Very recently, I wrote an article mentioning that I have always wanted to be frighteningly good at anagrams. It has been on my mind partly because I have been struggling with cryptic crossword solving, but mostly it has to do with the fact that I have been playing Alphabear. I have been playing it a lot.
You probably have seen images from this game around, if you have friends who enjoy wiling away their time with apps that make them feel smart. And anything involving words and flexing your big vocabulary muscle counts as educational, so it can be played with zero shame. It can be bragged about in the way that only the proudly nerdy can do. “I just spelled a twenty letter word! Beat that!” OH I WILL. AND I WILL LOSE SLEEP UNTIL I DO. I will lose my friends and family until I do.
I’m a special sort of wasted brain, though. When Dollissa got me to start playing, I very quickly developed a game INSIDE the game. Of course, at this point, I hardly even play it anymore because my game is more enjoyable at the lower levels when it is easy to meet the point requirements for the board, and I also can only stay addicted to a game for about a full week. But that’s how brilliant candles that burn at both ends like me operate, babycakes. You can’t slow us down.
If you are a person who has never heard of this game, let me try to explain. There are rectangular bears you earn while playing a game that is kind of like a jumble, and kind of like boggle. You use strategy and your own smarts to win points. Some boards are timed. The boards change daily. You can earn blue or golden eggs, from which the bears hatch. The bears are themed and adorable. It is set up in such a way that it is simple to learn and very intuitive.
At the end of each game, a little bear offers up a phrase that is essentially a mad lib, using words you have spelled out during the game that just finished. This is where my game begins. During play, I try to create words that are silly, filthy, or scatological, because when mad libs are involved, I become eleven years old again. Alphabear accepts most swear words and will give you the giggles like you’re in the back of fifth grade Social Studies class again, subtly ruining your future somehow.
You can refresh the phrase again and again. The bear won’t get tired or annoyed, I promise. If you are given an especially good sentence, you can share it! Some people share with Facebook or Twitter or wherever as a whole. I prefer to send them as greeting cards to specific people. Unlike the little square bears, however, the friends will swiftly become tired and annoyed. Don’t let that stop you.
After about four levels, the joy runs out. There are only so many times you can spell the word “whore” before it just stops being a thrill. (Three times. The amount is three times). I guess, in a way, Alphabear has caused me to grow up a little. I no longer laugh at childishly funny words, except for “toot,” and honestly, cursing lost its charm years ago, but seeing cute bears saying it was funny for a round or two. From now on, I am a more mature person. I will only laugh at hilarious town names, and on occasions when an Alphabear combines vaguely filthy words into a whole new terrible concept.