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Video Game / Lexi-Cross

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Lexi-Cross is a TV-style game developed by Platinumware for MS-DOS and released in 1991 by Interplay Entertainment. It received a 1992 port to the Apple Macintosh by Silicon & Synapse, the company later known as Blizzard Entertainment. This game is a futuristic hybrid of Wheel of Fortune and The Cross Wits, with a little bit of Double Exposurenote . The game could be played Living vs. Living, Living vs. Robot or Robot vs. Robot.

Each player controlled a 150-tile game board, with intersecting words hidden on it. The game boards appeared side by side; between them was the robotic hostess, Robanna Silver, who acted as a cursor for revealing tiles. Both boards had the same words on white letter tiles, in different positions, along with:

  • Blank tiles: When revealed, they ended a player's turn.
  • Plus and minus points: These spaces took points from one player and gave them to the other. A player's score could not go below zero, however.
  • Safety tokens: Two were hidden on each board. A player could continue his turn by giving a safety token to his opponent.
  • Vowel tokens: Five were hidden on each board. A player needed to possess a vowel token before he could choose a vowel.
  • Peek row/column: This allowed the player to look briefly at any row or column on his own board.
  • Poke row/column: This forced the player to look briefly at any row or column on his opponent's board.
  • Lose turn or lose safety token

When the player felt he had revealed enough white letter tiles, he could spin the wheel, which appeared at the bottom of the screen. If the spinner landed on a number, the player could pick a consonant, and receive points based on how many tiles with that consonant were revealed to that point. Wherever two words intersected, the tile turned red and counted double. Vowels had no point value, but still could be helpful.

Lexi-Cross had four different puzzle types: Common Theme, Literal (where the puzzle words formed a quotation or title), Which Puzzle Word and Missing Word. To win the round, the player had to give the correct solution to the puzzle. After three rounds, the player with more points played a Bonus Round, where the player's score determined the amount of time for picking consonants and the number of vowels that could be chosen.

This game provides examples of:

  • Bonus Spaces: On the board were plus point tiles, peek tiles, safety tokens and vowel tokens. On the spinner were "Reveal Column" and "Reveal Row" spaces; the player chose which column or row to reveal.
  • Color-Coded Multiplayer: Players selected two preferred colors for their Lexi-Cross profiles. Those colors were used for their boards in the game.
  • Copy Protection: Passphrase entry from a schedule included with the game. If you fail, the person interviewing potential contestants says that you have no chance of winning if you can't read a simple magazine.
  • Double the Dollars: As on Family Feud, letter values were doubled for the second round and tripled for the third round.
  • Exty Years from Publication: The game's manual, called "HV Guide", set Lexi-Cross as a galaxywide television Game Show broadcast from Earth in the year 2091.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Players assembled their avatars in the "Lexi-Cross Image Model Builder".
  • Holiday Mode: Host Chip Ramsey had an appropriate pre-game message for most U.S. holidays, assuming that the computer's internal calendar was accurate..
  • Hollywood Cyborg: Chip Ramsey was one, as was contestant coordinator Pristine Mint, who seemed to have a different hairstyle before every game.
  • Loophole Abuse: The pause button (F1) is still active after uncovering a Peek/Poke—so if the player presses it at the right time, they can get a much longer look at what's under the tiles.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Chip Ramsey looked remarkably like a clean-shaven Bob Goen. Two of the predefined contestants from Earth were named Abduloid and Madonoid.
  • Only Six Faces: Every planet other than Earth had only one head for its contestants. The bodies were still humanoid, though.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: Some puzzles had words like EARRRING (yes, with an extra R) and EROTICA (in a puzzle about Ludwig van Beethoven).
  • Shout-Out: The consonants' base point values were borrowed from the board game Scrabble.
  • Visual Puns: The saturnian head resembled that planet, the neptunian head was fishlike and the plutonian head was doglike.
  • Whammy: The Bankrupt space on the spinner was this, unless the player spent a safety token, as were the minus point tiles on the game boards.