In a world full of online gaming and distractions, the ancient past time of actually sitting down and playing a board game seems like a lost art. For some people, though, board games are still important. And, in my life, that board game is Scrabble®. As a lover of words and an intense competitor, I find that Scrabble® is one of the few games, besides Scattergories and Trivial Pursuit, that challenges my intellect and brings me out of my comfort zone. Plus, I almost always win.
So, you can imagine my surprise when Hasbro and Mattel® announced last week that they were changing the 62-year-old rules and would allow the use of proper nouns during game play. Needless to say, I was shocked – no, I was insulted – when I heard the news. There’s a reason they weren’t allowed in the first place – this game was created to test its players. This isn’t Hungry, Hungry Hippos. This is Scrabble® .
Just the thought of engaging in a game of Scrabble® where words like “Kanye,” “Bublé” and “Snookie” are completely acceptable scares me half to death. I know that language is constantly fluctuating and changing over time, but there is no argument from Mattel® that can make this right.
To add insult to injury, NPR reported that Mattel® started this publicity blitz about the new rules to drum up promotion for the summer release of Scrabble® Trickster – a ridiculous new spin-off that lets you spell words backwards. Can you say “B-M-UD”? Really, Hasbro and Mattel®? Scrabble® Trickster isn’t going to be sold in the U.S., so what’s the point of all this media buzz here when we won’t even be able to play the game?
Let’s face it. You shouldn’t fix something that isn’t broken and Scrabble® ‘s rules are far from needing repairs. Scrabble® is one of the most well designed games on the market, with a perfect measure of skill, chance and, sometimes, even a little luck. Why would anyone – even corporate goons – want to risk changing that? I refuse to live in a world where “Gaga” is considered a word. And Mattel®, you can’t make me.