If you find me on a New York City subway, you will find me in one of two positions: eyes closed, pretending to sleep so no one approaches me, or headphones in (even if there’s no music playing) and eyes glued to my phone.
Yes, I have taken steps to become a true New Yorker.
If it’s the latter, my eyes are typically glued to a game I discovered long ago called Two Dots. It’s basically a game of connect the dots — the goal is to connect dots of the same color while battling obstacles like fire, ice cubes and magnets.
It’s not quite as ridiculous as it sounds. Promise. But it’s highly addicting.
And when I heard there would be a Two Dots Tournament in New York City this week, of course I pounced.
I qualified by completing a special challenge in the app, the Koi Cup. It’s seven different challenges. Criteria to qualify involved how many of the seven challenges you completed, your total final score, when you completed the challenge compared to the rest of the world, etc.
I showed up to the Microsoft store in Midtown to show my credentials. I waited and ate half a sandwich while everyone else did the same. And then I qualified for actual gameplay.
I was one of 20 people to play. We sat at long tables playing on Microsoft Surface Pros — this tournament was to celebrate the launch of the app on Windows. The top three winners would receive Surface Pros (Surfaces, for short?) of their own.
Apparently, they were taking live video of the event without my knowledge. They made us put on T-shirts. I didn’t show up dressed to impress.
Despite being in a Microsoft store, it was funny to observe the Apple influence. Everyone was playing the game on their iPhones, since Windows phones didn’t offer the game (and really, who has a Galaxy?). The Two Dots folks all used MacBooks. Dell who?
Anyway, then began 45 minutes of straight game play. We had to complete the very challenge we did to earn these seats. That was a bit frustrating. But my nerdom didn’t mind.
In the app, lives regenerate every 20 minutes, unless you buy more. I’m cheap, so I wait the 20 minutes. But in tournament play, they gave us unlimited lives. Picture a table of 20 geeks, making lines and squares trying to get little magnets to disappear.
Imagine further the crowd behind the roped-off tournament area, peeking over to see the progress everyone is making.
All the while, in the corner was the actual band who developed the whimsical music for the app. I felt like I was inside Two Dots world. In a Microsoft store. In New York City.
I won’t drag you through the 45 minutes of game play (though I actually did finish the seven rounds in the challenge, while some other competitors did not) (yes, humble brag), I did not earn enough points to make the top three. I did not win a Windows Surface Pro (seriously, they need a better name).
I did leave with Microsoft swag, like a Microsoft water bottle, Microsoft keychain flashlight and Microsoft pens. Plus, a Two Dots T-shirt that I will wear to the gym.
So when your app of choice hosts a tournament near you (anyone still play Flappy Bird?), embrace it. Participate. And maybe you’ll also walk away with a water bottle that will end up in the garbage within the next five months.