One Touch Games Are All The Same – Nope!

Are you also a person who would lump together all existing one touch games? Than read this entry and learn about the differences!

As promised I want to collect some game mechanic characteristics of one touch games this time. In my last entry I analysed the game Marble Drop and so the idea for the current entry came into my mind.

In Marble Drop the player also controls everything with one touch. The difference between the today viewed games: some world objects have to be touched directly with the right timing. So this also is kind of a point-and-click game. Summed up, the main characteristics are a time and reaction based gameplay, a simple one touch/point-and-click control as well as several puzzle mechanics and combinations of them.

After thinking about the games I present this time, I recognized that I lastly might have concentrated more on the point-and-click-mechanic. So, I made a tiny addition in the last entry and want to correct myself now, differentiating between the two terms one touch and point-and-click. Moreover, this time I will make just short game analysis and point out the differences between them to finally have a collection of ideas for creating games (of this kind).


Defintions and Terminology

Point-and-Click Game

In my opinion one of the best known point-and-click games is Monkey Island (btw: happy belated 25th birthday!). As Guybrush Threepwood you move around a pirate world and interact with predefined objects, parts of the screen you actually see. When the cursor hovers over one of the objects, you see a short description and can click on this point. In combination you choose another action, for example “talk to (bin)”.

Screenshot of Monkey Island (© Ron Gilbert (or rather for law and
formality reasons: LucasArts))

So this game genre distinguishes itself through the fact, that you click and interact with particular screen segments. Sometimes, but rarely, you have to solve tasks faster and in time.

One Touch Game

At least after the game Flappy Bird nearly everybody has seen a so-called one touch game. This genre is mainly used for mobile games, because it is the optimized gameplay for this kind of devices.

Screenshot of Flappy Bird (© Dong Nguyen)

Everything you have to do is tap on your screen. No matter on which part of it (well, I only present games of this kind, but I am quite sure that there are games, where the direction (and position of the tap) is important for gameplay). All other actions happen automatically.

Mostly the character is controlled by this touch. Sometimes actions, which control the character, are released. In both cases this actions lead to the possibility to guide a character through a level.

But even if the control mechanic is the same, this games can create really varying game experiences.

Different Game Experiences in One Touch Games

The similarity of this type of games not only lies in the control mechanic of the character. Often the game has objects or borders which stop the character and end the game. Diverging is the speed of the games, so I will categorize them with it.

Fast-Paced GamesOne Touch Games

The following games are developed by BoomBit Games. They catched me for a long time with there fast-paced games and I enjoy playing them. After I got the idea for this entry, surprisingly a very apposite ad-screen of them popped up while I played Bird Climb, mentioning the one touch control. And so I was more convinced about the topic of this entry.

Important to note: Fast-paced games, for me, are games, where the player has nearly no time to think about the next tap and a round ends after a few seconds or maybe minutes (3 minutes would be very long, but it depends on the time you can focus, because you nearly have to uninterruptedly stare on the screen).

Bird Climb
In this game your tap controls a bird flying upwards a vertical level. The faster you tap, the faster the bird flies. If you stop touching the screen the bird falls down till you touch again or it collides with an object.

The game gets more interesting through other influences and constraints:

  • When the bird has contact with a wall (screen border), it changes the direction.
  • Advances (lets call them static enemies) will stop the bird after collision. The player has to time the taps, so the bird flies in gaps of the walls.
  • Moreover, but not fundamental for the gameplay itself, the player can collect jewels to unlock new birds.

Bird Climb      Bird Climb      Bird Climb

The game is optional competitive and you can challenge other players. If your bird got higher, you win.

Spider Square
This game works quite similar to the first one, but the movement is from the left to the right, that means along the horizontal axis.

Spider SquareA tap does not directly control a character, but a thread, which is used by it, to swing forward. As long as the player lets a finger stay on the screen, the character hangs on its thread. If the finger is removed, the thread disappears and the character falls down, following physical rules, till the next tap is detected.

