Saturday, April 7, 2012

Is Draw Something Really So Drawsome?

Draw Something, the insanely popular overnight hit.

For the uninitiated, Draw Something is a mobile app which allows you to...well, draw something. (Full tour of the app)

Since OMGPOP released it on 24th Feb 2012, the game has surpassed 50 million downloads in 50 days. That makes it the fastest growing mobile games to date.

It is not surprising why Zynga was willing to pay OMGPOP a staggering US$200 million for Draw Something, just a month after its release.

Zynga paid $200mill for Draw Something. (pic source)

What is Draw Something?

It is a simple game which fuses the features of Pictionary and anagram. Players take turn to draw and guess. They earn coins for each correct guess and use them to purchase 'bombs' or 'colors'.

'Bombs' take away some letters making it easier to unscramble. Adding colors to the palette presumably will make doodles more expressive and fanciful.

Downloads are free. However, the paid version is ad-free and has more words. 

Millions are hooked on the games. (Raiders: pic source)

Is it really so 'Drawsome'?

I am one of the millions of players, attracted to the game and getting endless amusement from doodles of varying quality.

Drawing has never been my forte. However, Draw Something has attracted every other person on the street to come on board. I don't feel out of place nor intimidated playing it with my limited doodling ability.

Simple caveman drawing is good enough. (Karate: pic source)

Personally, I find the game so simple that it hurts. Anyone who can draw like a caveman qualifies. However, as an online game, Draw Something is actually quite suckish.

Here's why.

1. No one wins

There are no winners or losers in this game. It just goes on and on through the motion of drawing and guessing. After awhile, it gets stale.

This seems to defy the meaning of 'game' when the competitive element is missing.

2. Lack commercial motives

Many online games lure addicted players to part with their real money. In return, they get a greater ability to perform in the game. This is not the case for Draw Something. You only earn virtual money to buy bombs or colors and there are no in-app purchases.

I suspect Zynga have something up their sleeves. I am waiting to see how the game will be revamped for greater sustainability.

3. Lack player motivation

There is no level-up in this game. You keep earning coins rounds after rounds. You can only use them to buy bombs or colors which you don't really need.

The game keeps some statistics such as 'longest streak', 'average guess speed' and 'average draw speed'. Interestingly, the 'longest streak' does not go beyond 99.

Those stats are not really capable of motivating players to want to do more or better. They offer some bragging rights, at most.

4. It is buggy

There are some bugs awaiting fixes. However, this is common with new online games. For example, your opponent may receive your drawing with letters from a different game. 

Use colors for a reason. (pic source)

Be 'Drawsome'

If you are new to Draw Something or feeling a little bored with it, here are some tips for you.

1. Use colors (for a reason)

Use them to emphasize or differentiate. Unnecessary use of colors can only distract your opponent.

2. Don't act like you are Picasso

It is a game, not a drawing contest. The idea is to get your opponent to understand you through your doodle. There is really nothing wrong with just drawing stick men. Unless you wish to irritate your opponent, don't spend time perfecting your drawing to match your desired art quality.

3. Don't write

The game is named Draw Something, not 'Write Something'. Respect your opponent's ability to guess and don't resort to writing anything on your drawing.

Use arrows to guide. (Poop: pic source)

4. Draw arrows

Use arrows to bring the point across. Point to the part of the drawing which lead to the answer. Use a different color for the arrows so that they do not look like part of the drawing.

5. Break up the words

Some words are easier to draw if you break them up. For example, draw a 'cow' and a 'girl' in separate drawings, instead of a 'cowgirl'.

6. Get online help

Clueless with the drawing? Take a screen shot and post it on social network platform such as Facebook. Help will flow in.

Don't write something. Draw! (pic source)

7. Watch those letters

Tired of shuffling and run out of bombs? Take a screen shot of the given letters. Close the game and log back in. You will get a new set of letters. Repeat this a few times and look out for recurring letters. The answers would be from these letters.

8. Skip game without pass

If you are stuck and want to move on to play with another player, you don't have to pass. Follow these steps:
  1. Click Home Button then double click Home Button.
  2. Your app tray will go up and show some icons below.
  3. Touch the Draw Something icon and hold for 5s.
  4. Touch the red dot to close the app.
  5. Double click Home Button.
  6. Start the app again.
    9. Get new words

    Struggling to chose one the three equally difficult words? You don't have to use a bomb to get new words. Follow the steps in (8). The set of words will be refreshed.

    10. Get Anagram help

    Don't be too quick to use the bomb. Try an anagram solver and you may just hit the answer. There are many anagram solvers on the web. 'Draw Something Words' and 'Drawsome Words' seem to be made for this game.

    11. Use a stylus

    Sick of drawing with your fat finger on the tiny smartphone screen? Try a stylus. Steve Jobs didn't believe in stylus. However, like it or not, stylus is making a comeback, thanks to Draw Something.

    Stylus for touch screen (pic source)

    I consider tips 7 to 10 cheats. However, you may say that it's only a game. I shall leave it to you to clear your conscience.

    I don't find Draw Something great in any spectacular way. However, 50 million players can't be that wrong. For now, there is no doubt that it has created a storm. The real question is in its sustainability. We shall wait for Zynga to do something to keep Draw Something going!

    Before you go, take a look at these great drawings shared by some proud players. Have a good laugh and get some inspiration.

    I wish you a 'drawsome' day!
    "I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination." (Albert Einstein)

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    Life-Quotes said...

    I enjoyed reading your post and I like your take on the issue. Thanks.

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