Tivo wordsmith game
Tivo has this addictive word game titled “Wordsmith”. You assemble words from columns of random letter tiles drawn from a pool. Letters are selected from the head of the column exposing the letters beneath to play. Words must be three or more letters long and present in what seems to be a modified scrabble dictionary. The game continues until there are no letters, less than three letters or no move that would result in a valid word. You score points by letter value and a multiplier for length of word. Letter frequencies appear to be similar to Scrabble but blanks tiles are replaced with (I guess) additional vowels.
Maria broke 980 points immediately, broke 1000 soon after and held the top three scores. She fed me trash talk for several days until I broke 1025. Twelve years together and I had never seen that side of her personality. Tsk, tsk, tsk, there are few things worse than a bad winner. :)
“BEZIQUES”, as I recently scored, is worth 224 points.
Aside from scoring the above word, it wasn't enough to beat my high score of 1059. I've read that someone scored 1078. I think 1100 is possible with a lucky draw of letters.
I was annoyed by the occasional delays the game experiences and, being curious, I ran a packet capture at my firewall to see what it was doing. Surprisingly, not much. Everything interesting must happen on the server side. Somewhere on an IP assigned to UUNet is the server and all that goes over the wire are the images (made with Adobe Photoshop) and the user's commands. I'm guessing that game state and scores are tied to the Tivo unit's media code. It might be entertaining to reverse engineer the protocol and write a client to play it without the Tivo.