Spider SquareWith this game mechanic one is able to control the speed of the character. Fast successive taps speed the character up, while long touches let the character swing a more circular bend forward.

As difficulty the collision with level walls end a round. The game designers used no further objects. Instead the level itself is the obstacle, the player has to avoid. If the character touches the walls, it shatters into pieces – I love the animation of the pieces falling (also physically calculated) down.

As before, you can also collect jewels to unlock new characters and the challenge is to swing through a higher number of rooms (than your enemy did).

Fast- to Mid-Paced Games

With mid-paced games I mean games, where the player has a few short moments to rest and evaluate the situation.

Running CirclesRunning Circles
The last game of BoomBit differs a little bit. Here the movement happens also automatically, but the character moves along a circle. The tap does not control the speed of the character. It lets the player switch between the inner or outer line of the circle. So, the direction is kind of random in comparison with the two other games. The player has to tap on the right time, so the character switchs between two circles or avoids static/moving (circling) enemies.

Running CirclesMoreover Running Circles is a mixture of fast-paced and mid-paced speed. Of course the reaction has to be very instant, but from time to time players can rest in circles. On one side, you can stay in a circle for 3 or 4 turns. If the timer, a growing circle, grows too big and touches the character, it will end the round. But you also can stay in every 5th circle endlessly (safe zone).

By the way, all levels in the mentioned BoomBit games seem to be automatically generated. So you always have a new challenge to solve.

Badland
A very famous and I think kind of complex one touch game from the developer Frogmind is Badland.

Here the character also is controlled to fly forward as well as up or down. More taps lead to faster movement.

The screen automatically goes fordward so the player mostly has no time to lose. But it is not that fast as the movement in the before mentioned games. The problem is, that the player loses when the screen has passed the character.

Another difference is, that power ups and also objects influence the way of the character. Sometimes the character has to overcome heavy or blocking objects – also with the right timing. Sometimes power ups speed the character up, let it grow, become cumbrous or more characters appear and are needed to overcome obstacles.

The game is structured into closed and predefined levels and surprises with many mechanics that come from the game world.

Badland Badland

Mid- to Slow-Paced Games

At last let’s have a look on some slower variations of one touch games. Slow-paced should be games were you often have the possibility to rest at least for a while or even have no time pressure at all.

Crossy Road
In Crossy Road (Hipster Wale, Yodo) a tap lets the character jump one step further. It has to avoid different fast obstacles, but can rest after a few steps. As in Running Circles the character can not wait here for long, otherwise an eagle catches it and the game is over. Another difference in this game is the swipe control into one direction, so the character moves left, right, backward or forward. So this is not only a 100% one touch game mechanic, also a swipe mechanic is included.

So why does this game uses the one touch mechanic anyway? Because it is much faster than swiping. When avoiding the objects in the game, you can make 3 taps faster than 3 swipes.

Crossy Road    Crossy Road

Of course there exist many more games of this genre as you can see in chart lists. I mostly gave an impression of movement based games. But you will find several other games with this mechanic combined with other genres or mechanics.

For example some games overlap with a puzzle mechanic – e.g. word puzzle games. Others force the player to shoot to a special point (e.g. Smash Hit) and so this mixes up with the point-and-click mechanic mentioned in the beginning.

Lessons Learned
Mechanics and Game Design Questions

In general you can say one touch games clearly can have many differences and transport a completely different feeling and game experience. To break the main points of the above introduced games down, they at least differ in:

  • movement control, direction and speed of a character
  • rules and objects ending a game round
  • time based world influences (causing time pressure) or objects/collectables which influence the character
  • combination with other game genres

At last I collected some questions which might be useful to answer for creating a game with one touch game mechanics. This also gives a more detailed look on the differences of the mentioned games. Some of the questions might be also transferred for making games in general.

For all answers you should always ask yourself how you communicate your decision to the player and how the decision fits in your concept!

