The first Javascript web app I’ve ever released was a simple ‘guess the song’ game back in 2014. Ever since then, the idea has haunted me, each year evolving into something more complex and engaging. What started as a simple trivia quiz (which was briefly picked up by a South Korean media company) soon became a real time PvP competitive game - on paper, at least.

More than once have I tried actually developing the app again; first with PHP and Symfony, then with Node, Backbone and websockets; soon after with React and And although each time I get a little closer to something I could release, I always end up reimagining the game in some way (not to mention the daunting and ultimately boring task of preparing a proper backend.) Regardless, all those redesigns showcase exactly how the game changed over time.

Guess the song game back in 2017

The game in its simplest form back in 2017.

The buzzer

Early on, the game was time-based - simply type your answer and wait for the round to end to see your results. After I realized real time battles are downright uninteresting this way, I switched the text input to a big red buzzer. Just like in any other game show, hitting the buzzer means you get to answer first. Whereas your interaction with other players was completely passive before, now it’s an active competition. You could feel your opponent hovering the same button while the song plays.

Screenshot of the game in 2019 with a big red buzzer on the side

My first design with a buzzer, a screenshot from 2019.

Demo of animations and transitions from the 2021 redesign. Built with React and Redux. I particularly like the fire animation I made in After Effects.


The game’s most recent iteration is called namanama. Drawing inspiration from online card battlers, I created characters you could choose to play as. Every character would be linked to an in game mechanic, such as stealing points or rewards. From there, I started thinking about how these characters were related: their backstories, their personalities, and so on.

Characters from namanama
The namanama redesign from 2021

The characters in action, with another redesign from 2021.

I was heavily inspired by South Korean pop music. The characters are pop idol tropes: the innocent girl, the confident guy, the sly fox... I planned on making a theme song for each idol. You can listen to the namanama theme I made below.


namanama theme song

The main melody is a vocal sample I chopped up, supported by a plucky bass with a modern sound.


Buzzer sound effects

The first sound means your guess was correct, the second is for a wrong answer.

This is a concept and has not (yet) been fully realized. I'm posting it because I think the idea is interesting enough to share.