Screenshot: CoolMath games

Advertisements are an unfortunate fact of life, about as inevitable as death, taxes, and Thanos. It’s pretty much impossible to go anywhere on the internet without someone wanting you to go somewhere else on the internet, and Coolmath Games is no exception. Every game on the site has a brief skippable ad, yes, but thankfully that’s it—there’s little in the way of banner ads or other obnoxious distractions.

With one exception.

No matter where you go on the site—no matter what game you play, no matter how you try to hide—you will always be greeted by one little, static ad:

The ad.
Screenshot: CoolMath games

Evidently, Coolmath is really proud of their little hangman game, so I figured I would play it first to get it out of the way early.

Hangman is—look, you know hangman. The goal is to guess a word that the host is thinking of, with the only hints being a general topic and the number of letters in that word. You guess a letter at a time. If it’s right, the blank spots are filled in with the correct letter; if it’s wrong, a little drawing of a man gets another body part added to him. If you complete the man, the game is over because the man died. He’s dead, right there on the board. You fool, why couldn’t you have guessed “lackadaisical”? All you had to do was guess right, but now a man is dead by your hands.

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A pathetically mediocre example of Hangman, as seen on every substitute teacher’s whiteboard.
Illustration: Me (Me)

It’s like a grisly version of Wheel of Fortune, where instead of being greeted by a geriatric Vanna White you see a stick figure execution.

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Anyway, the CoolMath version of Hangman is a little more peaceful, showcasing one of my favorite things about the site—its ability to fill some of the blandest games with a little bit of personality. For starters, instead of a decreasingly-limbless corpse, there’s a little man smiling cheerfully as he holds on to a bunch of balloons that are all that is keeping him from falling into the hungry jowls of a random monster. If you make a wrong guess, one of those balloons pop, and the little man frowns as he is brought one step closer to an early grave. If all the balloons pop, the man gets eaten; if you guess the word, the little man goomba-stomps the monster into oblivion and backflips off of its dusty remains. Why he needs to wait for you to guess the word before slaying this beast is a question for the ages.

The remaining balloons you have when you guess the word get tallied as your score, and you get a full set of balloons for the next word.

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It would have been easy for the CoolMath version of hangman to just be the standard, simple drawing of a stick figure getting executed, but instead they added animations, sounds, and even a scoring system. I have a lot of respect for people who go out of their way to add personality and flair where it might be deemed a waste of effort, and CoolMath is overflowing with such games.