  • What does a tap control? – character, objects or something else?
  • What happens after one touch? – Does the character go higher, lower, faster, slower or has it a totally different movement result? Does the effect multiply after a specific amount of taps?
  • What happens, if the player releases the tap? – Does the character/object falls down instantly, float a little while, vanish?
  • On the contrary: If the player keeps the finger on the screen, does it have any consequences?
  • Which direction will the character move to? – vertical, horizontal, random…? Maybe also a specific direction where the tap on precise areas of the device is needed?
  • How fast should the game be and how does it feel to play it? – Is the player allowed to think about the situation or is it just possible to react to happenings?
  • Is the movement speed constant or does it behave in another way?
  • If the object/character falls down, in which direction or following which rules does it fall? – Is it physically calculated or straight downwards?
  • Do you need enemies in your game or is the level enough? – If you want to have enemies, should they be static or moving? Do they have abilities? (This questions probably come up in every game development and ideation process.)
  • Do you want to have safe zones in your game? If so, how long could one stay in those areas?
  • What is the border of a level? – the screen? walls? Does the border has an effect on the character or something else, after a collision?
  • Is your level generated or scripted? – think about the challenge and repeatability of the game
  • Does your world has game objects with different properties? – power ups or obstacles for example
  • Are obstacles static or movable?
  • When is the game over?
  • Do you have a meta game? – Here you can add free2play ideas, collectables to collect points or unlock items, and so on.
  • Should your game be a one touch game only or is it combined with other mechanics? – Rethink this very well, maybe another one is redundant.

This game design questions are not complete, but they give an overview of the amount of decisions you have to make, even for a simple game mechanic like this.


“Unfortunately”, I will not write anything about games for the next 3 weeks, because of my tomorrow starting holiday. But, if you want to know more about it and are interested in Japan, just follow the blog I started with a friend. We will update it regularly with great impressions of Japan and its beginning colorful autumn.

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Marble Drop – Let It Roll!

This time I decided to write about a game called “Marble Drop” (by M Square Development Group). It is also a mobile game and as the name might let you imagine: you drop marbles – but in an unique way.


Abstracted Childhood Memories

The game reminds me of the good old times (in childhood), where you collected all your colorful marbles and waited for the satisfying mix of feelings, sounds and smooth movements as a marble roles down the marble run. (By the way, especially the sound of the game reminds me of that one of a real marble run.)

In addition to that, the mobile version is a tricky physics, skill and timing based puzzle game. So the “simply drop a marble and watch it” behaviour got a new sense here.

Of course there exist also other/older versions that imitate marble runs, but they differ from each other. While older games like that one of 1997 also copy the visual style of a real marble run, the newer version has an abstract and minimalist art style and seems like a puzzle drawn on a blackboard with chalk – also another emotional connection linking to the days in school (?).

Game Mechanics and Rules

Drop it – But think before!

In general – and as a simple principle often used for mobile games as you can see in my last post – the player controls everything with only one action. He touches one of the (up to three) marbles on the right side and drops them into funnels, so they reach the same colored goal. Sometimes he has to align other elements – guess how – by one touch. It is kind of a mixture of a point-and-click and one touch game.

Marble Drop Game Principle

Screenshots and walkthrough of the first level and tutorial explanations.

This very ordinary and you might say boring game mechanic however improves through another clever trick. It gets more and more complex with emerging components, functions and rules as well as the combination of them within one level.

In this first example you just have to put one marble into the right and another one into the left funnel. But the designers increased the difficulty with several other things, not only runways you have to analyze before dropping marbles into the funnel. Let’s have a look at some upcoming mechanics.

Changing Marble Properties

Color Changer

Color Changer
Small, colored fields on the runaway dye the marbles after contact. They continue their journey with the same color as the field has had.

Increasing Speed
As you also can see in this picture, the player can influence the speed of the marbles or more precise, of the world. This is used to get a better highscore (you are rated by time) and also to speed slow passages up. Controlling the speed might also be useful to time next moves.

Color Mixer
After a few levels a small circle appears. In this, two marbles will be combined into one. If you touch the circle a color table appears (or it is drawn next to the circle as in the example in the middle), showing you which marbles result in which new color.

