Bananagrams (online game)

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Bananagrams
Developer(s) Large Animal Games
Publisher(s) Majesco Entertainment
Distributor(s) Various
Engine Large Animal Toga Framework
Platform(s) Flash
Release date(s) Facebook: November 17, 2008
Bebo: December 4, 2008
Myspace: 2008
Genre(s) Puzzle
Mode(s) Single player / Multiplayer
Distribution Download

Bananagrams, an online social game developed by Large Animal Games in partnership with Majesco Entertainment, made its network debut on Facebook on November 17, 2008.[1][2] Success of the Bananagrams tile game developed by the Nathanson family [3] prompted Bananagrams International to extend the brand online.[4] Bananagrams was later released on Bebo and MySpace.

Bananagrams was featured as a top ten addicting game on Facebook by industry insiders on May 6, 2009.[5] On February 18, 2009, Bananagrams received an honorable mention by Bebo as a top five out of over 20,000 applications on the social network in its B.E.S.T developer competition.[6]

In mid-2012, the Facebook version of the game was taken down for "improvements". As of May 2013 it has not returned.

Gameplay[edit]

The play goals and game experience of the Internet version resemble the board game version. Players are issued tiles which are then used to create interlocking words. If a player has difficulty placing a tile, that player may dump the tile into the bunch and take three more. Depending on game mode, a player may also peel or take one letter at a time once all of their displayed tiles have been used. Upon complete use of a player’s allotted tiles, they declare Bananas. If all words are legal, the player wins; if not, the player is given Rotten Bananas and is out of the game.

Single player gameplay. Leaderboard is below the main screen.

For example, proper nouns and foreign words are not considered legal words.[7] Players with non-legal words in solo games will receive a time penalty.

The play modes include Solitaire (both long and shorts games), Banana Café, Live Games, and Challenges.

Charms[edit]

The internet version includes the use of Charms, non-traditional playing aids. While they deviate from the traditional rule set, charms add variation to the online version. To facilitate traditional rules players can disable charms when making multiplayer games.

Charms include:

  • Word Check - ensure all words are legal prior to declaring Bananas
  • Smart Dump and Smart Peel - place Dumped and Peeled tiles automatically to form a word, if the opportunity exists
  • Mini Dump - only one tile is dumped, as opposed to three.

Facebook[edit]

In mid-2012, Bananagrams was taken down from Facebook so "improvements could be made to the online version". As of May 2013 the online version has not been restored, despite initial assurances that it would be up and running again soon.

In the words of a company spokesperson, "Bananagrams was one of the first online word games available, and our aim is to offer the best possible playing experience. This was becoming increasingly challenging with the system we had in place. The tech guys advised us to refresh the online game 'from the ground up'. We'll be back as soon as possible with a fresh look to the game you love, and we'll post updates on Facebook.com/Bananagrams and at bananagrams.com"


On June 5th, 2013, this message appeared on Bananagrams' Facebook Page:

"To our Bananagrams digital game fans: it's with a heavy heart that we report that ultimately the online game will not be returning. We had all good intentions of re-launching it, but as many of you will appreciate, we’re a big brand but remain a small, family-owned company (under 20 people to be exact), and despite our best efforts, we haven’t been able to create the perfect new online game nor do we have the resources right now to revive the old one while we continue to focus on our core expertise of making long-lasting table top games. We know it’s a big disappointment, especially for those of you that like to play Bananas with friends across long distances, and we apologize profusely. We hope you’ll continue to visit us here, play our games with your friends and family and remain part of the Bananagrams community. Thank you for your understanding - The Bunch"

Technology[edit]

All instances of Bananagrams online are the same and operate independently of platform using Large Animal Games' TOGA framework. This allows players to compete across social networks. The high score board shows a social network indicator as a small icon to differentiate various networks. Users can add friends across networks as well.

Due to network API variation, interactive features differ across networks. For instance, the invitation mechanism on MySpace allows direct inviting from the game page, while Facebook requires a separate dialog window.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Alexander, Leigh. "Majesco Hits Facebook With Bananagrams". Kotaku. Archived from the original on 5 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-06. 
  2. ^ "Majesco Entertainment Announces 'Bananagrams' Game for Facebook". Thomson Reuters. 2008-07-24. Archived from the original on 9 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-06. 
  3. ^ Various. "Bananagrams". Board Game Geek. Retrieved 2009-05-06. 
  4. ^ "Bananagrams!!" (video). CNN. Archived from the original on 5 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-06. 
  5. ^ Betancourt, Leah. "10 Highly Addictive Facebook Applications". Allfacebook. Archived from the original on 9 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-06. 
  6. ^ "Top Five New Engaging Applications". Bebo. Retrieved 2009-05-06. 
  7. ^ "Bananagrams Rules". Bananagrams International. Archived from the original on 17 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-06. 

External links[edit]