With the rise of new platforms for games–especially in the mobile circuit–some developers are actually taking several steps backward, moving away from a more expansive, immersive type of game and toward an miniature, addictive one. It reminds me of the old Game ‘n’ Watch model, or the Tiger Electronics version of, say, Double Dragon–when time is the commodity, something short and sweet sometimes wins. The problem is that the market is glutted with sour products; the deep freemium titles are all knock-offs of one another, meant to suck in new users before they realize that, say, Spellstone is basically Tyrant Unlimited with a Hearthstone aesthetic, or that Bond: World of Espionage is a reskinned Underworld Empire, and that all of these games are designed around an unfair PvP mechanic that forces players to pay to win.
As I work to compile a best-of list for 2015, then, I wonder about what sort of unspoken rules, preferences, or conventions dictate the type of game that actually deserves to be nominated, let alone chosen. And today, my attention rests on Terry Cavanagh’s Grab Them By The Eyes. Continue reading