By G. Michael Dobbs
Can games be addictive? Well, anyone who has spent hours in front of a video screen -- whether a television or a computer -- can certainly say, "yes" to that question.
But can a game that doesn't involve the continual use of your thumbs, the adoption of some alternative identity and eyestrain be just as addictive?
The answer is "yes" -- again.
Two new games from Hasbro show that obsession isn't a trait dominated by video games.
Once I showed my wife the new Scrabble Flash game, she didn't want to stop playing. The game had the same effect on members of the news staff and graphic arts department here at Reminder Publications.
Designed to be a word game that can travel, Scrabble Flash consists of five small plastic squares. Line them up and turn them on and these five squares are now electronically linked to one another.
The game offers three levels. In the "Flash" game, players must to try to make as many three to five letter words as possible using the letters randomly generated by the playing tiles. You have 75 second to make as many words as possible and the tiles keep track of how you're doing. They confirm a word and at the end of the time the tiles note how well you did by displaying the number of words you made against the possible number of words.
The other variations of the game allow multiple people to play or to find just five letter words among the offered letters.
This is a perfect game to take along on trips. The tiles fit into a compact carrying case.
Fast moving and fun, Scrabble Flash has a suggested price of $29.99.
I suspect the game designers behind Cuponk played some beer pong during college, as this game resembles the venerable drinking game.
With this version, no booze is necessary or recommended, as you will need all of your wits and stability to succeed at Cuponk.
With Cuponk, players must attempt to throw a ping-pong ball as directed by one of the randomly selected playing cards into the plastic Cuponk cup. If successful, the cup makes a noise appropriate to its theme.
There are three themes to the game: "Gorillanator" with great apes; "El Campeon" featuring Mexican wrestlers; and "Let it R.I.P." with a zombie motif.
The folks at Hasbro set me the zombie Cuponk, but truth be told I would have been happy with any of the themes.
The cards certainly set up some challenges shots. Some are off of chairs, pot and pans and walls.
Cuponk is a game of practice and it's not as easy as it looks. I found it a lot of fun and also a great stress reliever at the office. It's also a game that every member of the family can play.
Hasbro has some video of skilled players at www.cuponk.com that offer some inspiration.
Cuponk is also at a very affordable price of $14.99.
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