An Open Response to Rielly Geek: You Haven’t Devolved, Gaming Has

Rielly Geek recently wrote a wonderful piece over on sugargames about how her gaming habits have changed since starting a family. She does a wonderful job of basically doing a mini biography of her life through video games and I highly recommend you read it.

But when I did read it, one thing really stuck out:

“I now frequent games like Bejeweled Blitz, Peggle, Trivia Crack, and I’m even too embarrassed to reveal the others installed on my phone.”

So I know that I tend to focus on retro games, but there’s a growing trend in gaming that I don’t approve of and that’s the trend of shitting all over people who play mobile games, especially F2P mobile games.

Especially in contrast to Triple A and retro titles that Rielly Geek used in her post.

At the end of the day, we should not feel ashamed of the games we play. They are still GAMES. One of the big reasons I take such an issue with this is that with regards of Mobile games, it’s not the gamer that has devolved, it’s the games.

See Mobile games in my opinion are the new Arcade. Well if an Arcade had a baby with the Atari 2600 era of gaming. Which is appropriate considering where Riley Geek started her post.

The reason I mention these two things are for the following reasons.

  1. Arcades were designed in a fashion to drain you of as many quarters as possible. They were still incedibly fun and addictive.
  2. There were so many video games in 1983, it crashed the market. Top console then was the Atari 2600.

This is exaclty where Mobile games are at right now. Go take a look at the Apple App store and you’ll find so many games you’ll never be able to play all of them. It’s a never ending library. New things are being added every week. New game developers are forming every day. Very similar to the days of the Atari 2600 and guess what kind of games they made, garbage ones.

Hell Atari’s, and other console’s, free range is one of the reasons Nintendo had the crazy 5 Game Limit during the NES days.

Also games like Candy Crush, Clash of Clans, and any of the three billion Casino Games are designed to take your money. Most Console or single purchase games are designed with the idea that they need to make the most entertaining game possible to get you to throw down the cost up front (well most of the time anyways). Most Mobile titles are free. It’s the tactic most drug dealers use. They give you a taste to get you addicted and hopefully you’re spending all of your money on them.

Mobile titles also have something that Arcades didn’t in regards to game design to get you to sink in as much money as possible. Live analytics. Guaranteed that pain point you hit that makes you want to spend money was designed by a person who saw how well a certain mechanic was doing and decided to monitize it. Clicks can be tracked and then turned against you. They’ve literally turned design into a function to frustrate you into spending money.

So people who make it to level 246 of Candy Crush, especially without spending a dime shouldn’t be ashamed. They should not be people we look down on. These are people we should be celebrating. You know how difficult it is to get that far through a game like Candy Crush without spending money? It’s almost a herculean effort on par with getting through the Water Dungeon in Zelda Ocarina of Time without a walkthrough. Actually it makes that look trivial. Because again that water level isn’t designed to make you so frustrated that you’ll send Nintendo an extra 1.99 to get past it.

Candy Crush in particular is a great example for this because it’s levels are randomized. Meaning that luck is just as big of a factor as skill is in passing a level of Candy Crush. Especially if you have no power ups and are not spending any money.

I reached out and asked Rielly Geek if she ever spent money on games on her phone. Her response was this:

“I really hate spending money on apps in general”

She also couldn’t immediately remember spending any money on her mobile games. Which means it’s probably safe to say whatever level of Peggle or Bejeweled Blitz she got to, was well earned.

So people like Rielly Geek, myself, and I assume lots of people who are adults and played an NES when they were a kid, shouldn’t be ashamed about the games we have on our phone. We shouldn’t care when someone says we’re not a gamer when we play those games, because it’s not our fault that the industry has changed.

Instead we should celebrate how awesome we are at these games just as much as we celebrated how quickly we beat Streets of Rage 2 after weeks of practice.

We are still gamers.

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