Another one of these up-and-coming communities is a site called ChatHopper, which promotes itself as a “random chat” system with over 10,000 users and rising. However, I personally might never have noticed ChatHopper if it wasn’t for the fact that the website is introducing an innovative and entirely new concept in online gaming. With ChatHopper, you not only randomly chat with anonymous people, but you get to play games with them.
This is a cool temptation for those of us that really have very little to say to a complete stranger, but a fun little bit of competition is a whole different story. A game can act as an awesome icebreaker when you first meet someone new. Don’t have anything to talk about? Don’t worry about it – just have fun!
Playing ChatHopper Games
ChatHopper offers an entirely new concept in online gaming that incorporates intelligent video gesture recognition technology with fun Heads-Up style games. When I first heard that ChatHopper was attempting to create these sort of games, I really expected a difficult to manage interface that would fail to recognize what you’re trying to do nine times out of ten. Once I started testing the system with my daughters, it became apparent fairly quick that the folks at ChatHopper really did a great job with this system.
Before we proceed, I should point out that if the games don’t work on your computer, then you should try the following:
- Clear the cache on your browser.
- In- and outbound UDP-Ports may be blocked by your firewall. So check your firewall settings.
- The security settings of your browser may be too high, preventing the flash plugin from working properly. So check the security settings.
- You are using a Flash version older than version 10. So update it.
When you first visit ChatHopper Games, you’ll see yourself displayed in your webcam on one side of the screen. The system will automatically scan for any active users that are logged in and also waiting for someone to play a game with. Once they connect, you’ll see the other user appear in the right side window. At the time of testing the system, there were two available games to play – Power Math and Color Buzzer.
Once you’re both logged in and you both press “Play”, the game is on! In Power Math, you have to quickly answer math questions by actually pointing to the correct answer at the top of the screen. As you bring your finger closer to the webcam toward the correct answer, the system recognizes your hand gesture and recognizes the answer you’ve selected.
I couldn’t believe the system actually worked, but sure enough when I tried it, it always recognized the answer that I was pointing toward with my finger. After you get the hang of it, it’s a little freaky how easily the system can recognize your selection just by watching you point your finger in the air in front of the camera. After a few misses, I realized that I had to make sure the tip of my finger was obscured by the correct answer. After that I was able to correctly press the button I wanted every time.
At the end of the timed game, each user screen displays the winner, the loser, the number of wrong answers and any time penalty. By the way, I totally let my nine year old daughter win at the math game…
ColorBuzzer is similar to the math game only in the way that you interact with the system. It’s always a matter of pointing to the correct answer. In this case, the system shows you a sequence of highlighted circles, and you need to press the colors at the top in the same pattern (similar to the popular 1980′s electronic game “Simon”).
Keep in mind that these games are only a way that ChatHopper is looking to enhance the anonymous video chatting experience, not take away from it. So, all of the features you’re used to when you use sites like ChatRoulette or ChatHopper is still available, including the audio chatting and text chatting functionality. You can text chat in the box right under the video display.
At the present time, ChatHopper Games is an entirely new concept in video chat, but I think it’s one that’s going to take the web by storm. Currently there are only two hand gesture games available, but I suspect there will be many more in time. Anyway, regardless of the game, half the fun of this setup is that friendly competition is the fastest way to break the ice when you meet someone new. So, if you’ve never tried anonymous chatting before – this is a great place to start.