Monday, February 23, 2009
Why I stopped playing Word Challenge on facebook
Two words Word Challenge recognized:
Two words it does not recognize:
Now, using the google tool, define:oho, I found that according to wikipedia, Oho is the name of the Japanese era that came after Eiryaku, and before Chōkan. Hardly a word that has entered the English lexicon. However, both the free dictionary and the Scrabble dictionary on the Parker Brothers website define oho as "used to express surprise or mock surprise." Unsurprisingly, there are words I don't know, and others that I wouldn't think of in a word game because they seem less like discreet units of meaning and more like onomatopoeia.
However, I'm totally baffled by the failure to recognize "koan." This is a non-english word that has without a doubt entered the lexicon, at least among literary circles. And given that Word Challenge rightfully names "Poet" as the highest rating, they seem remiss in not including it. Oho!
I'm less surprised and more annoyed by the failure to accept "cunt." If they hadn't accepted "shit" then I would have simply assumed that this game is being marketed to children as well as adults they simply decided to exclude the seven dirty words:
Cocksucker and motherfucker would never appear in Word Challenge because of the 6 letter limit, so I've shortened them simply to "fuck." Since Word Challenge accepted "shit," that narrows the list to five.
As George Carlin noted it's the intention and definition that makes a word dirty, and plenty of words have multiple definitions. They'd almost certainly still include "tits" as a member of the Paridae family of birds (which also includes chickadees), and cock, as a verb. Which leaves:
Since they included "shit" I'm not sure why they'd bother excluding piss, which would leave us with two words, one that we know for sure, that Word Challenge has deemed too dirty to be worthy of inclusion and points in their game.
Still that makes them at least 1/3 less in favor of censorship than Parker Brothers and Scrabble which along with "cunt" would not accept either "shit" or "piss" in their online dictionary.
None of this does anything to explain the failure to include koan, unless perhaps the makers of Playfish find enlightenment obscene.
O.J. would never bother censoring just one or two words from a word game. And further more, O.J. would make sure that the word bank included "koan."
Playfish says that the English dictionary is out of its beta, but perhaps they'll continue to add words...