Another chance with an old friend

May 27, 2016 – I love sharing good news!

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In January, I helped spread the word about a new game that would be available soon from jamandcandy.com, the new game team behind the old game site, Boxerjam.

Kissin Kuzzins’ is reminiscent of a particular word matching game that many fans missed terribly when it disappeared. The game rolled out in mid-May for mobile phones and tablets, and is available through iTunes, Google Play and Amazon. I’ve downloaded it to my iPhone and play every chance I get.

Ready for more good news? The jamandcandy team plans to roll out Kissin Kuzzins’ on Facebook in the near future, for those who’d rather play on a laptop or desktop.

As the tagline claims, “Playing Kissin Kuzzins’ is like catching up with an old friend.” Download it onto your mobile or tablet and strike up a match today!

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A new take on an old favorite


logoJanuary 29, 2016
 – Were you a fan of the online games that once appeared on Boxerjam.com?

If the answer is yes, have I got news for you!

There’s a new game coming soon to jamandcandy.com that’s bound to put a smile on your face. It’s reminiscent of an old, comfortable favorite, and I like to think that the readers of this blog and and their comments had something to do with bringing it back. Here’s the scoop:

Two years ago, I stumbled upon the news that my favorite online game site, Boxerjam, had shut down after an issue with its servers. I grumbled about it on this blog not once but twice and a lot of Boxerjam fans reached out to commiserate with me through their comments.

One comment came from Candisse Reynolds, a member of the team instrumental for bringing Boxerjam to life:

“The creators of the games on Boxerjam have started anew and are developing mobile application games for phones and tablets,” she wrote.

move your vowelsWe began emailing and Candisse explained that the site, www.jamandcandy.com, is a partnership between Julann Griffin, Maureen Roberts, and herself. The three partners also made up the J-A-M in Boxerjam. Their new venture is cleverly named in a similar fashion, keeping the Jam (the first initials of Julann and Maureen), and adding Candy (a shorted version of Candisse).

When I first checked out the site, the only game available – and I don’t remember its name – didn’t hold my interest. Yet something told me that with the variety of games once available on Boxerjam, this talented team could offer more than blowing up a balloon without trying to pop it. I just had to be patient while they got the new project off the ground.

Shortly after, they introduced the game, Move Your Vowels. It looked like it had potential, but playing a game on a mobile phone isn’t my thing and I don’t have a tablet. I’d rather play on a website or through Facebook, but it wasn’t available that way. Before I logged off though, I noticed a message promising new games would be coming soon. This team had struck gold before with Boxerjam, so I wanted to believe they could do it again, and I wanted to believe they could recreate my favorite.

ComprehendeUFast forward a year and a half, and Candisse contacted me again (earlier this week) to ask if I would try a new game called Kissin Kuzzins. She sent me a test link that allowed me to play the game through Facebook, which is a huge improvement over playing on my mobile phone. She offered no further explanation, but when I clicked on the link, I quickly realized that Kissin Kuzzins was a word association game with three different and challenging rounds. Sound familiar yet? I became hooked immediately and played the game with the biggest grin on my face. Dare I say it brought back fond memories of another word association game that shall remain nameless?

“We have gone to great effort to give everyone what they’ve been crying for,” Candisse said when I wrote her back to tell her I loved it. It’s obvious she pikadid take all of the comments left on this blog seriously. “We’re hoping this revival will help with our revival (of www.jamandcandy.com).”

Candisse also let me in on a little secret. The precursor to Kissin Kuzzins, the original game that shall not be mentioned here, but come on, you know it and love it, was originally intended for television. Her partner, Julann Griffin and the J in Jam, was the co-creator of Jeopardy. A pilot was made for the game but it never aired. When the Internet boom struck all those years ago, that game became the first one offered on AOL, so it had been around for quite some time before I got hooked in 1999 .

I enjoyed Kissin Kuzzins and that nostalgic feeling it gave me so much that I’ve decided to give the other games on www.jamandcandy a look. Why not do the same, check out the updated site and give Move Your Vowels, Comprehende U and Piki Paka a try? Post your comments here and let me know what you think.

