Thursday, April 12, 2012

iOS Arcade Games

Continuing from yesterday, the iOS games that my little cousins were playing all seemed rather...similar.

They were all arcade games, in which you collect coins and dodge enemies.  The layout of the levels are randomized, but if you play them enough, you'll start to recognize the six or so patterns they follow.  Each playthrough lasts about a minute or so, depending on how good you are.

I never went to arcades as a kid.  The closest I got to an arcade game was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Arcade Game for the NES.  But from what I can tell, arcade games tend to be blatant money-eaters.  The gameplay is purposely super-hard, so the people playing the game will die constantly, and have to pay more money to keep playing.

The iOS games I saw (Temple Run, Jetpack Joyride) were similar to the old arcade games.  There's constant death, and a slew of near-identical levels that go on forever.  Your goal is to get a high score that you can show off to your friends.  And of course, the goal of the game is to get the gamer to spend as much money as possible.

The difference, I would say, is how the money is spent.  In the old arcade games, you spend the money to continue playing the game.  In the iOS games, you can spend money to buy continues, but you can also buy other things, like an item that let you start on level 20, or an item which changes the character's shirt from brown to pink.  As many of these items as possible are one-time items, meaning you'll have to purchase them over and over again if you want to keep using them.  It's technically possible to get the items without paying real money by collecting a lot of coins/points, but insanely high prices ensure that you'll either have to pay money or play for dozens of hours on end.

Anyway, that's it for today's blog post.  I didn't have any big insights about the iOS games my cousins were playing, beyond, "Wow, these really remind me of old arcade games!".

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