Why Words With Friends Is Embracing ‘FOMO’ and ‘BFF’

Sunday, 12 November 2017, 12:15:08 AM. The popular mobile game is adding certain abbreviations to its lexicon—breaking with a rule long held sacred by its forebear, Scrabble.
This week, the game developer Zynga is rolling out a refreshed version of Words With Friends, billed as the world’s most popular mobile word game. The new-and-improved Words With Friends 2 boasts various bells and whistles, like the “Solo Challenge” where you square off against bots, and “Lightning Rounds” that pit teams against each other. But a more profound change is going on invisibly: a huge expansion in the number of playable words. To celebrate the eighth anniversary of the game, Zynga announced in September that it was adding 50,000 new words to what it calls the “Social Dictionary,” incorporating frequently requested items, as well as words inspired by pop culture and online communication. That includes not only contemporary slang like bae, yas, werk, turnt, and bestie, but also, more surprisingly, a handful of abbreviations like BFF (best friends forever), FOMO (fear of missing out), and TFW (that feeling when...). While trendy initialisms might make for good marketing material, purists raised on Scrabble might balk at the additions. Doesn’t including these abbreviations go against the spirit of games like Words With Friends that have Scrabble burned into their DNA? (And no, Zynga isn’t making DNA playable, at least not yet.) As the granddaddy of word-tile board games, Scrabble has long made clear what does and doesn’t count as a playable word. As Stefan Fatsis, the author of the book Word Freak about the competitive Scrabble world, has noted, when the game was...Read more
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