Kissin Kuzzins should be available by the end of March. Perhaps sooner. Start the countdown now and brace yourself for its reveal. You won’t be disappointed!

The unusual world of computer gaming

downloadSeptember 5, 2014 – Are you one of those computer gaming addicts?

It’s not something I share a history with, except for a little Super Mario Brothers on the old Nintendo 64 system when my son would let me play back in the early 90s. Years later I found the defunct and much missed “Boxerjam” platform online that I could lose a few hours to here and there.

Facebook opened a Pandora’s Box for the enthusiastic gamer, offering such gems as Farmville and Pet Rescue, although I fail to see the fun in building virtual farms and planting virtual crops. I suppose that’s why there is a choice of chocolate, vanilla, and bubblegum ice cream.

I also went through a short phase and played (free) online casino games on Facebook, but I quickly lost interest. My parents, however, continue to amuse themselves with those games, just as they do with actual casinos in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

The first Facebook game to hold my interest was Angry Birds. Then came Words with Friends, and as a Scrabble fan, it hooked me immediately. It’s the one game I continue to play today.

I was late to the Candy Crush Saga party, and didn’t stay very long before I began to get frustrated by chocolate lakes and sugar bombs that interfered with my play. I stopped at level 100 (out of almost 1,000) a few months ago after convincing myself that the game is truly evil.

My latest interest, Quiz Up, is an entertaining multiple choice question game that you can play with friends or strangers. I play it on my phone to keep me occupied when I am waiting in line, for example, or am sitting in a conference room waiting for the meeting to begin. I like Quiz Up because I enjoy trivia games (a family tradition after holiday dinners), it offers a variety of interesting categories (from The Beatles to U.S. Law), and you can finish a game in about two minutes.

Here is a list of the most popular Facebook apps/games as of March 2014, which sadly shows that Candy Crush continues to rule. Compare that list to the most popular iphone games as of July 2014, where there is nary a Candy Crush Saga in sight.

These types of games barely scratch the surface of the computer gaming world, so I still can’t refer to myself as a gamer, but I demand extra credit for remembering Pong, the first game to be played on your television. It consisted of two straight white lines that pushed a white dot back and forth on a black screen. We thought that was simply amazing.

The reincarnation of Boxerjam?

downloadJuly 11, 2014 – In February, I stumbled upon the sad news that my favorite online game site, Boxerjam, had shut down. I bewailed my disappointment on this blog and fellow fans reached out to share their stories with me. They would also miss the games they came to know and love, especially the site favorite, “Strike a Match”.

One reader who commented was on the team instrumental for bringing Boxerjam to life. Candisse Reynolds shared this news:

“The creators of the games on Boxerjam have started anew and are developing mobile application games for phones and tablets. We have just launched our first offering ‘Move Your Vowels’. It is available on both iTunes and Google Play. We also have a little game called ‘Piki Paka’ on our website.”

You can find the new website at http://www.jamandcandy.com.

Jam and Candy is a partnership between Julann Griffin, Maureen Roberts, and Candisse Reynolds. Their combined experience spans every aspect of media and entertainment. The three partners also made up the J-A-M in Boxerjam, and their new endeavor is cleverly named in a similar fashion keeping the Jam (the first initials of Julann and Maureen, I’m assuming), and adding the Candy (a shorted version of the name Candisse).

The look and feel of the site gives off a similar vibe of the old Boxerjam site, but the only game available on the site didn’t hold my interest, and I kept thinking there had to be more than blowing up a balloon without trying to pop it. “Move Your Vowels” looks like it could have potential, but my “older” eyes don’t allow me to enjoy games on my iphone; I’d rather play on the website. With more games promised soon, I’ll check back on occasion to see what turns up. This talented team struck gold before with Boxerjam, so I believe they can do it again.

Another reader recently commented that it looks like “Strike a Match” is on its way back. I couldn’t find confirmation of this, and fear they may have found an old site with outdated information. Although, we can hope that Jam and Candy can replicate it.

