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Hashtag Defence: DeTweet

A lot of people have a problem with Twitter. They think it’s meaningless, reductive, frivolous. This I say to them: what if it was a tower defence game? Oh-ho, now you’re listening.

DeTweet is Shawn Clapper’s canny concept, blending two of the more persistent mainstays of online culture: Twitter trending and tower defence. It’s still in its early stages, so there isn’t much in the way of high-grade weaponry to play with as yet, but the foundations are there, and strong.

What I like it about it is that it requires two different types of knowledge: being reasonably au fait with basic tower placement/upgrading and resource management, and having enough of an ear to the e-ground to know what people are spending their 140 characters furiously frothing about. An invader is created for every recent and ongoing mention of the word you base your game on, so the more popular it is the longer the game will last. And the harder it will be.

For instance, a session based around CODBLOPS didn’t get me very far, as not enough people have picked up LewieP’s splendid contract-o-mock of Call of Duty: Black Ops. Rockpapershotgun also proved disappointingly brief. But it was at least easy, as there wasn’t much of anything to mow down with my gun-nests.

“Blair” though – hoo boy. Not only did chatter about The Demon Prime Minister’s autobiography spawn endless tiny men, but Americans lusting over Gossip Girl’s Blair Lively further filled my screen. The addition of continued discussion about the Exorcist’s Linda Blair to the mix guaranteed there was more pixel-assault than I could quite handle.

While what really sold this to me was the comic surreality of men screaming random political assertions and crazed lechery in little speech bubbles even as they’re bloodily shot to pieces, for next time I’ll need something popular, but not that popular. (Or at least for the turret build time to be decreased a little). I’m sure you’re going to suggest some excellent alternatives below, aren’t you? AREN’T YOU?

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Alec Meer

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Ancient co-founder of RPS. Long gone. Now mostly writes for rather than about videogames.

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