   Color Mixer CircleColor Mix Circle and TableColor Mix Table

With this function the developers added a really complex system to the game. The amount of colors, the player can use, stays the same, but he always has to keep in mind, that and which combinations of marbles result in new colors. Later on, the player also learns that three colors create a grey marble.

World Influences and Movement Pattern

Trigger Switches
One of the components not changing the marble itself but influencing it in another way, is the trigger switch. It opens and closes after a marble runs over it or falls down the gap (left picture). An evolution of this is the combination with sensors. When a marble touches the sensor, the trigger opens or closes again (right picture).

Trigger SwitchTrigger Switch With Connection

Marble Collectors
Moreover you have some kind of different sized buckets to collect marbles temporarily. If a marble runs into the collector it is stored there until the bucket is filled. Afterwards it tips and the marbles run out in reversed order. This rule always has to be kept in mind of the player.

Collectors for Marbles

Marble Canons
Also the movement of the marbles change with new functionalities. Here is an example of a canon, shooting a marble to a bucket. Touching the canon changes the shooting direction for the marble. The directions are preset and differ in each level (e.g. two to three directions to choose between).

Combination of Canons and Marble Collectors

Marble Lift
Another example of changing the normal movement is the lift. When a marble rolls into it, it will get picked up and roll down a runway at the end of the lift.

Lift

Combination of elements
A last thing I want to show: all of the above mentioned elements are combined with each other and so form many more tricky, highly complex puzzles.

Here are some examples of combined components.

Canons Shoot the Marble Collectors In Combination With Switches Trigger Switch With Connection and Lift

On the left you can see a marble canon, which has to be used with a color changer field to get the right colored marbles before running down the runway.

This level actually requires the patience and also timing of the player while the level in the middle asks for more careful consideration (trigger behaviour) to bring the marbles into the right order for reaching their goal.

The picture on the right shows clearly: the more things are combined, the more confusing the level gets and kind of hard to solve puzzles are created by the use of lift, trigger with sensor and color mixer.

Review and Tips For Creating Game Experiences

I think there are many more functions like this (I saw a gravity switch and teleporters for example in some videos). As I didn’t play the whole game, but got an overview of the main mechanics, I think this enumeration of things will be enough to get an impression of the game design of Marble Drop. Here are some “Lessons Learned”:

Tip 1
All in all, the game concentrates on getting complex over time and is a good example of a game with fast raising difficulty. For this, the actions of the player are not changed at all. The player is not able to do more than to execute the “one touch” mechanic, but is forced to be more intent before doing well considered and timed moves. Not the control possibilities make a good game. They should also suit the used device. Thousands of actions and buttons would not work for a mobile game, where you have a limited field of action. More clever is to change the abilities of the controlled game components itself.

Tip 2
This simple player mechanic is also mirrored by the style. It is very minimalist, but as more simple components are combined, the levels get kind of confusing and hard to master. The game designers created a really complex puzzle game, even if the player remains kind of passive in its action.

Probably the designers might also have made similar complex puzzles with less components. Notice: Complexity can be made by a few rules. Combined, they result in mighty game systems. Always think about every planned mechanic. Maybe one or another is unnecessary. 

Tip 3
Depending on the device, I think, it was kind of hard to create puzzles, which not lose their clarity. The more elements got combined, the more unclear the game gets, because the size of the level can not differ too much due to the inaccuracy a player has, controlling a game by touch. So, always keep in mind a level should not get too messy (particularly when the device is small). The balance between a “too distinct solution” and a “crowded level” has to be figured out.  

Tip 4
Moreover the game should get a characteristic. Define the feeling which should be created playing the game. In Marble Drop the player should think about his move. Simultaneously, the actions for solving a puzzle should be well timed. Actually the game is slow-paced, because one can think about a solution as long as needed, before starting the game. But as soon as a marble rolls, the game can become fast-paced and actions have to be well timed. This characteristics switch from mechanic to mechanic (a moving marble is fast-paced while a marble collector slows the game down again). The player is not always forced to be focused and gets chances to prepare for the next move.