Check out their new site and let me know what you think.

The death of Boxerjam

February 26, 2014 – It is disappointing when you log on to play your favorite online game and receive a message that the site is under maintenance.

It is devastating when you check back later and receive the message that the site is gone for good.

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Devastating may be too dramatic a word, but how else do you describe the feeling that you lost something you have grown to depend on over the past 15 years, played faithfully, and written about on this blog not
one or two, but three times.

Boxerjam was my go to when I needed to relax, or suffered from writer’s block. I would play a few games to shake up the cobwebs – my favorites were “Strike a Match”, a word matching game played in four different rounds, and “Know it All”, classic trivia played quickly against a ticking clock – and all would be right again. The site provided me a second wind, got the creative juices flowing, and offered the option to compete against other players or play on your own. 

I first discovered Boxerjam in 1999, though it has been entertaining its members since 1995. From the message above, it appears they have lost the data. According to the software engineer who lives in my basement, the game logic is an easy rebuild, but if the data is lost (the questions and possible answers that need consistent updating) it could take months to recover and rebuild.

That means Boxerjam could be back in another form one day, but for now, farewell my faithful gaming companion, and thanks for the memories. You will be missed.

Will the real Khaleesi please stand up

thCAWSS4DTJune 26, 2013 – Entranced in my favorite online game over the weekend (“Strike a Match” on Boxerjam.com ), I came across a player using “Khaleesi” as their username.

Any fan of “Game of Thrones” knows that Khaleesi is “the mother of dragons”. They also know that technically it is not a name, but rather a title. The character’s name is Daenerys Targaryen.

Still, I thought it was clever.

Yesterday, I found an article in an online newspaper that stated, “There are now 146 American girls named Khaleesi, up 450% from 2011.”

Yikes.

I knew that the name Arya, another popular character from “Game of Thrones” was on the rise, but that sounds like an actual first name. I’ve also known people to name their pets after sports heroes and characters from movies and books. For instance, friends have a dog named Gandalf because they are huge fans of “The Lord of the Rings” books, another has a new puppy named Chase Mutley, after the Phillies Chase Utley, and others named their cat Buster, after the character in “Arrested Development”. That works. Khaleesi is also the perfect name for a regal cat, don’t you think?

Naming pets by these character names is whimsical. When it comes to a child, a human being who will have to repeat his or her name thousands of times over the years, it borders on child abuse.

Why would anyone want to saddle a child with a name so unusual it makes him or her uncomfortable? A pet won’t have to stand by their name in the schoolyard, or possibly grow up to be a CEO of a major corporation with a name that embarrasses them. Standing out in any way is enough to embarrass a kid at any age. They will already feel odd enough during their lifetime, so why make that worse with an unusual name.

Parents, I beg you, if you want to be clever, or feel particularly close to characters in a sci-fi book, get a pet or a new online handle. You’ll still get the thrill of creativity, and spare your child from a lifetime of embarrassment.

Just words

May 25, 2012 – I’m about to reveal a big secret.

I am a writer who is terrible at crossword puzzles.

I love playing Scrabble, which is sort of like crosswords if you use your imagination, and I can do cryptograms with the greatest of ease, but when it comes to vocabulary and those five-dollar words often associated with crosswords, I panic. Then I appease myself with the fact that I was taught to write clearly and simply, on a level that everyone can understand.

Of course, you could argue that a writer with a limited vocabulary is like a painter who is colorblind. But I’m not that limited, and I’d rather you didn’t.

When I read “11 word games writers love” I wondered if the author considered writers who are crossword challenged. Even though she refers to the relationship between the writer and crossword puzzles as iconic, we must exist. Surely I can’t be the only one. I’ll give her a pass this time because she compiled a nice list of games aside from crosswords that will please even the mightiest of literary snobs.

And I’ll add a few suggestions of my own:

If you’re mad about cryptograms, you can play to your heart’s content at www.cryptograms.org, and if you’re crossword challenged, try Strike A Match, the classic word matching game that requires only basic vocabulary skills over at www.boxerjam.com.