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Sunday, October 9, 2005

Google Snake Game

Here’s an idea for a party game which needs nothing but a working internet connection (say, a notebook or cell phone), and’s web search. The idea is to create a word snail – an ever-growing sentence – by having each person in the group add one word in turns. Say, the first person starts with “Feelings”. Now the second person adds a word, “are”, so we get “Feelings are ...”.

Now every time a word is added, the phrase (using quotes) is googled for, and the resulting page count is announced to the group. The one person who created a sentence with zero results in Google loses and has to drink something (or get a minus point, if you want to play with points; in that case, the last person who created a sentence with results in Google will win a point). To prevent cheating, the one whose turn is next is not allowed to look at any search result snippet.


Let’s take our sample, and see what we get:

Peter: “Feelings ...” (53,200,000 results in Google)
Mary: “Feelings are ...” (2,100,000 results)
Jake: “Feelings are nothing ...” (1,090 results)
Susan: “Feelings are nothing and ...” (19 results)
Peter: “Feelings are nothing and we ...” (0 results)

Susan gets 1 point, and Peter gets minus 1 points (or has to empty a glass).


The game could be fun to play because a) of the funny sentence that comes out of it, and b) because everybody has incentive to risk creating a “meaningless” sentence hoping there will be some results on the web, in order to force the next one to create an even more meaningless sentence without results (e.g. an advanced player may risk more obscure phrases if the previous page count was in the millions).

While I didn’t try the game so far, let me know if you do!


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