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Spelltower’s Challenge feature is one of the best ideas of the year

When we play video games, the rules are established. Updates may change the way the games work, but typically these changes occur after some time and deliberation by the developers. What if you could challenge the mechanics of a video game in real time?

It may seem far-fetched, but it’s already a reality Spelltower +, an enhanced 2020 reissue of the classic word game. As in the original mobile game, write the words by dragging your finger over the letters; the longer the word, the higher your score. Multipliers can enlarge your scores, but you have to be careful: putting words together can sometimes bring down the “tower” of letters that hold everything together, leaving you with fewer blocks.

A screenshot in Spelltower +

Picture: Zach Gage

The advantage of word games is that you are at the mercy of the integrated dictionary, which may not include the word you are thinking of. Worse still, because language is so fluid, we constantly use words in our daily lives that may not yet be recognized by “official” entities, such as Merriam-Webster. The words we evoke are no less real, of course.

When you build that word Spelltower + does not recognize, the game automatically asks if you want to submit a Challenge, which will request a review of the request in real time. If you are successful, the word is added to your word list and will be available for play. You only receive three Challenges, but the number does not decrease if your request is successful.

Challenging in and of itself could also be considered a game, because the more rows present, the better your position in the Challenge ranking will be. At the time of this writing, the top Challenger is a user with the unsustainable name, who managed to get 40 words into the system.

While Spelltower +The living dictionary is extremely flexible, developer Zach Gage told Polygon on Twitter that he still has it some Basic rules. For example, you can’t send names, places or abbreviations. You can send the jargon, as long as it’s not vulgar. And things like constellations and species are definitely welcome in the compendium, says Gage.

“I tried to be as inclusive as possible without immersing myself in any” infinite “category in which I should have made a personal judgment,” he said.

It’s a process that has given him a different view of the existing word games, which are sometimes incredibly rigid. Who has not discussed what words we can play scarab?

“I feel like scarab he decided “no proper names” because it was a clean rule, not because it was a good rule, “he reflected.” Obviously many proper names are absolutely true words, and I think the idea of ​​word search games is to find words that you know. ”

scarab he may be the most influential player in the word game space, but he may not be for the best, says Gage.

“Because everyone who plays a word game has to respect a rule designed to be hypercompetitive scarab Players? “Gage asked.” Not all puns are about fierce competition. SpellTower it is about finding words you know, and therefore should allow things that are words, even if they are proper names, when it is reasonable. It’s nice and strangely radical to make an attempt to support this stupid inherited system. “

A ranking in Spelltower +.

Picture: Zach Gage

When we spoke last month, Gage claimed that 17,000 words had been denied, while 1,600 had been accepted by the system. Of these, Gage manually scanned around 3,000 consignments, the rest being handled by an automated system.

“I can make around 800 [word reviews] an hour, but it’s exhausting, “he says. But, he adds, manually going through the Challenges helps him develop better ways to improve his automated system, which in the long run will reduce the time he has to spend thinking about new words.

“I still had some angry people writing with words they wrote incorrectly,” recalls Gage. “It’s rather embarrassing to tell someone who wrote to you angrily how stupid you are that they are mistaken objectively and don’t know how to spell the word they sent.”

So far, Gage notes that he has gotten an unexpected flow of words related to weaving baskets.

“I think it’s pretty intimate in a very boring way,” reflects Gage. “I seem to see glimpses of the hard rare words that people know, what they are thinking about while they play. What they see when they look at a mixture of words. But then it is also like” cronk “,” logout “or” contrarianism “”.

Whatever players may present, and even if their challenge is unsuccessful, Gage can see that he has provided a release valve for players who are used to being ignored.

“I think this system has given many people a rather large outlet to finally get some closure and feel like they are sometimes right about a word,” he said.

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