It's war! (on your chores)

Do battle against your chores, and others with Chore Wars, an online game to help make chores more bearable.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
2 min read

A few weeks ago we took a look at Chorebuster(review), a complex, yet very powerful chore management tool. Today, one that's been making the rounds around the office is Chore Wars, a seemingly ridiculous concept that attempts to make repetitive tasks like washing the dishes and vacuuming worthwhile for things besides sanitation. Did we mention this is set in a magical universe with monsters, treasure and certain peril?

The concept is simple: users band together in guilds, and give household chores various reward levels. Those rewards translate into character upgrades, in a Web based MMORPG that you play with your friends, family, or roommates. Consider it like a very stripped-down version of World of Warcraft, where leveling up requires some real-life elbow grease.

Pick from a variety of user-created chores. Each gets its own experience point denomination. CNET Networks

While it doesn't play like a video game, Chore Wars has a simplified Web interface that lets members of your party create and claim chores. The actual chore creation process is a joy, with a simple Web form that lets you fill in the name of the chore, along with values for gained experience points, gold, and various character attributes. The real fun, however, is thinking up treasure and monsters, which you have the potential to run into every time you claim to have done a chore. This opens up a dialog where you can find out if you've managed the task unscathed, or run into perils you or others have dreamed up.

The real nitty-gritty of Chore Wars is its management system, which lets users easily claim chores using a drop-down menu, or by picking one from the "adventure" page. You can keep track of the chores each user has claimed, as each one gets its own status update (a la Twitter), along with a time stamp to let you know when it was taken care of. What might be the only dampener here, is that as group administrator, there isn't a way to dole out chores to other users, or separate chores that are individual from those that are communal. In this sense, Chore Wars fails. However, if you have kids or roommates who are honest about taking care of things, this honor system works.

The eventual payout comes in the form of gold coins and experience points. Both are gained while taking on the various chores. While gold coins can't be used for any virtual goods, Chore Wars encourages chore admins to work with users to let them buy out of real-world chores, or purchase rewards using the virtual currency.

I'm still on the fence about these online chore management systems. I'm of the school of thought that these domestic things should be handled with human interaction; whereas things like bills have their own Web services that can help automate the process. That being said, Chore Wars is good for a laugh, and extremely easy to use.

[found on Penny Arcade]

Keep track of what others in your party are doing. Clicking their icons shows you a list of their recent chores. CNET Networks