The Grading Game by mode of expression, LLC icon

The Grading Game ($0.99) by mode of expression, LLC is a game that should be a fit for any grammar Nazi or copy editor out there. Yes, this is a word game where you must grade papers, but you must race against the clock to fail the students instead of passing them!

When this game first popped up in my inbox, I was immediately interested. And I have been addicted ever since. As a graduate myself, I appreciated this game because it hits pretty close to home, and it’s actually something new.

The Grading Game by mode of expression, LLC screenshot

You’re taking the role of a fresh new graduate who is drowning in debt from student loans (hey, this is pretty realistic to the present-day economy), and currently, the only way you can earn some dough and pay it off is by taking a T.A. job with the mean Professor Arthur Snerpus Ph.D. But why is he so mean? Well, he wants to make sure that his students fail, and it’s your job to help him make that possible. No, you shouldn’t feel bad for these students — these papers are riddled with errors everywhere, so quite frankly, failing them is well deserved. I mean, just take a look at some of those hilarious campus memos you’ll be seeing!

There is a Practice mode so you can brush up on your proofreading skills, and two other game modes: Quick Play and Career. In Practice, you can select the game type that you want to try out (Random, Standard, Needle in a Haystack, Minefield, Sep. Sentences, and Full Text) as well as the error type you want to freshen up on (Capitalization, Grammar, Spelling, Homophone), and how many rounds you want. I recommend using Practice before jumping in, otherwise you may end up a bit frustrated with the game after many, many rounds.

For those who want to venture out on the quest to get rid of your student debt, Career is the way to go. You can choose the difficulty level by swiping through the available papers for grading. The levels are Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior, Master’s (two levels), and Doctorate (three levels). Each level will have a variety of paper topics (over 100), which are labeled on each icon. These range from history to Internet culture and even ramen noodles, so hey, you can also learn about something new from playing. Each topic will have three papers for you to grade, and you have expectations that are shown before the game begins. You must meet these criteria in order to complete the level — otherwise, you fail. For each completed level, you will earn cash that is put towards paying off your loan.

Quick Play is basically survival. You start out with $200,000 in debt and must go through endless round after round of proofreading papers to earn as much cash as you can to pay off your loans. As you clear rounds, the difficulty will gradually increase.

So how do you correct the papers? Each article will have a number of errors peppered throughout (Needle/Haystack levels will only have one error), and you simply tap on where you think a mistake is made to correct it. Don’t rely on the same mistakes that you’ve seen before though — each paper is randomly generated with new errors, so you have to be on your toes! Each level will also be timed, and you must find enough errors to meet the criteria before time runs out. As a penalty for randomly tapping, you get two-seconds taken off of the clock if you tap on something that is actually correct. This game doesn’t mess around, you know.

Once time is up, the game will show the errors you missed, and add up how many points were taken off for what you did find. You’ll see the student’s grade drop from 100 percent to, hopefully, the 70 percentile or below.

The Grading Game features Game Center integration for leaderboards across the Undergrad, Graduate, Postgrad, Professor levels, as well as total Career Earnings and Mistakes Corrected. There are no achievements to earn, unfortunately.

The Grading Game by mode of expression, LLC screenshot

I did encounter a bug that is affecting my game, though. When I am going through Career, on the Freshman “Fan Death” level, the second round is supposed to show two notebook pages of text, but I only get the first bullet point. This happened twice in my testing of the game, and I cannot clear the level since I cannot see the rest of the paper. Hopefully this can be fixed in the future.

The game is incredibly challenging, which I like. I enjoy proofreading, but adding a timer (usually no more than 30 seconds) really increases the pressure more than before. Even though it increases the pressure, doing so can actually improve one’s own proofreading skills, so hey, it’s beneficial, albeit a tad frustrating. It’s a concept that just hasn’t been done before, executed beautifully, and hysterically, might I add.

If you’re a grammar Nazi, enjoy failing students, or want to copy edit terrible papers, then The Grading Game is made for you. You can grab it in the App Store for your iPhone and iPad for $0.99 in the App Store. The current price is 50 percent off for a limited time only.