Six Old UsVsTh3m Games

During 2013-4, I worked for Trinity Mirror's UsVsTh3m, coding web toys and games. My colleague Matt Round sums up the whole experience better than I could — and he's also put his favourite games that he worked up, too.

I want to stress: I just wrote the code! These games were produced by a team of many talented people who came up with ideas, illustrated, wrote jokes, and playtested. While I've resurrected a few games here on my site, the credit goes to everyone on the team!

Here are some of the things I worked on. I've removed the sharing buttons from them, because these are mostly here for nostalgia. They don't need to go viral again.

The North-o-Meter

A simple 'How Northern are You' quiz turned into a full-page game. This was ludicrously popular. I'm not saying that we were entirely responsible for the rash of viral quizzes that exploded over Facebook in 2014, but we were certainly in the vanguard.

▶️ Play the North-o-Meter

You Can't Do Simple Maths Under Pressure

This simple maths-against-the-clock game took off when YouTube's Nerd³ did a video about it. Have a look at the source code: it took a long time to work out how to balance ramping difficulty with interesting questions.

▶️ Play You Can't Do Simple Maths Under Pressure

Owen Paterson's Badger Penalty Shootout

One morning, a member of Parliament was asked why a badger cull wasn't working, and he replied that “the badgers moved the goalposts”. This game existed only a few hours later.

▶️ Play Owen Paterson's Badger Penalty Shootout

Realistic Facebook Security Simulator

This one wasn't popular, but I've got a soft spot for it. Not just for the fun questions, but for the GIF you get when you lose.

▶️ Play Realistic Facebook Security Simulator

Are You Hated By The Daily Mail?

The first big quiz success we had — and we nearly didn't bother making it. Everyone wanted to share their result, because it was almost impossible to end up with any result other than ‘hated’.

▶️ Play Are You Hated By The Daily Mail?

Ed Balls Teaches Typing

To understand this joke, you'll need to learn about Ed Balls Day. One of my favourite anecdotes from my time at UsVsTh3m was someone telling us that, at a recording of Mock the Week, Dara Ó Briain had complained that he'd spent far too much time that day playing this game instead of rehearsing.

Two extra things to enjoy here: the harmonised sound effects from editor Rob, and the deliberately-obfuscated source code.

▶️ Play Ed Balls Teaches Typing