Vocabulary app proves educational, entertaining

Now that the Christmas season has subsided, all of the gift receivers of iPads, iPhones and the iPod Touch will be loading up their screens with apps. The selling and buying of apps soared on Christmas day and what better one to invest in than WWF, or to spell it out for you, Words With Friends? You can get away with downloading the free version, that is if you don’t mind the constant advertisements that accompany it.

I am a word fanatic. Any new word to buildup my vocabulary repertoire is tantalizing –- yes, a scholar (nerd) in her element. Instead of having to wait for the New York Times crossword puzzle to debut on Sundays, I just wait for the next ping from WWF, not the World Wildlife Fund, but of course, Words With Friends.

Unlike Angry Birds, there is a point to this app, which is being constantly downloaded and gaining popular interest. It’s the ultimate version of Scrabble, digitized on my iPod Touch or for those who have another version of Apple product or smart phone.

No more carrying around a pen and newspaper, let alone 100 letter tiles. This game has become so addictive, which I can attest to as a WWF player. Although unlike some of its counter apps, there is a lot to be learned from the game itself. You formulate words out of seven random letters assigned to you, sans time limit or any type of board game cleanup.

As for the educational value of the game, it can be as prosperous as you see fit. For me, when words are played that I haven’t heard of, I look them up in the dictionary. For others it’s solely about beating their opponent by inputting letters into a word generator for the highest scoring word and toppling the scoreboard.

Better than a spelling bee, it is an academic way to have fun and beat your friends or random opponents, what could be better?

Unless you’re Alec Baldwin, getting potentially kicked off a plane for not turning off your cell phone while in the middle of a game, it could be better or worse, depending on how you look at it. Either you are a hardcore gamer or inconsiderate of everyone else around you on the airplane. I would err on the side of inconsiderate and neglect of airplane policies. In the end it is only a game, one that can certainly wait until the plane has landed.

Whether you seek the thrill of a competition or find yourself engaging at a scholarly level that supersedes those elementary three-letter words like CAT, HAT or RAT –- play HAT, it’s the highest scoring word -– it is an enticing form of entertainment.

I find myself a smart linguist, and I’ll use that to my advantage against my opponents when the competition of language games presents itself. If you’re up on the lingo and tactics, look for me to hook on and score for a triple word tile.