Victor the trash-talking robot hates losing at Scrabble

Scrabble can bring out a healthy sense of competition among humans, but what about robots? The robotics department at Carnegie Mellon University created a robot named Victor who can play Scrabble, just not very well. But that doesn't stop him from blaming his opponents for his double-word-score shortcomings.

Victor has a head with an animated face complete with glasses, blond hair, and even a collegiate soul patch, but his fiberglass body lacks arms. He can move, look at the board, and talk to people. He sits at a table at the lounge in CMU's Gates computer science building waiting for a human to challenge him to a match. Just don't expect any friendly banter. … Read more

Scrabble to get new official word: Twerk? Derp? Photobomb?

Sneaking in a made-up Scrabble word and getting away with it is almost as much fun as playing a legitimate one that uses three Zeds -- Zyzzyva, anyone? Word nerds who attempt to sneak illegal words like "huzzah" and "bazinga" past their friends may be happy to know that they can now nominate a new word into Hasbro's official Scrabble Players Dictionary, which hasn't been updated in more than nine years.

Fans have the chance to chime in on the Hasbro Game Night Facebook Page comments section to suggest their favorite new word to be added, now through March 28. … Read more

Scrabble for Mac 1.0 Review

Locating fun games can be a challenge for those who are not hardcore gamers. Scrabble for Mac gives users the ability to play the classic game on their computer, but the lack of an online multi-player option is a drawback.

Scrabble for Mac comes as a free trial version with a 60-minute usage restriction. Unlocking the full program requires a payment of $9.99. The program's installation required a separate download and setup of a proprietary game store. Once that was activated, the trial version of the game downloaded quickly. After a brief title and credit sequence, the game … Read more

Behold the $30,000 high-tech Scrabble board

Prepare to witness one of the most expensive board games ever made.

When the Prague Mind Sports Festival kicks off December 1, gamers can play on a high-tech Scrabble setup unlike any other. The festival -- which hosts tournaments for the popular word game plus bridge, backgammon, poker, League of Legends, and Counter Strike: Global Offensive -- introduced to the world this week a carbon fiber Scrabble system with LED lighting that cost more than 20,000 pounds ($31,732) to create. … Read more

Word games you may not know about for smartphones

Most games on my iPhone keep my interest for awhile, but then they enter a state of sitting on my home screen until I remember to revisit them. If they sit long enough, I'll delete them knowing I can always redownload if the urge strikes me. But there is one category of games I never stop playing.

When I get a moment, I'm always catching up with word games on my iPhone. I constantly have a Scrabble (iOS|Android) game going along with both Scramble with Friends (iOS|Android) and Words with Friends (iOS|Android). When I have … Read more

The 404 1,141: Where we feed the dogs (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Zynga and Hasbro announce board game versions of the most annoying Facebook ones.

- and Simon Cowell considering X-Factor style show, for tech.

- New Ninja Turtles cartoon replaces Cowabunga with....

Bathroom break video: Longboarder attacked by a deer.… Read more

Speak Scrabblish and 'thwack your amis' at Scrabble (Q&A)

If you're one of the millions of people who play Scrabble regularly, you surely know that you can't use proper nouns in the hit game. So how is it that words like "Alaska," "Berlin," "Bolivia," and even "Jane" are legal moves?

Anyone who has spent any time reading the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary (OSPD) knows that each of those words has an alternate meaning that satisfies the game's rules. And it was just that kind of information that author David Bukszpan was after when he began working on "… Read more

Scramble with Friends a worthy hit in the iTunes App Store

Scramble With Friends (99 cents), a new game from Zynga, has rocketed to the top of the iTunes App Store with classic Boggle-like gameplay so you can challenge your friends.

Gaming company Zynga has enjoyed huge success with hit iOS games including Words with Friends, Hanging with Friends, and Texas hold-'em game Zynga Poker. A new word game from the company took the tried and true classic board game, Boggle, and made it into an iPhone-friendly multiplayer game that's as addictive and fun as the original.

Like Boggle, the object of the game is to find as many … Read more

The 404 961: Where we've got a Twitch in our eye (podcast)

There's plenty of live video broadcasting platforms to choose on the Web these days, but today we're chatting with one of the pioneers.

Justin Kan is one of the co-founders of Justin.TV, and he drops by our studio today for a full episode about the origins of life streaming and how the site paved the road to Justin's new project for live video gaming, TwitchTV.

We'll also talk to Justin about his participation in Y Combinator, a start-up incubator that helps green entrepreneurs through the first three months of genesis.

The boot camp gives founders the seed funding they need for general living expenses, allowing them to focus on the business idea. YC also guides them through the media pitching process and how to grab the attention of venture capitalists and seed investors.

Some of the headline-grabbing companies to grow from Y Combinator include Scribd, Loopt, Grubwithus, and Justin.TV itself.

Tune in to hear about how TwitchTV is bringing competitive gaming to a much larger audience, not to mention a few tips on what it takes to earn a spot in the next Y Combinator batch!… Read more

Scrabble is better when it's bigger

Scrabble for iPad is a faithful adaptation of that classic board game much beloved by logophiles, with tons of cool extras and several easy options for multiplayer games.

What Scrabble for iPad does best is simulate the look, feel, and even sound of the original game, with sharp HD graphics, gratifying sound effects (letter tiles pop into place with a subtle click), and an interface that will put Scrabble-lovers right at home, including a virtual tile rack that lets you rearrange letters. (And in party play mode, individual players can even use their iPhones and iPod Touches with the free … Read more