It appears that the serene and relaxing world of online Scrabble playing may be about to turn ugly.
The Yorkshire Post are reporting that recent changes made to the Facebook version of the game by makers Mattel have caused great unrest amongst players. The company promised a “new improved” app, but have instead gained a lot of complaints. The “new improved” version removed and cleared not only the playing history of users, but also deleted all contact lists.
John Lewis, a dedicated player for years, expressed his opinion on the move.
“Scrabble is a game that is much loved by millions of people throughout the world, it stands up there alongside chess and backgammon. Mattel had said they were going to be changing the online game, but no one envisioned what happened next.”
“I know it sounds trivial, but it’s not. There was a huge social side to the game. Over the years people had made friendships all across the world, but without warning those contacts disappeared. In other cases it was a really lovely way for relatives who live thousands of miles apart to keep in touch. The changes mean you can’t choose who you play, you just get presented with a random partner. It has destroyed the social side of the game which was incredibly important for a lot of people. It also means that now you can get a complete novice being pitted against someone who considers themselves a serious player, which is incredibly frustrating on both sides.”
Mr Lewis has set up an online petition calling for Mattel to reinstate the old format, a petition that currently has over 4800 signatures, which has as-of-yet not caused a u-turn by Mattel, though the company has released a statement acknowledging that some are unhappy with the changes, and thanking players for their loyalty.
Helen Jones, a player from Southport who is also helping with the crusade against Mattel, has issued a warning to the company;
“I’ve met some really interesting people. Of course they do not substitute friends, but we had a community.
“They are waking a sleeping lion by doing this. Our protest is growing in momentum.”