What I Like/Dislike About Mobile Games Apps

iPhone App restrictions allow in-app purchases

Figure 1: Attribution: By Wesley Fryer, via Flickr

There are literally millions (maybe billions) of games available for your smart phone or tablet. Recently, I’ve been playing a few of them to pass the time, mostly in an attempt to not read the news or get sucked down a rabbit hole of social media nastiness (that’s a post for another day…). I enjoy quite a number of the games on offer (hidden object adventure games, matching tile games, and puzzles, for example). However, I find I uninstall a lot of them after a few days as they begin to annoy me in various ways.

A vast majority of them available without any initial charge. I say “initial” charge because of the economic ecosystem we now have in place for game apps is such that the pleasure of playing these games is often outweighed by the aggravation of constantly being asked to either watch ads or make in-game purchases. If I’m given an option of getting a premium version of the game that removes the ads and it’s not incredibly expensive, then I’m usually the first one to sign up for it. (I guess I’m succumbing to their marketing plan. :/ )

I dislike having to join a clan or group or team in order to succeed in a game. Joining one of these groups entails a certain amount of collective responsibility for helping other members out with tasks. This mechanic exists mainly, in my opinion, to keep you glued to a game app so you can look at more ads. This is a big problem for me. Besides the fact that looking at ads is hugely annoying ( CONSUME!! ), I have very little time to play games. I’m an adult with a family and, most of the time, I have to look after more important things. Every so often, I have five or ten minutes to play a game and I just want to be able to pick up what I was doing without a whole lot in-game management. Then, I may go two weeks without touching the game. A lot of the games out there don’t handle my schedule at all.

My pattern of engagement with games often leads to me getting all sorts of “come back!” notifications. Ugh. Stop harassing me about playing your game or I will uninstall it from my phone with extreme prejudice! I get enough notifications from every other bloody app on my phone and all of them are more important than ones from games I play once in a while.

Then, there’s the in-game purchases. They aren’t too terrible in-and-of-themselves. Sometimes you just want to get a boost to get you to a new part of the game. However, when you need to put in hours of gameplay in order to achieve the same power-up or obtain the same item then you’re basically forcing a player to buy it. I guess such games aren’t really for me with my lack of free time for gaming and my adversion to spending too much money on something I consider frivolous.

Well, that’s my random thoughts on game apps. I realise I’m not the typical person that mobile game apps are designed for. Still, it would be nice if they tried to be less grasping and just let us enjoy their games in the way we want to.

Old Man Yells At Cloud

Figure 2: Attribution: deviantART upload by user Amaya-Zorifuki (March 31st, 2011)

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