TradeMarkVille is leaving us speechless

TradeMarkVille is a fun little game that takes place in a “magical town” where “every uttered word is instantly trademarked by the King’s wizard-lawyers and banished from language.” It’s a not-too-subtle dig at game companies like Zynga (sought to trademark “Ville”) and King (sought to trademark “Saga” and “Candy”).

The game itself is simple — either try to decipher a word (craterfacesphere was the new word for moon), or invent a new word for something that was recently trademarked. Every time a word is successfully deciphered it gets trademarked, so the result is an increasingly bizarre vocabulary.

Taboo meets Finnegans Wake

It’s the sort of game that will become more interesting the more it’s played. Even non-players might enjoy seeing how the description for a particular word becomes more strained over time. As a composition tool, TradeMarkVille could eventually provide a bizarre thesaurus for the entire English language.

within hours, “hornhorse” was already a trademarked synonym for “horse,” also trademarked.

The “game” aspect of TradeMarkVille is lightweight but clever — anytime a player deciphers a word, that player and the coiner of the new word get a point. The leaderboard shows players with more than 500 points, and the game is less than a day old. It will be interesting to revisit the game’s playability in a week; a social game that doesn’t end so much as become unplayably difficult would be a neat experiment.