January 4, 2008

Speaking Hangman is fun for the whole family

Author: Joe Barr

Speaking Hangman is a cross-platform bilingual game that's both fun and educational, and suitable for the whole family.

You'll need to have a Java 2 Java Runtime Environment installed on your system to play the game. If you're not sure if the version of Java you're running is adequate to the task, you can test it on the page you download the program from.

After you download the program, enter tar xzf speakinghangmanfree-0.2.0.tar.gz in the directory where you downloaded the archive. Before playing the game, enter the directory created by the tar extraction command and read the README, INSTALL, and LICENSE text files you'll find there. Note that this is not free software, nor even open source. The licensing terms (read LICENSE.TXT in the same directory) provide only for "free-as-in-beer" usage.

To start the game, enter java -jar HangmanFree_V0.2.0.jar in the installation directory. By default, Speaking Hangman begins at the Basic level of the English language version, meaning that the word you guess is found in the game's 450-word Basic English vocabulary. If you are a native English-speaker, playing in this mode may be fun, but not necessarily educational.

To switch to the Spanish version of the game, click on the flag of Spain icon located to the left of the text box displaying the level of play along the bottom of the window. You can use the up and down arrows to the right of the same text box to toggle between Basic and the 1,000-word Intermediate vocabulary levels.

Start play by clicking on New Word (or Nueva Palabra if you're playing in Spanish). You'll see a row of empty dashes, each representing a letter of the word, appear in the upper portion of the window. You make guesses as to which letters are in the word simply by clicking on letters in the alphabet shown. Once you've selected a letter, it is grayed-out so you don't try to select it again later.

If the letter you picked is in the word, it will appear in place of a dash or dashes. If it's not, part of an astronaut's image will appear in the gallows -- a modern, graphical representation of the stick figure you drew playing hangman as a child. Eventually, you will either solve the word, or have used up all your chances and lost the round.

If you've lost, the spaceman will turn over on his head and burst into flames. If you've won, he will lift off the gallows and fly into space. In either case, you'll hear the word pronounced -- hence the name of the game. But that's not all; the game can also find a definition for you, so you can not only learn its pronunciation but its meaning as well. Click on the icon of the open book next to the New Word/Nueva Palabra button and a link to the word in WordReference.com will appear in your browser in English or Spanish, depending on the language you've selected.

Speaking Hangman is quick, easy, fun, and educational for the whole family. If you enjoy the game, you can purchase a version that includes an advanced vocabulary of more than 7,000 words.

Category:

  • Games