Additional Ideas For This Genre

At last I asked myself, which consequence would follow if some rules of this game would change. What if…

…the player is more embedded into the actual situation?
For example he is just allowed to open or close, shoot or tip elements in real time instead of triggering their behaviour. This would change the whole game feeling and give more focus on the player’s ability and skill. I think, this would also require less complex levels, so one could solve puzzles in real-time. On the other hand the cleverness would be less addressed, because the components would not behave within a set game context and rule. Instead the states of the components would be changed on the will of the player, who gets an even stronger trial and error attitude.

…the player’s perspective would change?
Lets think about a third person perspective. The player is behind a marble and has to react to obstacles on its way. This also relates to the real-time reaction thought and and assumes a 3D room.

I found a 3D marble run example which uses this kind of system design. Here the player has to steer the marble through a level and bring it save to the goal.

…the time, the player can think about a solution, was limited?
The game requires partially very long preparation sessions, before it starts. So the player could be forced to start after a few seconds.

It could be used as another part for the highscore system (more points when the player uses less preparation time), but as the levels get more and more difficult, this would probably lead to a frustrated player.


The whole game has a huge potential for uncountable more levels (actually 60 exist). The potential of matching all components with each other could be exploited and related to this, maybe a slower increase of difficulty would follow. Nevertheless, this game hits the spot for puzzles fanatics.

Actually this was an example for a (mostly) slow-paced one touch game. In the next post I will present some more variations of this game genre.

(By the way, I didn’t mention it, but the game has also a free2play function where you collect coins to buy hints or a rainbow marble, that fits for any color.)

Juicy Clouds – Less Is More

Finally here it is: the first post and game exploration. I actually wanted to post this three weeks ago, but I was very busy due to the GamesWeekBerlin and our semester project.

In my first analysis I start with a tiny mobile game called “Juicy Clouds”. As I said before, I want to find a way to write in-between an objective view of the topics, a not too detailed, stiff reflection and give some thought impulses. So, here I go!


What is Juicy Cloud?

Juicy Clouds is a mobile and free-to-play game of Swecial in which the player has to connect clouds of the same color. When matched, this connected clouds disappear, some rain (juice) of it’s color is floating down and should be collected in same-colored glasses. The glasses can have different sizes, thus need a different amount of juice drops to be filled. The player wins the game after successfully filling a predetermined amount of glasses – without time pressure, but with a given amount of moves. Here is an example level, where a player connects clouds and the main structure is described:

Game Mechanics – An Inside Look

What the Player Is Able to Do

This type of game is referred to as match3 game or tile-matching game. As the name suggests, in games like this, objects are matched, mostly to disappear and score points. I think, one of the best known tile-matching games is Tetris. But does this game work kind of similar? Let’s have a closer look:

To break down the mechanics of Juicy Clouds, I first will review the main actions the player can do or rather the player triggers off. The only thing the player actively does, is connecting objects (clouds) by touching one and another in a sequence. If the player connects at least three similar objects further actions will automatically be released: Actions the player can affectSo you can say self-controlled actions are rare and many reactions happen by the game itself after the first touch. They go on automatically and can not be affected by the player once the connected objects are released. The player is forced to think about this chain reaction in advance, because one is not able to change them afterwards. This is an important point regarding the progress or regress of the game, as the players’ amount of moves is limited.

So this forward-looking plays (especially in upper levels) a more important role than the player activity itself. To complete a level, small puzzles in form of brainteasers have to be solved – seems like a small addition to this game genre.

