Monument Valley Game

A year ago if you Googled Monument Valley, you’d come up with well-known images and wiki entries about the place in Southeast Utah (on the Arizona-Utah state line, near the Four Corners area). And perhaps even now, your top 20 hits might still be about one of the most photographed locations in the world. But if you searched a little further, or added ‘app’ or ‘iPhone’ after it, you’ll surely come across results that welcome into the world of the beautifully designed and engineered app game from UsTwo Games.

The game, which many compare it to something out of an M.C. Escher dream, is mesmerizing in every way possible. UsTwo has woven adventure, logic, storytelling and beauty all into one amazing game. At first, I didn’t even realize it was a story, but by the time I had completed the game (which was only a couple of hours later) I was in awe. The fact that I could become attached to some little character living in an imaginary world that has no place in reality, was mind-blowing. This game really sets the highest bar I can imagine for smart phone apps.

One of my absolute favorite scenes from the game is when one of the characters, Totem, bursts through a wall in hopes of reuniting with his friend.  As a tribute, I created a GIF of it. I don’t know if I’ve broken any copyright laws by doing this, but I will say that this GIF is derived directly from the game. I own no part of any of it, except for the fact that I created the GIF.

This GIF was created using scenes from the UsTwo iPhone app game. None of this content is my original work.
This GIF was created using scenes from the UsTwo iPhone app game. None of this content is my original work.


Scrabble bans EVOLUTION

I’ve always been a huge Scrabble fanatic. I enjoy the strategy involved in coming up with scrabble-worthy words and then finding the perfect place to put them to gain the max number of points. And I love the fact that your word doesn’t even need to be lengthy – as long as you put it in the right spot. But I’ll admit that I get a high when I get a BINGO or better yet, get a BINGO using other tiles already on the board. It sounds so nerdy, but I’m sure anyone who plays this game knows what I’m talking about.

When I got my iPhone earlier this year, I downloaded the Scrabble App. My best word so far is ALIENAGE (131 points). I rarely get a BINGO with more than 7 letters, but these were one of those times. Which is why I was totally confused when I tried to create the word EVOLUTION a few weeks ago and couldn’t. I was trying to build off another word and had enough space to do it, so I didn’t know why it wasn’t letting me submit it. To make sure I was spelling it correctly, I even went to the Scrabble page on Hasbro’s site and entered it there. Turns out, it doesn’t appear in their dictionary.

scrabble dictionary online

I really thought I had misspelled it. I mean I’m not dumb, but I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t in their dictionary. What Official Scrabble Player doesn’t know the word EVOLUTION? So I cut and pasted the word from their site into Google just to make sure I wasn’t going crazy. I wasn’t. Then I started Googling phrases like “no evolution in scrabble” and “scrabble bans evolution.” I began to think that maybe Scrabble was conceived  by Christians who didn’t believe in evolution and so it was banned from their dictionary. (Just a conspiracy theory? Maybe.). Nothing came up. Then I tried to see if I could contact Scrabble directly, and in my search I found that the NSA (National Scrabble Association) existed. I laughed at first that there even was an organization, but then figured if anyone would know, they would. So I called them and explained my dilemma. Their answer to me was that perhaps the Scrabble app wouldn’t allow the word because it was longer than 7 characters. They suggested I try contacting EA, who created the app. However, it still didn’t explain why the word didn’t appear in the online dictionary on Hasbro’s site. Not to mention the fact that ALIENAGE is 9 letters and that was valid in the app. They didn’t have an answer for either, so I said thanks and hung up.

Not wanting to totally disregard what the NSA had said,  I went back to Hasbro’s Scrabble page and typed in ALIENAGE to see if this 9-letter word showed up. It did.

scrabble dictionary online

I even typed in a bunch of other 7+ letter words, like ORGANIZE and CUSTOMER,  to make sure I again wasn’t going nuts. I wasn’t. But then I typed in some other words like CONSCIOUS and RECOMMEND, and those did not show up. I was completely dumbfounded. I know I didn’t spell them wrong. Are these words not part of the English language?

My conclusion is that I have none. I could conceivably explain why EVOLUTION was omitted. But the other words? I have no clue. If anyone out there does – please let me know!