maura @ 11:43 pm
Since getting back from the games in education (un)conference a couple of weeks ago things have just felt, well, gamier around my brain. Which is good, I think: there’s usually lots of stuff in there about my library work and my grant work and my big research project and (and of course all of the non-work stuff too), and sometimes it feels like games get relegated to the backest* in the car that is my brain.
* When I was a kid we had an AMC Hornet Sportabout station wagon, and while other kids used the term “way back,” in my family we divided the seating zones into front, back, and backest. Huzzah for the seatbelt-free ’70s!
So I’ve been thinking about and even (casually) playing more games in the past few weeks. One is a newish game that Jonathan made me download when it was free on the App Store not long ago called Triple Town. It’s your standard match-3 game** but much more visually detailed and appealing than these kinds of games usually are. Bunches of grass combine to make bushes combine to make trees combine to make cottages and big houses. Annoying (because they move around) but cute bears combine to make tombstones and churches and cathedrals and treasure chests (hmmm…). When the bears growl, the little people wandering around the board jump up and scurry fearfully into their cottages. It’s really, really cute, and really, really satisfying, too.
** Actually I don’t think this is the best definition of match 3 games — I would never have classified Tetris that way — but the joining like things to remove them from the board game mechanic is definitely a common thread.
Often match 3 games are kind of time wasters, but this one feels like it requires more skill. I glommed on to it pretty hard the other day and was brought up short, suddenly, when I ran out of moves. (See image above.)
Here’s the other, somewhat hidden mechanic to this game: the in-game purchase mechanic. I could spend $3.99 to buy “unlimited moves” for the game, and play and play until the cows come home. Or, I can wait for my moves to replenish, then continue playing. I don’t know how many moves the game starts with but it *seems* like I played off and on for a while — maybe a week or so? — before it hooked into my brain enough that I ran out of moves.
And now I am living move to move like the
cheapskate thrifty person I am, running out mid-game last night only to have to wait to finish up until tonight (dang ninja bear, always dogging me!). Then I had some left over and couldn’t resist starting a new game, only to be stopped about 7 moves in.
So the game now inhabits two levels for me: can I beat my high score, and can I stave off spending $3.99 for unlimited moves? Game on, ninja bears!