If you’ve ever wanted to feel stupid, Name It! is the free, educational iOS game for you. With its kid-friendly visuals and announcer, you wouldn’t be alone in assuming that all the trivia to come would be easy. You’d be wrong, and you should probably get used to that feeling.
The aim of the game is to test your knowledge of the abbreviations, acronyms, and symbols (or AAS) that people use all the time. For example, the answer to the question, “What phrase would make you most likely to throw yourself in front of a moving car?” would be “YOLO”.
There are a number of different levels, each with their own set of topics that you are tested on throughout four rounds. Each round has a timer that ticks away as you attempt to complete each task. The more time left on the clock, the more points you’ll get, and this is where the game’s “Power Lines” come into play. Currently there is only one, “Timer Boost”. This adds 15 extra seconds to the timer, and gives the gamer breathing space for those real head-scratchers, or could even be used for more time with point-increasing bonus questions.
The pessimist in me also has to mention that the “Power Lines” are Name It!’s money-maker. Once you have used all of your timer boosts, the only way to get more is to spend real-life money. After playing this game though, I can only hope that the children would be far too intelligent to spend their parents’ hard-earned cash.
In the first stage you are given a question and must select the correct AAS, whereas the second stage asks you to put these into their respective categories. For example, the symbol for water is H2O, and therefore would feel right at home in the ‘Science and Tech’ category. However, it isn’t always this simple, as I felt that many topics could have been placed into multiple categories. Gender symbols, for example, seemed suited to the Science, People, and Life, categories and I wasted precious seconds and points trying to choose.
Stage 3 asks you to answer 10 questions on each topic available, which is where you realize that you actually know next to nothing on subjects you thought you knew like the back of your hand. Sure, you drink water every day, but do you know the scientific process behind rain? Luckily, to make you feel like your idiocy is actually beneficial, there’s a “Learn More” button. As expected, this gives you a little more information on the topic at hand and I found that I actually looked forward to reading these. Did you know that only 0.001% of tornadoes are categorized as F-5 tornadoes, which are the most destructive of tornadoes? Neither did I, but I do now.
Stage 4 is the much-loved Lightning Round, where you have to answer as many questions as you can until the time runs out. It’s fun, it’s quick, and it will test how much you learned in the previous three rounds.
With its set questions, there isn’t much reason to go back to Name It! once you’ve battled your way through each round, unless you and your friends get into high-score beating territory, that is. However, this is an app that really will teach you something. The fact that each set of topics is asked in 4 different ways forces you to really think about them, and works in the same way as effective exam revision; Repetition. That might not sound like fun, but this is labelled first and foremost as an “educational” app, and it certainly is that.
Whether you’re looking to be the first one with your hand up in class, or the person that everyone wants at the weekly pub quiz, Name It! is your friend. That being said, it is also the game that made me write “YOLO”, and for that, I can never forgive it.