Monday 1 August 2011

Happy Annibirthday

The first time I saw it happen was on  Everquest, real world holidays started to be celebrated, Christmas being one of them, with snow, a virtual Santa and present giving occurring, all of course with a fantasy theme. Gaming has of course moved on since then, especially into the mobile realm. Many games now try to gather interest by having different editions for different occasions. Angry Birds does this particularly well with their Seasons edition. Halloween, Christmas and even Saint Patricks Day celebrations are themes in the game. It serves to make the game more immediately relevant and thus more interesting. Games for different occasions are definitely something that needs to be explored more, for example why can’t games give out special bonuses or prizes on the phone owners birthday. Should relevant newsworthy events be reflected in game updates, particularly story driven games? Also how much of a thought is given to the user interface of games, surely a game designed to be played on a morning commute should have controls designed around it. What about queues? Gamers often while away their time in long queues by playing games, do the developers tailor their user interfaces to reflect this? Apart from seasonal, holiday and event orientated gaming developers must become aware and savvy to the different types of situations their games are likely to be played in and design them with that in mind. Remember developers mobile games aren’t just for indoors on the couch: they are ubiquitous, ever present multi contextual commodities that can be played anywhere from thirty seconds to hours and for a gamer to get the most from their game these insights should help inform design.

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