Saturday, April 26, 2014

Chewing up the Jawfish

I’ve never been much of an athlete or participant in any sport. Bowling hardly counts. Maybe motorcycle racing does, but I got over that fairly quickly and only limp once in a while nowadays.

I like games, though. I’ve played a jillion rounds of pinochle, rummy and hearts. I’ve become briefly addicted to a couple of videogames, i.e., that Laura Crofts series and a car racing game. I play Words With Friends. I’m pretty good at that, but I get beat plenty.

I wasn’t a star at anything until Jawfish Words came along. It was like Boggle, except there were randomly selected challenges, such as being the first to get a full blackout or double blackout, the first to find a word, the most diagonal words, etc. Reaching higher game levels was logarithmic. It was easy to get to level 2 or 7 or 12, but became increasingly difficult with each level. Most players hovered around 20. I’d reached level 61. I never saw any player higher than 70.

It was great fun for me to enter a tournament with 15 other players and get 25% of the total points made in the game. I won about 95% of the time. I was an elite player.

So, of course, Jawfish went out of business. If I lived in a cave and held mystical beliefs I might think that I caused that. The way the company intended to make money was by charging players 8 coins every time you played. The problem, for them, was that some of us made enough coins every time we played that we never had to buy any. I had more than 22,000 when the company went bust.

I recall putting several magazine publishers out of business in the 80s. I would send them an article, which they would accept. Then they would promptly go out of business, often before the article even appeared. Goodbye Broadcast Programming and Production, National Retired Teachers Journal, and Vortex. You were apparently cursed by the pen of Just.

I know it wasn’t about me. The demise of Jawfish wasn’t about me, either, but I regret that they have gone away. It is a real rush to be one of the best in the world at something. I guess I’ll move on to a similar game that doesn’t have some of the elements I so excelled at. Watch for Word Hero to go down in flames any day now. 

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