Abstract Look At Game Objects

Though the player activities are simple, the reactions of the game objects afterwards are more complex. The following picture shows some of the main components as well as their abilities. There seem to be many mechanics, because of numerous various game objects, GUI elements and so on. You can see different bars and numbers, which count the progress or regress, multiple clouds in different colors and visual styles (shiny, sparkle), obstacles, which prohibit the juice to flow, glasses which collect the juice, and many more. Object AttributesBut if you have a look on the game independently of the setting and visual stuff, just a few game mechanics are left, clearly showing the players’ possibilities and objects’ functions: Abstract look of Juicy Clouds ObjectsThis list might not be complete, but gives an insight of the true core of the game. In generell you can say that most of the objects have different states. For example the clouds can be touched, connected or deleted. Other objects prohibit actions or at least make them difficult to execute. But all this imitates, that lots of things can be done and covers the main mechanics with shiny and cute visuals. Or the other way around: The core of the game was set before and the world around, the setting, was created afterwards, changing nothing to the given structure of the game. This setting, the visuals, give feedback to good/not so good actions to let one not only see the framework of a game, upgrade the game experience and most importantly communicate to the player the way to reach one’s goal (I do not want to say “the right or wrong way”, because of the insights you will get through the next paragraph).

Game Experience and Feedback

We reached the point where I come to the communication with the player. Although one can’t do many things while playing, a special feeling is created with a colorful look and cartoon-like feedback.

Does the player recognize not being able to do anything?
Is the player even bored?
What is the game experience about?

I tried to list the positive and negative experiences. As you can see most of the visuals show positive effects: the progress of the game, smiling and shiny clouds, increasing highscore numbers, filled glasses. Everything is packed in funny playful animations and pictures. Just a few components give the player negative feedback or express that something went not as it should. For example, annoying sad looking, colorless obstacles or warning, yellow blinking, graphical user interface elements. Nothing is really negative and anyway has a funny look.

Beneficial objects can have a rather neutral state, for example the “helpers” (e.g. balloons) add two more moves, when being released, but they also prohibit the clouds to move to a particular location and might complicate moves. In my opinion the player mostly does not recognize this neutral or even sometimes disturbing objects’ state, if they don’t get in his way too much. This is also a proof of the positive game experience which is produced.

The reason for this: The player should rather be praised and rewarded than punished. Negative pictures are used rarely. Thus the player also doesn’t recognize that his actions are very prohibited. It does not matter. One is pleased with the cute and friendly atmosphere, finding out how to complete a level, enjoying no time pressure and the positive atmosphere. You can say: The easier the game mechanic, the more you can concentrate on important things, solving the puzzles and get the best result in a level.

Positive and Negative Effect and Communication

Review and “Future Glimpse”

In a nutshell: The player rarely interacts with the game, actually with one object type, but the game interacts with the players’ first action, so this move should be consideres very well. It is all about thinking, connecting and collecting – and of course enjoying the peaceful little world.

The game is easy to play and so it is a good casual game, but thanks to it numerous levels it’s also suitable for long play sessions. It is not always needed to give the player many things to do. I think, this game mechanics and its structures are well balanced, it is easy to learn and in its simplicity very fun to play. Sometimes less is more and in this game or maybe game genre, it is important to give the target group something they can handle easily. Everything is maintaining the games’ atmosphere – So is it neccessary to give many functions? Is it good to put pressure into the game? It the game too easy?

To answer the question from the beginning and compare Juicy Clouds with Tetris: the former has many more thing to pay attention to, while you mainly react to the fallen objects in Tetris – more simplicity = more fun?

By the way: I just gave a short insight into the game. Later on, the difficulty is increasing through randomly distributed clouds,  new objects and so on. Moreover, this mobile game also combines social gaming components (get free levels via facebook) and free2play actions (after 5 losses you rather have to wait to play again or spend money).

I always thought, that I formerly did not like this game genre. But if you think about it: Did not everybody play games like Tetris or Dr. Mario? But why is this genre today ill-reputed as boring casual game? In my opinion this lies in the history of the genre and the copy-paste-policy many game developers are performing. There exist many clones of this game, they all have tiny differences, but all in all are regular match3 titles.

