May 24th, 2007
I have two distinctly different software packages to share with you.�� The first is a truly evil game.� My definition of evil is that you will find yourself wanting to play "just one more hand", plus you have to know how to spell!� What can possibly be more evil than that?� The second is a seriously soothing, relaxing, application that you can use to either help you sleep or, conversely, help energize you in the middle of the day when you really need to stay awake.� I am covering the game in this column and the sleep/energizer aid in the next.�� You may need the second after playing the first.�
The game is Super TextTwist.
|Review Version:� Super Text Twist 1.0.2
Developer:� Gamehouse, Inc.
P.O. Box 91123
Seattle, WA 98111-9223
Price: U.S. $19.95 (download)�� CD available for� an additional U.S. $7.95 that allows installation on additional machines
Mac OS X 10.2 or better
Trial download allows 3 sessions - each 20 minutes long
To get the most out of the playing experience you want to be sure to get the Super TextTwist version that is available at the developers home page.� There are some versions of the game available on the Internet that do not have the "Save and Exit" option.� This option is important because it adds the ability to accumulate your score from game to game even when you close the application or restart your computer.� Otherwise, your scores will only accumulate as long as you keep the game open.�
This game is for those who speak U.S. English or perhaps for those who are trying to learn to speak it.� There is a built-in dictionary (dictionary symbol beside each selected word) that allows a player to look up the meaning of each word.
The Game Concept
The concept is simple.� How many words can you make from a set of letters?� You can play a timed or untimed version.� You get points for each completed word.� You don't have to guess every word to move on to the next level, but you do have to guess the longest word to do so.� If you correctly guess every word in the puzzle you gain bonus points.� The empty boxes on the left side of each puzzle let you know just how many words can be found and how many letters are in each one.
Basic Super TextTwist Game Screen
(Click the thumbnail for a larger image)
How To Play
To play the game you click on the balls to form words and then click on enter.� If you have created a word that is contained in the puzzle it will appear in one of the boxes on the left.� If your word is not part of the puzzle you will get a very polite message that the word is not accepted.� There is a "twist" button that allows you to scramble the letters so that you can look at different combinations when you get stuck.�
One very nice feature is the "Last Word" button.� If the puzzle letters include one or more of the letter "S" then you know you will be able to add an "S" to a number of words to create plurals.� Indeed, you will have to do so, if you are going to fill in all the words and complete the puzzle.�
In the example noted above I have entered the word 'save'.� Now I can click on the "Last Word" button and save will again be entered as a selected word option.� Then I click on the "S" ball� and "S" is added.� I now have 'saves' and I can click "Enter".� This feature helps move the game along.
To move from one round to another you must guess the longest word.� If there are more than one "longest words," getting one correct will suffice.� If you can't guess that word your only option is to select the "Give Up" button.� Doing so will put your score back to zero.� Once you have guessed the longest word you may, at any time, select the "Next Round" button, which will secure your score and move you to another game.� However, if you correctly guess every word, you get bonus points.� The bonus points vary depending on the number of words you had to guess to win the game.
Things to Remember
The words for each game are predetermined so you may try and enter a perfectly correct word that will be rejected because it is not recognized as part of your present game.
Proper names are not recognized as game words unless they are words that have other meanings -- for instance, Pat and Sandy are good examples.
Generally speaking, foreign words will not be accepted unless they are totally ingrained into the English language.
Anytime you end a game without having guessed all the words, the words you did not guess will be displayed for you.� I made a list of the words that I seemed to miss more than once.� It helps me remember them better.
This is a fun, challenging game that exercises your mind.� More than one person at a time can play and that can really be fun as well, particularly if you have the ability to project something from your computer onto your TV screen or if you have one of the very large computer monitors.�� And, if you find yourself throwing your hands up in the air at the end of a game, saying "ooh, I should have gotten that one!", you are not required to tell another living soul.
Talking to a generation that remembers what the world was like before there was color, covers issues for people who don't care how their computer works, but rather what their computer and the internet can do for them.
Nancy has a Master's degree in Human Services Administration and prior to her retirement she worked for almost 30 years in field of mental health and mental retardation. She has been a Mac user for 11 years, and has recently developed an avocation of teaching basic computer skills in both group and one-to-one settings.
Computing with Bifocals Archives.