Nablopomo – Day 26 – Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Do you like scary games?

For me, any game that immerses me into its own little world is a game for me. If it has the odd scary bit to it, all the better. A great example: Half-Life.

However, I just found out about this new game called Amnesia – The Dark Descent. The reviews are somewhat decent for a puzzle and interaction game. But what people are raving about the most is how truly scary this game is.

I think what makes this game so successful is that it relies on the user’s own imagination and fear. It then continues to feed your fear the more you get into the game. I don’t want to spoil this game at all, so I won’t get into the story. But, if you’re a big fan of making your heart race and you’re not squeamish, then this is a game you should check out.

Personally, I won’t play this. Not because of the game play, but because my heart wouldn’t take it. 😉

Don’t take my word for it. Here’s an example of someone who is quite ‘immersed’ in the game: (NOTE: NSFW due to language and intense scenes) (courtesy of You Tube)

Nablopomo – Day 16 – The Angry Birds experience

Angry Birds is the bane of my existence. Oh, how I love it so!

I’ll admit, I can’t stop playing this game. There’s something appealing about flinging birds at pigs, wood, ice and stone. But, like anything I use, I start to pick apart the methods behind the madness. Specifically in this case, I’m very curious as to why this game is successful from a user experience stance. Let’s analyze, shall we?

There’s birds with eggs. There’s pigs with an appetite for eggs. Pigs steal eggs. Birds are angry. Hilarity ensues. But, why is it so appealing?

After you’ve chuckled at the story and started the game play, do you still remember the story? Do you remember the struggle that the birds have against the pigs? Or, does it simply become a game of throwing things at objects?

A sign of a good story is having the user continuously engaged in the world you’ve created. I think the one thing that helps with this is using the different types of birds and pigs. How so? Well, you quickly realize that the pig with the helmets are a little harder to kill. As well, different birds have different strengths and weaknesses. Not only does this make up part of the game play, but it keeps you engaged with the story by making the user think about what bird to use with what pig and / or barrier. The story and the game continued to be connected.

This game is also one of the best examples of effective interaction design. Touch to play. Touch to start the level. Touch and drag to fling the bird. Simple. The instructions itself are also very simple. I really like that only pictures are used to convey what to do with the finger movements and touches.

I guess my only feedback is that the developers might want to add a ‘cheat’ option that allows you to tilt your device to make that big teetering rock fall off the corner of the cliff when it’s just hanging there. Honestly, I think this comes from my own personal frustration with trying to get 3 stars on every level, but that’s just me 🙂

Overall, I’m trying to illustrate simplicity in design. If you want something to be effective from the user’s perspective, keep it simple. I know we’ve all heard this before, but I think that this lesson sometimes gets lost during user experience development. Sometimes, it becomes more about what features and gadgets can we add instead of developing actual engaging game play.