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Video Game / Bookworm

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Bookworm is a word puzzle game released in 2003 by PopCap Games. The object of the game is to feed Lex the Bookworm by creating words with adjacent tiles on a board, which gives you points based on the length and which letters not unlike Scrabble. Making small and/or low scoring words causes flaming tiles to appear which if left unused will eventually destroy the board and end the game while making large words causes special, high scoring tiles to appear. It has been released on several platforms (each version varying in small ways) throughout the years with the latest release on the Nintendo 3DS (2011) and was successful enough to get a Spiritual Successor with Bookworm Adventures. Unfortunately though, the PC game Bookworm Deluxe was delisted from various websites between April and May of 2016, with not much explanation aside from possibly expired license, and Bookworm Adventures and it's sequel are also delisted at the same time as well.

Tropes found in Bookworm include:

  • All in the Manual: Subverted, we know Lex's name from Bookworm Adventures. In this game, he's just called "Bookworm".
  • Cap: According to the PopCap Games website, the largest score attainable in the original PC version is 2,140,000,000. This is because the game cannot correctly interpret numbers higher than that. Should someone obtain a score higher than the cap (extremely unlikely), the score would become the opposite of the score i.e. negative.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Lex can shuffle the entire board if you click on him. However, doing this causes a bunch of fire tiles to appear, and makes existing ones move down. If you're on a very high level, scrambling will sometimes cause the entire top row to turn into fire tiles.
  • Endless Game: Like Bejewled, you can be playing for a good while, until you're too late to spell with a fire tile that is.
  • Gasshole: Lex will burp if you make a word that contains multiple fire tiles.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: In general, the game will not allow you to form offensive words, but it will let you use ones that have alternate inoffensive meanings. Playing such words in the Deluxe edition will often cause a speech bubble to pop up where Lex gives you a dictionary definition of the latter. For example, forming the word "fag" has him remind the player of its British slang usage with the simple definition of "A cigarette".
  • Literal Bookworm: We have the titular bookworm Lex, who is an intelligent green bookworm with glasses and a red bowtie. The premise of the game is to feed Lex by creating words with the tiles given to you.
  • Meaningful Name: Lex the Bookworm. Lex -> Lexicography -> Dictionaries -> Words
  • Numerical Hard: Fire tiles spawn much more liberally as the game progresses. When you get past level 10, it's not uncommon to get bombarded with fire tiles if you make so much as two three-letter-words.
  • Oh, Crap!: If a fire tile reaches the very bottom of the board (meaning you have only one chance to remove it, or it will end the game), Lex will say something like "Careful!", or "Watch out!", while sweating profusely with an extremely worried expression on his face.
  • Picky Eater: Lex will only choose to eat scraps of paper that have a single word on them.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness:
    • The whole point of the game is to get into this way of speaking so as to score higher. Words can have up to twelve letters, for the record. Making longer words also causes fire tiles to appear less often.
    • In Bookworm Adventures, Lex himself speaks in this.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: Lex. He's a regular old bookworm who is able to tell if the paper he eats has letters on it and if said letters form words. As a result, he chooses to only eats words.
    • He also provides definitions for some words when they are played.
  • Songs in the Key of Panic: The music suddenly switches to a desperate, frantic tune if there's a fire tile at the very bottom of the screen.
  • Too Awesome to Use: Diamond tiles. They are the most valuable type of tile and are worth a buttload of points and worth so much more when used in large words. This makes it very difficult to feel justified in using them when a better combo could've been achieved.
  • What the Hell, Player?: Well... sorta. Instead of actually reprimanding you, the game will bombard you with Fire Tiles if you make too many small words (or spell the same words repeatedly), especially if you're past level 10.