MANILA, Philippines – The biggest challenge, I’ve found, when it comes to writing a game review, is fighting the urge to stop “testing” the game so you can get on with the writing part. The measure of a good game, after all, is its ability to suck you in and eat up your time, getting you lost in hours and hours of play.
Which is exactly what happened to me when I sought out to understand the whole “Draw Something” craze that recently hit Manila and many parts of the world. The game, which runs on iOS and Android devices, has become so popular that its developer OMGPOP was recently snagged by social gaming giant Zynga for a whopping $180-M. Zynga, if you might remember is the creator of the Facebook phenom Farmville.
In its first 6 weeks, “Draw Something” was downloaded over 35 million times, making it the number one game on the iTunes App store in over 85 countries. Today, about a billion drawings are created on the app each week.
So what’s so great about this game anyway? Two words. Social and gameplay.
When you first launch “Draw Something” you are given two choices — signup with Facebook or with an email address. Trust me, pick the former. When I first played the game, I skipped the whole Facebook step and was a miserable camper with no one to play with. Then I connected via Facebook and discovered that my two sisters and some of my best friends were already on the game. And so began my addiction to “DrawSomething”, and 5 days since, I have 52 active games with 52 different friends — some a little bit more committed than the others, but all having a great time nonetheless.
Some of these 52 friends I haven’t spoken to in a while but have again because of the game. It isn’t rare to leave short messages for each other along with our drawings. It’s pretty cool if you think about it. I liken it to playing outdoors with friends as a kid, there was always this special bond amongst us. This same social element to a game which you can play in the solace of your room brings this game, and many other social games like it, to a whole new level.
The premise of Draw Something is the game’s other strong suit. Sans a time limit, you get all the creative freedom to draw. Users can obsess over their drawings. Even if they know the subject is pretty obvious already, they keep on going. You may not do it at first, but the longer you play the game, the more you’ll find yourself taking your own sweet time to finish your masterpiece.
Every user starts with the primary colors — red, yellow and blue, plus black and white (if you count the eraser) – which is tough if you are supposed to draw a leaf, or an orange or the Pink Panther (you just don’t have those colors yet). If you want more colors you’ll need to keep on playing to earn coins which you then can use to start purchasing palettes.
Collecting palettes is another fun part. I am saving up my coins to purchase palettes for skin tone and other superfluous colors to give my drawings that extra oomph. Admittedly at this point, its not a guessing game anymore. The game has become an outlet of sorts, and the goal is to draw the best picture possible.
If you have an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch or an Android device with a big enough screen, and some extra time to burn, I suggest you give the app a try. It’s a free download anyway. But if you get hooked, which chances are, you will be, then I highly recommend shelling out that $0.99 to get the paid version. That dollar will get you some coins to spend on palettes and a much needed upgrade to the list of available words (an additional 2500 words to be exact). After 20-or-so rounds playing the free version, the same words start popping out repeatedly, and if you ask me I’m pretty tired of drawing Scooby or Lion King over and over again. If you are serious like me, you’ll also benefit from a stylus, oh what a difference one makes.
The above photos are some of my recent creations. For someone who doesn’t draw much, I’m pretty proud of my work, but that’s just me, be kind with the comments please. 🙂 What about you? Do you have any masterpieces you’d like to share? We want to see them. Send your best drawings to Move.PH@rappler.com or upload them to our Facebook page. We’re putting together another article with the best ones and I’m looking forward to including yours. – Rappler.com
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