This column was original published on the ITV Teletext service GameCentral in 2003
Got that? 3 minutes starting……..NOW.
Wit. Reef. Twin. Rows. Swot. Trust. Twit. Rust. Refine. Tint. Unit. Stir. Forest. Fritter. Squirts.
I win. You lose. You don’t even know the rules yet, but I still say you lose. Videogames take no prisoners.
Videogames, you say? But that pointless exercise was the first ever experiment in Teletext Boggle. And Boggle – try not to wince – is a board game.
As IF. For the last 16 unblinking hours I have been playing WEBoggle (Google will find it for you).
Unblinking, unscratching, unmoving. My knees have turned to bags of crunchy Lego, I drunk my dinner through a straw. Don’t ask about peeing.
Another thing about my WEBoggle marathon? It was unwinning, too.
That wretched Tracey Gracey topped the table every round. I hope she chokes.
14 hours of losing at a console game? I’d have given up long ago. Stomped over here to write a smug column about difficulty balancing and accessibility.
But with this, I can’t stop. They can’t stop. And we need to figure out why.
Like it or not, these web-based games are the ‘real’ videogames.
They are played in numbers that make The Sims and GTA look weirdo niche.
Played for hours that make EverQuest look like the blink of a panicky gnat.
Played for money that makes paying £64.99 for Jet Force Gemini sound like throwing a bent foreign plastic penny in the Trevi Fountain and finding gold.
How can these crummy web-based games be more popular than ICO, than Gradius, than Prince of Persia? Than Wario Ware?
Either the people playing them are stupid, or we are. And I know which.
Of course the people playing them are stupid. Tracey Gracey? What kind of slop-brained wino chooses that for a screen name? And first every time?
No friends, no life, no question.
Except. I’m dazzling sophisticated and tiresomely popular and I just put in 16 delirious hours, honing my skills (SKILL, KILL, SILL, ILLS, KILLS)
We need to leave our cinematic experience, and our 1024MB of RAM and go and ask the people who make these things to teach use how to make a good games. For us and for all men.
Because we have as much to learn from them as I do from Master Tracey Gracey.