Once upon a time, I loved to play Scrabble. Oh, who am I kidding? I still love to play Scrabble. Nerd? Yes. What can I say? I’ve always enjoyed a good word game, and Scrabble happens to be the king.
Which brings me to yesterday’s horrific news announcement, which I can barely even talk about: Game manufacturer Mattel has created an edition that will “add a new dimension” and “introduce an element of popular culture into the game, enabling younger fans and families to get involved,” says a Mattel spokeswoman (quoted by the BBC).
Introducing Scrabble Trickster, which incorporates most of Scrabble’s original rules and also allows players to use proper nouns and spell words backward and steal letters from opponents.
And, I’m not the only one who thinks so. There has been plenty of backlash following the announcement, and I can understand why. Scrabble’s current rules, which incorporate a lot of correct grammar usage, have been in effect since 1948. People play the game because it requires them to have knowledge of words, not because they can name all the latest celebrities and athletes and brand names.
Or know how to spell backwards.
From MSNBC (read the article here):
In Britain, many Scrabble lovers took to their computer keyboards to decry the coming rule changes.
“This is an outrage,” wrote one message-board poster on the Web site of British newspaper The Times. “I will gladly vote for any political party which will have the good grace to ban this sick filth.”
“Now it can sell to the stupid as well,” wrote another Times poster. “Huge market there.”
I have to say, I agree with the latter Times poster. Grammar, as we know and love it, has slowly been eroding, and this game affirms that regression. Because allowing proper nouns is one step away from allowing text speak.
Thankfully, L-O-L isn’t worth many points.
From The National Post (read the article here):
Quoting his friend, a regular tournament competitor, one British blogger called it “an act of desperation by the makers, who have presumably noticed that not only can younger people not spell, read or write, they will cry off to their PlayStations if asked to cope with the simple and necessary rule prohibiting proper nouns.”
So, the younger generation can’t keep up? Of course our response should be to dumb-down the game to make things fair. Because life is fair. You can’t spell well? That’s OK, now you can steal my letters.
The game is set to be released in the UK in July. And, currently, Hasbro, who owns the rights to Scrabble in North America, has no plans to follow suit.
We can only hope that remains the case.