Reading 08

The growth of mobile gaming as a means for more social and casual gaming is overall positive in my opinion. Having games be more casual allows them to be more approachable to people that would otherwise not be into gaming. Making games more social adds dimension to it on said social scale and promotes meaningful human interaction and dialogue and overall can elevate the medium. Mobile gaming itself I find to be fairly neutral as a platform, the general idea is making gaming more portable so that it can be enjoyed by anyone anywhere is they have the correct platform. The fact that mobile gaming is surpassing PC and console markets isn’t too surprising considering the earlier fact that mobile games are more casual and more social.  Given that they are more casual, they are easier to pick up and thus there might be less inhibition for a potential player to invest in a game given they are sure to enjoy it. If a game is more social then its brand is more likely to spread across social spheres as people communicate it and share it. Also, given mobile games are more publicly exposed in general then they can spread buy through mere observation by other individuals.

A good example of what I have described was the recent advent of Niantic’s Pokémon Go. This game got really popular really quickly, and it had all of the characteristics I described above. It was casual, pretty much anyone could get into it and pickup its play scheme, and it was social in which you could interact with other players through the game for cooperation and competition. The cooperative competitive aspect was very interesting, there where three teams in the game each of which was associated with a certain type of play style. The public response to the game was bonkers and greatly out did Niantic’s previous game Ingress (though by the look of it, the same game seems far more interesting than Pokémon Go). People would flock together in order to play and talk about the game in large groups celebrating a common obsession.

The use of micro transactions in games seems kind of manipulative to me. The majority of games on the mobile market have a ‘design to addict’ quality to them, where they are meant to give quick and dirty rewards to players through almost casino like games. Micro transactions in conjunction with this make for some rather grimace worthy business practice. I don’t really buy into instant gratification games very much, though I have sometimes. My favorites are usually unique and artful puzzle games such as the one I played for this week.

The game Monument Valley is a nicely visualized geometric puzzle games featuring impossible objects and there navigation as there main selling point. I really enjoyed this, it had such great visuals and offered some really mind bending puzzles. The fact it was on a mobile device was interesting, but also kind of fit it as well because your approach to your phone is different from your laptop or desktop and because of that it changed how I approached the game. There’s a second title in the series for this game and I anticipate that I will play that too.