Facebookers have probably been following the saga of Scrabulous, the online game that looks and behaves rather like Scrabble. Scrabulous was well put together, and allowed me to play with my friends all over the globe, in group and one-on-one games.
Well, it was fun while it lasted. Despite their IP claims being rather, erm, shaky, Mattel-Hasbro seems to have brought down Scrabulous; it’s now only available for people who don’t live in the USA or Canada.
“Not to worry!”, they bugled. “We’ll bring out our own authentic version for you!”
So I went to look for it today, not in the best frame of mind. And what did I find? Not one, but two different “authentic” Scrabbles from Hasbro. Firewalled. One version for North America, and one version for the rest of the world, with an IP check. Nothing ever goes in, and nothing ever comes out. This is what I get when I go to the “Scrabble Beta” app:
Next, I tried to play the “Rest of the world” version. All my USAn friends were tauntingly listed in the Invite list, with this note above.
I tried to play with some Australian friends. The Play buttons didn’t work. The Invite buttons were buggy. The whole Hasbro interface was a shiny shambles. I couldn’t even get so far as a game board, not even when I tried to use the feature to start a game with a random person.
The discussion boards for both games are full of pissed-off would-have-been customers complaining about the firewalling and the bugginess of the apps.
So fuck you too, Hasbro. I guess I won’t be buying that travel Scrabble set I was considering. And I’m regretting having recently bought Scrabble Junior, after my lad’s interest was piqued by watching me play Scrabulous online.
You can find Wordscraper, the latest offering from the Scrabulous blokes, here. It just works.
And while you’re there, come challenge me to a game of BubbleWords. It rocks.