People are up in arms about the Scrabble rule change announced recently wherein the use of proper nouns (“names, places, companies and brands”- CBS) is now within regulation. Purists across the globe have descended into the dark waters of a conniption fit en masse, ever since the BBC made this shocking discovery.
Yesterday morning on The View, Whoopi Goldberg broke up discussion regarding Dancing With the Stars in order to launch a rant against the new developments, exclaiming, “Shame on y’all Mattel!”
“That’s right! It’s just like the Scrabble you grew up with, minus what made it Scrabble!”
Stephen Colbert dedicated a segment to the descent of a highbrow classic into popular muck, declaring that the new version “will open up the game to a new generation of quasi-literate US Weekly readers.” He forecasted the rise of celebrity couple names such as– of course– “Brangelina,” along with “Filliam H. Muffman” and “Steyoncé” (Colbert has a crush). These wordplays would naturally garner a double score bonus.
Colbert went on to congratulation Mattel on their ballsy choice “to abandon the outdated notion that rules are what make a game a game.” The international word game élite no doubt simultaneously raised a glass to commiserate over the fall of an old friend.
Meanwhile, Slate Magazine’s Stefan Fatsis urged the public to stop hyperventilating in an exposé debunking this sign of the apocalypse.
It turns out that while Hasbro owns the rights to Scrabble in North America, Mattel– let’s go ahead and call them arch-rivals– owns the rights outside of North American (remember that the story broke in Great Britain). Mattel is releasing a new novelty version of the beloved game this summer called Scrabble Trickster, which “will include cards that allow players to spell words backward, use proper nouns, and steal letters from opponents.” It will not in any way A) effect the North American Hasbro original or B) eliminate the classic version distributed by Mattel outside of North America. It’s just a new, silly, novelty game devised by marketeers to sell some games– after all, who doesn’t already own a Scrabble set? I think I have at least two, my parents probably have a closet full, so here I am in my mid-twenties set with Scrabble boards for life without having ever actually purchased one myself.
Plus if my roommate actually goes ahead and buys an iPad… Well, I’m sure you already know about the magical Scrabble app that allows one to use an iPhone as a letter holder from which a player can flick their word onto the board/iPad. Too bad I do not own an iPhone.
So how did this debacle happen? As far as I can tell, British Mattel spokespersons took advantage of a striking storyline and through negligence allowed the tale of Scrabbletastrophe to spread like wildfire because– hey guess what– now we’re all talking about it! This basically means that what Whoopi said still holds true: “Shame on y’all Mattel” for misleading board-gamers across the gamersphere. Someone could have died.
Whew. Crisis averted.