This week we’re obsessed with…Draw Something

Sammy Caiola

I’ve never been an app person.

For the first 18 years of my life, I carried a brick-shaped cell phone that looked like it’d been stolen from Keanu Reeves during the filming of the first Matrix. I didn’t give a damn as long as it made phone calls and didn’t cost too much.

When I finally moved on to a big-girl phone, I chose the Android for its practicality but paid little attention to anything beyond the call and text functions. I ignored the exuberant Angry Birds fans and even batted away the Words With Friends converts, promising myself I would not let technology eat my soul. But now, in my second year of Droidhood, I’ve moved from steadfast neo-luddite to obsessive phone junkie, all thanks to a catchy little game called Draw Something.

It seems everyone in America is obsessed with this trendy new app that’s been downloaded more than 50 million times in its first 50 days of existence. And I don’t blame them; it’s a ton of fun. If you’ve ever liked Pictionary, finger painting, Cranium Cadoo, procrastinating or stick figures, this is the game for you. The premise is simple: you choose one opponent from your Facebook or contact list and one word. Using a basic color palette and your thumb or forefinger, you paint a picture that best depicts that word. If your partner guesses the word correctly, you both earn points. Your partner then does the same for you with a different word.

The varying pencil thicknesses and small canvas make drawing the word easy enough to be enjoyable but frustrating enough to leave you satisfied when you’re done. Words vary from common objects like “bowl” to people like Oprah to real challenges like “alone.” Since the game launched, more than 6 billion pieces of amateur art have been created, according to Zynga, the social gaming company that bought Draw Something’s creator OMGPOP. The game can take as long as you want depending on how much time you put into your drawing and how long you spend guessing opponents’ drawings.

The best thing about the game is that it’s stop-and-go. There’s no time limit per match, so you won’t be glued to your cell phone screen for huge periods of time (unless, of course, you’re that kind of person). I open up Draw Something at convenient and unobtrusive times, like when I’m waiting in line at CVS or riding the El. It’s nice to know that it’s there, but I don’t feel a nagging or immediate urge to play it, unlike Angry Birds, for which you’re constantly tempted to try to beat the next level. Another perk is it requires very little brainpower to play, unlike more academic games like Sporcle or Words With Friends.

I just started playing this game, and I’m no Picasso, but I have learned context is crucial. A perfectly drawn fireball or submarine could be totally unguessable to an outside party if not drawn in its natural environment. Just the other night, a friend and I got into a tiff because he thought his depiction of Justin Bieber’s hair was masterful enough to warrant my immediate recognition. But I swear that stick figure could have been ANYONE. Now, if he had written “Baby, baby, baby, ooooh” in a speech bubble, that’d be a different story.

So even if you hate technology, you’ve never downloaded an app in your life or you think cell phone games will be the demise of your GPA, I still encourage you to get this game. It’s fun, it’s social and it won’t eat your soul. I promise.

Samantha Caiola