This leads me to think about additional components one could combine in this genre:

Additional Ideas For This Genre

As said the match3 games differentiate in some points like

  • the goal/highscore system and atmosphere
    get as many points in a given time or don’t rush the player and let one think about his moves
  • helpful or disturbing items
    different balancing creates a more positive or negative game experience
  • the control of connecting objects
    touching in a sequence, changing by clicking two objects, shoot an object to its position

This genre convinces with simplicity. It has a huge addictive potential, because of short play sessions. But what, if one would add new functions to the game? A few examples:

I just knew 2D games in this genre – but what about a 3D tile-matching game?
While researching, I really found a few examples like Ultrabox. Here you have to destroy objects within a cube and you can rotate it to switch position of the objects. But this is also not “really 3D”, because the player stays on “one side” of the cube and does not have to think outside this view.

What would it be like to match more tiles in a game the further you come?
If the number of connected objects increases parallel to the level number you reached, it would get another difficulty. Of course, also the playing field has to scale after a while. The problem is, that this would reach unmanageable sizes and moreover this kind of game would not always support every control. The “change the position of two objects by clicking on them to connect three tiles” would be difficult after a while, because you just can touch one item per move.

My last thought was about adding further actions to the player.
If the player would get another mechanic, except the thinking and matching mechanic, would this destroy the genre? This possibility would just fit to games which are not too fast-paced, so that one can register the possibility and use it for ones benefit. For example the player could set items on his or her own and not wait for randomly appearing helpers. Maybe the use of the self-set items has to be limited.

These are just a few examples of making a change to an existing game genre and playing around with given characteristics. But every change has to be well reconsidered. The easiest way to be on the safe side of players’ taste, is to keep this well balanced form of match3 games… But why not try something new?


I hope, you got a little insight in the type of blog I want to write. If you have any thoughts on my entry or this topic, feel free to give me feedback. Particularly, if you have further ideas to add interesting mechanics to games like this or if I missed anything.

By the way I found an interesting chapter about the history of this kind of games. Some thoughts might be a bit outdated but here and there you can find interesting facts (for example that the Tetris tile-matching system has not yet been copied in this form):
Juul, Jesper. “Swap Adjacent Gems to Make Sets of Three: A History of Matching Tile Games“. Artifact journal. Volume 2, 2007. London: Routledge

Read you soon!

What This Blog Will Be About

Some time ago I started playing various games because I had some minutes left besides my studies. No matter if mobile games, browser games or social games. I downloaded them and fed my phone, facebook account or computer. I bought Humble Bundles and filled Steam with games. I just collected and collected…

This finally led to two “problems”:

  1. I got too many games and less time to play them and
  2. for the games I already played I fast forgot / didn’t actively recognize what kind of game mechanics I explored. This in turn led to repeatedly playing games just to kill time instead of having an usable output (e.g. for my studies).

Thus I decided to make a blog about games I played. My vague idea came up last year and as you might have noticed some time passed by until I finally got to the point to really open a blog.
The reason for my delay: Just writing about games and rating them seemed to be useless to me. There are several websites and blogs rating and reviewing games, so mine would be no enrichment at all. So I rejected the thought for now, but when I again had some minutes left (because I finished my exams some days ago…yay!) I began to rethink the idea.

My final conclusion:

  • At first I want to analyze games and increase my ability to actively think about their mechanics. This is a more personal goal and practice to break down a game into its core mechanics.
  • Moreover I want to explore what the designer might have thought designing a mechanic this way, how the player might react to it and feels or if the mechanic is rather useless than helpful. In this context I also want to write about the interaction between game and player, feedback, rules and structures.
    I found many blogs and websites about the topic “game mechanics”, but most of them were unfortunately closed, just reviewing and rating games subjective, one-sided and skin-deep or only writing about AAA titles. I am aware of the complex topic I have chosen and also won’t write a scientific report, but I want to try my best to explain mechanics and their effect in an objective point of view.
  • Last but not least I want to create a pool of ideas for game mechanics. I also hope this will positively affect creativity and maybe evaluating and refining mechanics will help developing games with my fellow students. Besides that it would make me proud if interested game developers get inspired.

For now I will start with “small” games and develop a helpful structure for my posts. Later on I also would write about (parts of) more complex games.

If you have further suggestions about games I should take a look at or criteria I should consider for analyzing games, just feel free to leave a comment.