This recent weekend we hung up “the big screen” for family movie night using the Chromecast (thanks to this device). Our projector and sheet-hanging-from-the-wall setup isn’t perfect, but The Droid Tots don’t mind, and we get a 100-inch picture. The kiddos loved it all.
We had a little extra time before bed on Sunday evening, so instead of watching another Action Movie Kid video, I decided to introduce them to the Chromecast version of Pictionary. Oh, and in case you haven’t seen Action Movie Kid, here’s The Tots’ favorite:
It’s like Pictionary, except different
You remember that wacky picture drawing game, Pictionary. As I recall, sometime around Christmas of 1985, every home in America (and perhaps the world; I might be exaggerating just a little) received a copy of the game. If your family was like my family, you played for hours. The game even spawned a couple of television shows. Eventually, Americans
got sick of trying to guess everyone’s dumb picture ran out of the supplied drawing pads, so the Pictionary fad ended.
Well, now nearly 30 years later, you can infuse new life into the game thanks to Chromecast technology and a couple of enterprising developers. Doodlecast for Chromecast (free) branches out on the basic concept, but adds a technological element to the mix.
All players click the “Okay, let’s go!” button to get started playing.
You’ll need at least two devices running on the same wireless network to play. We used three devices and divided into teams, with Mrs. The Droid Lawyer and myself helping our two youngest, non-readers.
Playing the game
The drawer gets to pick from three different words.
Sometimes, just like the original game, the words are extremely difficult. Once the player selects the word, the drawing screen appears.
There’s nothing too fancy, except you should know that the brush changes the pen size and you can use white to “erase” part of your drawing.
I should also caution you against pressing the “skip” button.
Instead of skipping the word and moving to another, the button actually fast forwards on to the next player. End of turn.
The other players see the word entry box and a number of possible letters while the drawing happens on the television screen.
You can use letters twice, so just because you only see one O, doesn’t mean the word can’t be moon.
Play continues until someone guesses the word. At which point you’ll see a congratulations screen.
Play then moves to the next person in line on the screen — ours seemed to go in a clockwise direction.
The good, bad, and ugly
Depending on the attention span of the crowd, Doodlecast for Chromecast can become a big time waster of fun. With our kids — two under 7 — we managed to get in about 30 minutes of drawing and guessing before their attention faded. However, our eldest wanted to keep playing. Considering the low-cost, I consider this a value.
I wish the app included some sort of timer — we set our own — to stop play after a set number of minutes. We had several instances where the drawing continued, much to the chagrin of the parents, despite Droid Tot #1’s best drawing attempts. Of course, the drawer could just say the answer, but where’s the fun of that?
Doodlecast for Chromecast also doesn’t have any scoring system. Thus, even though I may guess the correct answer, I don’t get any credit other than a “Congratulations” banner. I want points!
Similarly, Doodlecast doesn’t allow you to change your screen name.
If I want to lead team, “Buttheads,” to victory, I should have that option. Since we were using two devices registered to me, my name appeared as both guesser and drawer. That’s fine, but Droid Tot 2 really wanted “Team Buttheads” — yes, we’re 6 years old — and I couldn’t make that happen.
Finally, I wish the words also had categories. Even though you’re given letters to unscramble and slots to fill, I’d sure like to know that the five letter word I’m guessing was an animal.
So, what’s the final word?
Overall, I’m giving Doodlecast for Chromecast 4 of 5 stars. I think you’ll thoroughly enjoy playing this game with your family, especially if you have a very large screen. Be aware though, if you have sub-par drawing skills on an 8.5 x 11 inch paper, just think of how awful the picture is 100 times as big.