|Harrumph of the week: The Mystery of EvilLordPexagon|
|Written by David Brunnen|
|Tuesday, 26 August 2014 13:46|
Yesterday’s news that Amazon is intent on acquiring Twitch Interactive Inc. – a 3 year old venture with a million broadcasters and 55 million visitors per month – for $970 million in cash, is yet another signal that your correspondent should wake up and take the games market seriously.
It’s also a reminder to this aged observer of digital developments that he might at last abandon Boggle in favour of Wordament.
Families across the English-speaking world may still remember the word game, Boggle. We were particularly proud of our travel version – standard Boggle with rubber band to keep the lid on.
The online version has the same 4X4 matrix. It allows American usage and spellings but curiously regards a great many English words as ‘obscure’.
To succeed in this tablet-take of an age old game, a familiarity with stateside speak is clearly an advantage, which makes it more remarkable that the top ten players frequently include some flying the Union Jack.
Serious players adopt ‘gamertags’ and, whilst most casual players might struggle to find 25 words in the permitted time, the global top ten routinely find 100 or more – an achievement that surely either displays extraordinary lexicological dexterity or some supplementary software aid to generate letter/word permutations at devilish speed.
The EvilLordPexagon’s results were always a marvel to behold until that is he (or maybe she) disappeared from the rankings for some time. But clearly the dreadful weather over the English Bank Holiday weekend must have left EvilLordPexagon with little else to occupy the time but to show the Wordament world that he (or she) was still a top ten player.
But what, you ask, has this got to do with Twitch? Twitch, we gather, is a video platform for gamers to capture and display their prowess in various online games. It is, apparently, used by individual gamers, pro players, publishers, developers, media outlets, conventions and, would you believe it, ‘stadium-filling esports organizations’.
“Broadcasting and watching gameplay is a global phenomenon and Twitch has built a platform that brings together tens of millions of people who watch billions of minutes of games each month – from The International, to breaking the world record for Mario, to gaming conferences like E3. And, amazingly, Twitch is only three years old,” said the dreadfully serious Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com. “Like Twitch, we obsess over customers and like to think differently, and we look forward to learning from them and helping them move even faster to build new services for the gaming community.”
So there in a PR nutshell you have it. The EvilLordPexagon is probably tiring of ‘so yesterday’ online Boggle and is surely moving on to Twitchier things. Those of us, ‘aging analogues’, who have grandchildren absorbed in the mysteries of Minecraft and Loom Band videos know only that we are all doomed never to catch up in a digital world where, like many businesses and quite a lot of politics, the line between fantasy games and reality seems to be ever more blurred.