My Name’s Dan, and I Boggle

I’m telling you this so that maybe you won’t have to go through what I have.

During a short but pleasant family game of Boggle — that game where you try to make words out of a tray full of randomly arranged letters — my son Thom mentioned there was a website where you could play online. Later that same night, I found and visited the site.The intervening days are a blur.

The game is like crack. Except you don’t have to buy or smoke anything. You just sit down at your computer and type in the Web site. That quickly, you’re on the road to becoming an unshaven, unbathed lout with his hair sticking out at odd angles, his eyes bloodshot and unfocused, his grimy T-shirt stained with coffee dribblings and crusted with the leavings of granola bars

Also, unlike the popular media depiction of crack smoking, this online “game play” brings no moment of enjoyment, no momentary euphoria, no relief.

There’s screen after screen of letters arranged in the same deceptively simply 5×5 square. Full of possibilities. There’s a time clock counting down from three minutes. There’s the puzzlement at the failure to find a word more complex than b-u-t-t. There’s the automatic scoring at the end of the round, which comes with the revelation that everyone else has found words like “permanganate” and “perplexity” and “propinquity,” whatever those things are. There’s your name again, way down toward the bottom with the people who are just being introduced to written language and those who type with their elbows.

You’re sure you can do better. Really well. Give the player who goes by the handle ShazaMaster something to remember you by. Then it’s time to play. Again. And again. And again. And again. And again.

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One Reply to “My Name’s Dan, and I Boggle”

  1. I feel your pain. Most of the Linux distributions have a game called Klickety that has much the same effect on me: you bang through it as fast as possible, then start the next round with no joy or anticipation.
    Get help, Dan (or a maybe a new dictionary).

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