I have a delightful new pastime: an iPhone game called Draw Something, which is functionally a shiny, digital version of the older word game Pictionary. I was initially skeptical, since it has had a meteoric rise in popularity and I am unnecessarily wary of popular things. However, as soon as I’d played a few rounds with my housemates and friends, I embraced it with glee.
Here’s what it does: you pair yourself up with friends and/or strangers, and the game gives you three choices of word to draw. Then, you illustrate the word by tracing your wobbly fingers (or a stylus) across the touchscreen, in such a way that your companion will (hopefully) guess it. You can do anything from stick figures to elaborately colored masterpieces.
As adults, it is rare that we have spontaneous drawing parties with our friends — we do not tend to flop down together onto the kitchen floor with pads of paper and colored pencils, awash with the enthusiasm of creation (alas!). I wouldn’t be able to pick my friends’ handwriting out of a lineup, as all of our written interactions are virtual. I think that’s why the game appeals to many people: it gives us a chance to see the creativity and minds-at-work of our friends. In addition, it’s just plain silly.
Last week, my mother and her iPhone visited my little ol’ grandmother. The three of us got to play several rounds of Draw Something together, laughing on video chat as we made noble attempts to convey the key elements of antlers and sinks. Two of my close Davis friends just moved to the Bay Area; I see them far less often, but at least I can smile at the notes they write in the margins of their art. My housemates also play, and we frequently bellow across the house at each other: “What on earth did you draw for me? Is that a person or a boat?”
Here are a few things I’ve enjoyed drawing. If you have any fabulous drawings of your own, it would be wondrous if you shared them. (To take a screenshot on your iDevice, press the Home button and the Power button at the same time, for no more than one second. The screen will flash white.)