Jan. 12, 2011 at 4:21 PM ET
Chatroulette, as we recently learned, is sooo 2010 (or was it 2009?). So does this mean that 2011 now belongs to ... Crush-O-Matic?
For those who enjoy using the wonders of the Internet to hook up with random strangers for awkward, sometimes amusing and frequently lewd encounters — Crush-O-Matic may be just the thing to fill the void left by the revamped Chatroulette's increasing loss of cool.
The newly launched "random game generator" does much of what Chatroulette did – it randomly connects Internet denizens with each other, allowing them to see each other via the wonders of the Web cam and chat with each other.
The difference? Crush-O-Matic gives you something to do besides, say, serenade each other with random songs. That is ... it gives you computer games to play with each other.
GameCrush– a start-up that aims to match up single gamers with each other for "play dates" (all for a fee of course) – has launched the Crush-O-Matic. To start, you simply select from one of 13 different games. You then select the gender of the opponent you would like to play. Those with an adventurous streak can pass on selecting their game or their opponent's gender and simply select "surprise me."
As was the case with Chatroulette, Crush-O-Matic seems certain to be dogged by the creep factor. After all, any service that lets random people see other random people via the anonymous powers of the Web seems destined to encounter its fair share of flashers and other pervs.
But as TechCrunch reports, co-founder Eric Strasser says that the site’s registration requirement and user rating system should help stem some of the seedier behavior.
Of course, there's nothing creepy about a married woman pretending to be a single woman to test out the Crush-O-Matic, right? I gave the free Crush-O-Matic a whirl (apologies to my husband). And I can say that I did have a perfectly nice conversation with a random dude about our video game preferences over a game of Four Across – until we were so rudely interrupted by my crashing computer (my apologies, Random Dude).
Sadly, for a service that's meant to bring gamers together, the Crush-O-Matic doesn't offer the kind of games any "real" gamer is going to get excited about playing with another gamer. You can play some pretty anemic versions of games like Battleship, chess, darts and pool and that's pretty much it.
Then again, if you want to meet someone while playing a "real" game there's always "World of Warcraft," Xbox Live and plenty of other online games.
It's also probably safe to say that if you're using the Crush-O-Matic ... it's probably not the games you're most interested in.
(Thanks to TechCrunch for the heads up.)