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The beautiful game

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  • #31
    Perhaps a distinction should be made between competition and challenge. Competition demands that someone lose. Beating someone is the objective.

    Reigning supreme over everone else.

    You win, they lose.

    You're the best.

    Challenge only has the objective of reaching a goal. Seeing how fast you can run, how high you can climb, how well you can perform.

    Making someone else lose hasn't appealed to me for a long time. (Well, unless they're a real jerk.)

    If you see the game as challenge, beating some score has absolutely nothing to do with winning or losing. You're just trying to achieve a goal.

    That distinction might be elusive, but there's a huge difference in mind set.

    I first played this game looking over my wife's shoulder and casually supplying her words. That frustrated her because she couldn't concentrate and listen to me.

    So, I started playing by myself. Initially, it never occured to me to use any of the esoteric scientific and medical terms I knew. For some reason, it seemed the game was about literary words, things you might stretch to see in Look Homeward Angel.

    I view this game as mental exercise, no differnt than riding a bike or lifting weights or doing yoga. Exercise helps you live longer with a better quality of life.

    The body doesn't care if you're using a $20,000 machine or bags of sand. Exercise is exercise to the body. It's just that planned exercise based on knowledge will produce better and faster results.

    Same with the mind.

    I just got off the bike. I push the pace to the point that I feel on the verge of death. And then relax through it. Getting off the bike without giving up is exhilarating. No one else is around. No one else has won or lost. There's just the challenge of testing one's limits and succeeding. The transcendence of the challenge.

    It's not an approach I would advocate for anyone else. Most people meet all their exercise needs with a couple of long pleasant walks each week. That's all they need to extend their lives and feel better.

    Similar to playing this game. There's an entire spectrum of approach. Some people just want a relaxing challenge that produces no stress. It's all the mental exercise they want or need. They just want to have a bit of fun, enjoy themselves.

    And what's life withou enjoyment.

    For me, there was more than the simple exercise or satisfaction of playing. I was curious about efficiencies of mental production. Just how does the mind work to achieve this result? What are the efficiencies? Where are the inefficiencies? What's involved and how does it work? How do all the parts come together?

    For me, the game itself is completely irrelevant. Even meeting the challenges of the game are relatively irrelevant. It's the mental exercise and then transcendig the game.

    There are times when riding the bike at your limit brings a transcendence of pain and effort. All movement loses resistance. You're in harmony. No longer working against yourself. It becomes a ballet of movement. A nearly undescribale joy.

    Same can happen playing this game. I put on music, push my mind to its limits and reach moments of transcendence. When every part (even the uncooperative fingers) is in harmony.

    Though, mostly I just bumble and fumble. And make mistakes.

    The game itself means nothing other than an opportunity to exercise. And transcend. It has nothing to do with beating anyone or being better than them.

    The memorizing lists of meaningless words is nothing more than doing repetitive bicep curls. There's a pattern that produces a result. You learn the pattern, perform the placements and achieve an intended result. It's like 7 x 15=105, without bothering to ask fifteen what? A pure abstraction that doesn't require meaning.

    Repetitive exercise is anathema to a good number of people. Learning useless words must be just as revolting.

    One of these days I'll just move on to some other interest. I've got several portraits I need to do. It's not unlikely that I'll get back into art full time and have no more time for this.

    Though, there's stil so much I haven't figured out here.

    But whatever I do will be a study in how to understand and meet the challenges, how to arrive at productive efficiencies. How to transcend the process itself.

    And will have absolutely nothing to do with being better than anyone else.


    • #32
      Originally posted by kittencaboodle View Post
      Appreciate the discussion and in no way meant to throw aspersions on Stephen's efforts to improve the game. I have a feeling some suggestions I made long ago may have contributed to the boards being the way they are now and that makes me very happy! As for the words themselves, I studied biology and chemistry at college level many years ago and know a lot of words that laypeople don't, but I have balked at the "next level" of technicality required for these more recent developments. I appreciate what lalatan has said about these being a new challenge. I think for me I just don't enjoy "learning words to play" but like to draw on the fund of knowledge I already have. For example, with Scrabble I have also refused to learn the two-letter word list which means I will never be a competitive player! So that's definitely just me and mostly about the limitations of my competitiveness/what feels fun for me.
      I was curious after reading this conversation to see the following name (missing the final "e") scoring one of those "next level" words in this month's competition best words. A related member name? I tried to click on the name, but it went to my scoreboard. I took a look at the link (shown in the attached), and it didn't have an ID number associated with it. Is that even possible? Mystery upon mystery...



