Momma Told Me: Drawception: Social Media Meets Pictionary Telephone Game

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Drawception: Social Media Meets Pictionary Telephone Game

Momma Told Me: There are a million ways to get your message across, but not every way is the right one.

Do you remember playing 'Telephone' in grade school? Every Thursday in 4th Grade my teacher, Ms. Robinson, would have us 23 kids sit in a giant circle after recess. Her way of calming us down, after the sugar rushes of lunch and schoolyard, was an ever changing array of social games such as 'Heads Up 7 Up' and 'Hangman'. One of my favorite, and always most entertaining of these activities was the ring around 'Telephone' game, where one child would begin with a simple statement, on an index card, and whisper it into the ears of the child next to them. That child would then turn to the person to their right and whisper what the heard, that child doing the same, and so on, so forth until the phrase reached the last kid. Simple enough, right? Well, with no one allowed to repeat the phrase more than once, and everyone's pronunciation or interpretation varying, we'd have a crime scene of words on our hand by the end! Naturally, there were also some inherit 'trouble makers' in the mix; those with personalities that saw humor in purposely changing the entire phrase, simply for their amusement. It was a lifelong lesson about the value of clarity and 'second hand' information.

A similar principle applies to one of my favorite games, as an adult, Pictionary. I can recall many evenings glued to various free online game sites meticulously drawing given words and phrases. In a modern world, where there truly are more ways than ever to communicate, and more ways for communications to go wrong- I find these sorts of simplistic tasks to be an interesting note about our society. Just the other night my father was complaining about the values of texting, versus the pitfalls of over-communicating through texts. Have you ever tried to hold a conversation via text that was taken with the wrong tone, or out of context? I know, as a sarcastic individual, I offend many through the course of the day, simply trying to be witty. Facial expressions and tone of voice simply don't convey through typed words on a blank screen, and even that rolling 'smiley' can seem condescending at times.

So, when I caught a glimpse of a peculiar web based game, on my significant other's screen, I knew I had to investigate just what had him so transfixed. It was called Drawception: Social Picture Telephone Game. Just as it sounds this, currently Beta, online game is entirely free to play, and uses a social media platform 'login' system. This means you can connect via your Twitter or Facebook accounts for quick, hassle free, play. The concept is simple. Those with over '5' positive points can 'start' a game, by generating their own phrase or theme to guide following players. Or, you can choose to join a game, at a randomly generated point. You will either be given an image (to dictate in words), or a phrase to replicate in images. For the latter, you have roughly 9 minutes to draw your interpretation of the given words/phrase with an elementary palette and brush system. Use as little or as much time as you want, click 'submit' when you are done. A completed game has 12 slides, 6 drawings and 6 descriptions.

Once all 12 slides have been completed you can view the game in it's entirety through your home page. 'Points' are awarded through a social form of 'likes' vs 'dislikes' where each thumb up given for your description or drawing is +1, and each thumb down is -1. Sometimes you will receive no recognition at all- regardless, it is truly enjoyable to read how others interpreted your contribution, and how your contribution came to be in the first place.

Worried you can't draw? Of course some players are using mice, others trackpads (like me) and some fancy pen-pad tech device tablets. You'll find an array of simple to complex and skilled to childlike drawings, which only serves to add to the fun! Points and thumbs up aren't awarded for the complexity of the drawing, simply the effectiveness of conveying the given image or phrase. The game is still in Beta, so there are some simple features I expect to see developed in time. A stronger sense of Facebook and Twitter integration, to play with friends, or set up a group game would be nice. It's also a bit hard to track down your friends, to follow, which does tend to cut down on unfair bolstering of scores, but also detracts from the social aspect. And, last but not least, remember that the people playing will vary in age and origin, so you are sure to see everything from G-PG13 and up. Adult themes and humor do tend to arise, if something is offensive to you, however, you can report a user. Personally, I've just played 6 games so far, and can see how it is quite addicting, give it a try for yourself!

What Daughter Says: Frustrated with the day to day communication hiccups of modern times? Take a break and laugh at generational and visual boundaries in Drawception.

Please Note: I was in no way solicited or contacted by the creators of Drawception. This is simply an old fashioned blog post sharing a website I believe my readers will love. Enjoy!

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