Long Island fans of Words With Friends understand why it was so hard for Alec Baldwin to turn off that game -- a refusal that got him booted from an American Airlines flight on Tuesday and caused a public brouhaha.
"I understand the compulsion," said Rachel Davis, 35, of West Babylon, confessing to playing the Scrabble-like game in a hospital emergency room when her 5-year-old son broke his ankle, and in bed when her husband thought she was asleep.
Michael Miglino, 39, of Massapequa, said he's played while his wife thought he was giving his kids, ages 5 and 6, a bath. "My wife thinks Words With Friends is the other woman," he said. Wednesday, Miglino was struggling for a word to best a competitor who had just scored 75 points with the word "joints."
Jaime Franchi, 35, of East Islip, who has 15 games going at the same time, has competed while eating dinner, washing dishes and watching TV. "Tell Alec Baldwin if he wants to play me, I'm totally in," she said.
In the game, players get seven letters and compete to connect words on a board. They play at random or with friends and can carry on up to 20 games at a time. Words With Friends' daily active user count vaulted 100,000 Wednesday, according to AppData.com, a data tracking service from research firm Inside Network. The popular app is No. 19 on the AppData list, with 12.5 million monthly average users. It's free, but players can opt to pay $2.99 for a version with no advertising.
The jump will likely be temporary, predicted Armando Rodriguez, who covers apps for the PCWorld magazine and website. But the attention comes at a good time -- Zynga, the company responsible for Words With Friends and games such as Farmville, is planning an IPO this month.
Zynga has responded lightheartedly to the dustup, tweeting: @zynga: Hey @AmericanAir, don't ground @AlecBaldwin for playing. A.B.S.U.R.D. is worth *at least* 11 points in @WordsWFriends. Other Twitter participants are logging in their comments with the hashtag #LetAlecPlay.