Since my first NFL Shuffle post way back on February 6, I have continued to play this silly little game every single day (an hour-long commute gives you plenty of handheld gaming time). Despite there being seemingly no maximum level, I think I can safely say I’ve reached the endgame content, where the actual progression of the game becomes minimal and I play merely because it’s now part of my daily routine. My team contains some of the strongest players in the game, the only guys that can beat me have probably spent $100 on in-app purchases (IAP), and the single-player mode has reached a point where the opponents are so difficult that… only the handful of people that spent $100 on IAP even have a chance. And even then, the opponents’ weakest characters are as tough as your strongest.
The most interesting thing about spending so long on one game, however, is really getting to know it, to understand it, to appreciate it in ways that many of us with busy adult lives have no time or inclination to do with most titles. There’s a lot of games released every month, after all, and we can only play one at a time. (Why I spent something like 100 commutes on NFL Shuffle… that’s a whole ‘nother post, probably in a psychology case study magazine somewhere.)
With NFL Shuffle, it’s interesting seeing how it has evolved before my eyes, from a game where – in the beginning – each new player was a quantum leap improvement over your old team, to what I now play daily: a game based on luck, exploiting weakness, and nigh-unbeatable adversaries. Continue reading
I’ve only fallen down the free-to-play rabbit hole a few times. Without this shiny new iPhone, I’d have never discovered the compelling, high-speed Jetpack Joyride, or the strategy/action mix of Kingdom Conquest, and I wouldn’t get so hooked on Prize Claw that’d I’d play it during podcast recordings. Luckily, I still haven’t tried a single Facebook game. This week, I would have probably played a lot more Dark Souls (or, you know, written anything) if it wasn’t for my latest makes-no-sense addiction, NFL Shuffle. Continue reading
“What’s inside the cube?”
Peter Molyneux’s new game (maybe “experience” is a better fit?) is all about human curiosity. Can the entire world work together, each doing their part of a repetitive, mundane task with the promise of a grand reward for just one player at the end? Curiosity debuted on the App Store just two days ago, and things are already off to a good start. Continue reading
I’ve been playing my shiny new 3DS (well, it’s new to me) long enough to determine that, at its heart, it’s really just a better DS. It’s not trying to reinvent the wheel; Nintendo just stuck with what worked, and gave it better graphics, a simply terrific analog stick, and some 3D-ness. One thing in particular I had hoped they would improve, however, is the audio. The speakers are much better, for sure (have a listen on Nintendo Video or Netflix and compare it to any DS game if you don’t believe me), but I still have exactly zero qualms about playing nearly any game with the sound off. When I think back to some of the incredibly catchy melodies from the original NES – over 25 years ago – this lack of advancement in the sound department is simply unacceptable.
This is one area in which Sony has always excelled – the PSP and the Vita have some pretty great speakers, and the games on those systems recognized that fact, so much so that investing in a decent pair of headphones to play games is actually recommended. (I’d expect nothing less from the creators of the Walkman.) The higher-capacity UMD format helped too, I think, as did the ability to play PSOne Classics on the systems. The CD format and the original PlayStation is when game technology finally made it possible to do sound design, spoken dialogue, and full orchestral soundtracks by real full orchestras justice, and the disc format has helped every console since do more with their games’ sound and music. But the 3DS and DS aren’t disc-based. Continue reading