      • #33
        Scrabble lost ALL its appeal once it created an "official" dictionary. The original version suggested that the family play using the dictionary they had at home, and people could challenge any word used; the user had to define it to withstand the challenge. Alas, when that rule was changed the "official" dictionary failed to include a TON of legitimate words, didn't include words that resulted from verb tenses/possessives/etc., and didn't include variant spellings. Worse, it included various fake words that people had apparently lobbied for. The SOWPODS dictionary was small enough to allow people to memorize it (put the letters in alphabetic order and memorize those and all the words that resulted). Result: The French language version of Scrabble was won by someone who knew no French, but had memorized the French dictionary in that way. I submit the proposition that Scrabble has been ruined and the only cure is to adopt the open dictionary used by WordTwist. And, of course, that all tournament players be forced to know the definitions of all the words they use.


        • #34
          I feel like WordTwist is kind of like the metaphor with the blind people trying to describe an elephant. The game has too many possibilities to be fully explored by any one player (except maybe Lord Megaword) and so everyone approaches it from a different angle. Even the people going for the same high scores have slightly different strategies to get there. I don't agree that ESL learners are at a disadvantage in this game. When I spent some time in an English school when I was 15, even though I was not fully fluent in conversational English, my vocabulary exceeded that of most of my English peers, and my knowledge of Latin root words meant that I was better at spelling a lot of the more "complicated" words. I'm guessing that most native speakers who aren't language nerds would be a lot worse at this game than non-native speakers who are.


          • #35
            It's been heartening to see the passion that people have for the game... Hopefully that is the sign of a strong user base that will stick around for a long time :-) Given the speed at which some websites come and go these days, it seems kind of miraculous that WordTwist has been around as long as it has... at least 13 years since I started!

            During that time my approach and strategy and goals have evolved from time to time, and one thing I love about the game is that there are so many ways to play, depending on your personality, competitiveness, skill, and dedication. At the beginning of this year, I decided to forego the pursuit of trophies and spend more time just enjoying playing. I'm still a long-word player, so I get some good stats, but the month-end competition is now something I observe rather than try to actively participate in. I'll probably return to trophy-hunting in the future, but for now I'm enjoying a more casual approach :-D


            • #36
              Originally posted by BoggleOtaku View Post

              I was curious after reading this conversation to see the following name (missing the final "e") scoring one of those "next level" words in this month's competition best words. A related member name? I tried to click on the name, but it went to my scoreboard. I took a look at the link (shown in the attached), and it didn't have an ID number associated with it. Is that even possible? Mystery upon mystery...

              BoggleOtaku that was definitely me! I decided to take on this game because I saw the winning word was 25 letters long! I've seen these huge words for huge number with various components and when I saw all those q's I figured it out. I'm not sure of your motives with your post (are you trying to "call me out" in some way?) but that's what happened.


              • #37
                Cool! No motive, I was just curious! I'm definitely attracted to those 25 letter winning words too! My main point of curiousity was about why that member name (and a few others I ran across since then) don't go to a score card when you click on them. It's just general curiousity, because I hadn't run across that before. I just assumed that in order to get on lists of achievements, one had to register a user name and was given an ID# and scorecard page at that point. So I was really surprised when I clicked on that name and it went to my scorecard instead!


                • #38
                  Ok cool. Must have been some glitch. I just went to the current month longest words page and was able to click on my name and see all my (not so impressive) "honorable mentions" over the years. Seems the final e is missing just because my name doesn't quite fit. It'll be nice to move up the rankings this month!


                  • #39
                    I have a hypothesis now, thanks to your reply-- looking down the best words monthly competition, the names whose links lack an ID# are kittencaboodl, the cryptogra, Surplusage Es, flamingoroadi, shagdfjknlmsf, ... These are also the longest names on the lists and all look suspiciously like they are cut off short. If I click on any of these names, it goes to my scorecard instead of theirs. (Try it with on of the other names.) You confirmed above that your name was cut short just on this list (you or someone else didn't actually make a membership name without the final e, as I originally thought), so I'm imagining a similar case for all of these names. So, maybe if the name gets cut short, the underlying program can't find the ID associated with the name and so the link to the score card gets broken.


                    • #40
                      It's fascinating how you distinguish between competition and challenge. I resonate with your perspective of striving for personal goals rather than focusing on outdoing others. Your analogy of mental exercise being akin to physical workouts makes sense – it's about pushing boundaries and achieving a sense of accomplishment. I'm reminded of my love for trying new games; they offer a similar rush of testing limits and reaching new heights. Have you considered exploring online games that pay real money? They offer a unique blend of challenge and reward. Personally, I've found them to be an engaging way to exercise my mind while also enjoying the process.
                      Last edited by AdeBeaudu; 08-09-2023, 08:53 PM.