Set against an infinite loop of bleeps and bloops that’s infinitely irritating, Dot War divides the pixels of two enemy Twitter icons and pits them together in brutal unarmed combat. I played the easiest mode, which automatically creates the brawl rather (without the need to control your pixels with the mouse), and is reminiscent of Google Fight in its fast-paced, unspectacular but gripping internet fights. Naturally I had to prove my superiority in the social networking avatar ring, and was confident this guy would see me through:
Okay, so it’s the icon for a Left 4 Dead 2 achievement attained by picking up a garden ornament named Gnome Chompski and carrying him from one end of a zombie-infested theme park to another without losing him in a pile of bodies or being smashed over a fence by a Tank. But it’s also my Twitter avatar, chosen in a mad fit of pride after successfully saving Gnome from the apocalyptic carnival. My first opponent? An old college friend staring lovingly at a bottle of mystery alcohol, the visual representation of a short-lived university drinking diary.
Elliotsliver outnumbers me in footpixels, but I have the edge in power, however the hell you determine the physical strength of a picture. Anyway. Fight!
Incredible! Both squares dissolve into waves of tiny specks, Gnome’s dashing hat becoming a wall of flame that beats back elliotsliver’s sinister grey forces. His early lead is quickly equalled, and Gnome takes the lead as he swarms the northern flank..
Oddly, both parties split off from their main groups. Isolated, my impromptu vanguard crushes the lily-livered elliotsliver, whereas he fails to make anything more than a small dent in my superior defences.
Even though my wall of flame is now a weakened ember, it still herds what little is left of the enemy into a tight oblong. The clock hits zero before I can finish him off, but the fact that I’ve nearly four times the remaining pixels means I win by default.
Sorry elliotsliver, best stick to tonic water, eh? Oh snap. For a while he vas indeed a vervy adversary, but I theorise his lack of colour and a hat led to his downfall in the face of Chompski’s delightful shades. So, I brighten up the next encounter with the grinning mug of Robert Bowling, creative strategist and former community manager of Call of Duty creators Infinity Ward.
A gnome who knows no emotion versus a man who looks like he’s won two games BAFTAs and is posing with them for a photo. It turns out this is exactly what happened. Can awards and a winning smile end my beginner’s luck? Let’s find out.
Amazing! Whereas elliotsliver just kind of melted, the entirety of Bowling’s face lurches right at the plucky gnome. He is essentially being headbutted. Screenshots really don’t do this justice; the drama, surprise and hilarity of this charging face will stay with me all my life.
Nonetheless, the abrupt attack mangles Bowling, leaving only what I think is one of his cheeks. Meanwhile, I’ve snuck round the back (it was easy, he now has no eyes) and am busy at work eating through his backup pixels.
It’s a whitewash, almost as white as the great man himself. Bowling’s cheek has been eaten way like a pork delicacy, and I’ve decimated what’s left. With twelve seconds left I break his crystal, which not only sounds a bit gross but is also really badly explained in the game. I still don’t know what it does, only that it means I win, and if I have to break something belonging to a dude I like to know what it is so I can accurately deny it later.
Still looking for a proper challenge, I choose the avatar of Scottish conceptual rock duo Marmaduke Duke . There’s a lot more detail in theirs than my previous opponents – all manner of beards, funky hats and weird engineer’s goggles. Will this translate into more pixels and a greater match for the undefeated elf?
No, apparently. I have an advantage of nearly 500 units over the ‘Duke, although they have a far better power rating. I’m still in the dark as to how it works, but it led me to victory over someone’s liver, so I don’t question it.
Astonishing! Both teams dodge each other’s first push, Gnome taking the upper path while Marmaduke storm the unguarded lower route. Hey, does Gnome’s exploded pixel form look kind of like Russia? It looks kind of like Russia. To me.
Now it looks less like Russia. Rather than provide a worthy challenge, the ‘Duke are left arguing with one another about how their mighty power score had absolutely no effect on a rampaging garden gnome, which has now devoured them whole and is squatting triumphantly on their home turf.
All in all, a great day for Gnome Chompski and – finally – conclusive proof that I have the coolest Twitter avatar out of four people. Whilst I go do a victory dance over Robert Bowling’s grave, have a go yourself – from what I can see you don’t need your own Twitter account, and can live out your fantasies of making little pictures of celebrities split into tiny squares and wrestle.