colors! Before that, in the late 80s, I played text-based MUDs, which pretty much proves I was beaten up a lot in high school. I also invested countless hours in Everquest in the late 90s after abandoning all hope in Ultima Online because the gaming population there proved early on that the Internet was full of douches.
Point is, I’ve been there. I understand the thrill of a perfectly executed move no matter the game’s design. I understand the obsessive maneuvering necessary to lead your opponent toward their demise. I, better than most, understand the need to make just … One. More. Move.
But stop fucking bugging me with requests to take my turn for the love of Jesus woman! I suck at spelling (He does ~Fran), I don’t much care for word games, and the damned game inevitably deals me letter combinations like I, I, I, O, U, T and X. Which means I play “Out” and you follow up with “Outhouse,” double-double-word score, killing me.
It’s like the level-90 wizard in the above-mentioned games dueling a level-3 dwarf. Sure it’s hysterical to the wizard, but the dwarf just wonders why he’s suddenly on fire and beating eaten by a giant frog.
Anyway, if anyone’s looking for a Words with Friends partner leave me the hell alone. My wife however can be found online as Daggy58.
* To any serious Words with Friends players out there, is there any point to my buying her an actual copy of the game? She’s using the free version with advertising between moves, but doesn’t seem to mind. Besides the lack of ads, does the paid for version offer her anything? Thanks.