By Megan Ward
Seven glowing letters light up on Rhett Gentile’s ’13 iPod Touch: R, L, E, P, E, T, Q. He contemplates the best configuration of these letters to get the highest score. He spots a possible double word score attached to another E and lays out his tiles. REPLETE. He scores 26 points to increase his lead. This is one of the lowest word scores he’s had all game, but he still he manages to crush his opponent by 86 points.
“Words With Friends” is a Scrabble imitation game that is playable by anyone with a smartphone or Facebook account. The player can challenge an opponent at random or can play a friend who also has the game.
“I started playing last year when I saw some of my friends play,” Gentile said. “They called me over and I had my first game and continued playing with them for a while. But eventually they all stopped playing with me because I kept beating them.”
Many people enjoy the game not only because they think it is a fun game which requires strategy, but also because it connects them with their friends who have graduated or live in other states.
“I play to have fun with friends,” Alex Rand-Lewis ’12, another frequent gamer, said. “It’s a nice way to have a funny rivalry that never gets too intense. It also keeps me in touch and in contact with my friends that go to college.”
More and more users are joining in, and games like “Words With Friends” are becoming increasingly popular. Over 2.5 million people have “liked” the application page on Facebook and the app reports over 10.2 million monthly users.
“During junior year, it took some stress off my year,” Rand-Lewis said. “It’s enjoyable. It’s a fun way to incorporate a game I played as a kid into the new age of technology.”