December 04, 2015

Operation: Get Back Into Gaming (Report 2: The Simple Joy of Casual Games)

Back in the chaos of early 2012 following a major move, I spent my month in KwaZulu Natal predictably playing video games and loafing off without putting much effort into my life as a large.

I spent most of my time trying to distract from the mess inside my being instead of letting the reality of my situation sink in. During this time, out of some kind of desperate plea to connect with the outside world, I made a Google+ account, followed shortly by a Facebook account. I pretended to do it out of my promotion for the early version of my site, but when I look back at it now, the truth is obvious.

The only real reason I joined the comparatively useless Google+ was out of a desire to play their casual games, when they were still offering them. The first game I took a liking to was CityVille, made by the infamous Zynga, before the game was also shut down in 2015.

Playing the game was a slog, to say the least. You could only play as long as you had coins, and when your coins ran out, you couldn't anything except buy more or wait a day or two. Naturally, since some of us value our money, this is not a popular model of play and is probably the biggest turn-off for me from casual games.

I quickly grew bored with CityVille and discovered The Sims Social, a short-lived but mildly pleasant game which also only lasted a year or two before being shut down. Coincidentally, it also followed the same model as CityVille of being FreeToPlayButNotReally.

The only ray of hope I had left was to turn to Armour Games and find myself a few to play. The great thing about Armour Games is that while the games are shorter, they also have much lower price tags attached and F2P models are extremely rare, if non-existent. (I'm trying to sound smart to make up for the fact that I don't have a clue whether or not Armour Games have F2P model games...or not.) 

I took a huge liking to a series known as the Trapped Trilogy. Not the longest games you can find, but quite engrossing for their short individual lengths. I first played these games back in 2009-2010, and didn't find much joy in playing them a second time recently.

The only game which really sold me on casual gaming as a whole was Bejeweled. By far the most immersive, addictive and all-round life-wasting game I've ever played, Bejeweled sucks away hours of your time you could better spend marathoning TV shows or playing more serious video games.

...whilst being really relaxing and also helping you cool off after a long day at the office. Which means, it's a great game to play. Any game which can took you from thoroughly annoyed to a lot less thoroughly annoyed is worth playing ASAP.

Long story short, sometimes the best games aren't the ones that ask for years of your life to complete; the best ones simply ask for hours of your life to waste and never get anywhere near completion.

(Good heavens, that's actually quite depressing when you think about it.)

Anyway, tune in next Friday for a post looking at my love affair with shooter games, our eventual decline, and mutually satisfactory break-up. Stay safe, and happy gaming!

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