quarta-feira, 24 de setembro de 2014

Geo-locating for mobile games

A few years ago, we had a boom of mobile games with geo-locating features. The idea of using this feature to put some “real world” component inside the gameplay is good but, sometimes, bureaucratic for some players. It’s cool to imagine a game that the player needs to reach real locations to achieve some prize, but, on the other hand, it’s a little bit limiting for lots of people.

Whether it be good or bad, we will discuss three interesting cases in this post.

The first one is “Jetset: a game for airports”. The game has a tapping gameplay and the player must prevent certain passengers from entering the flight with prohibited products. The game could be played anytime/anywhere but has a special function: if you play Jetset inside an airport you gain new stages, levels and powers.

The second one is “Zombies, run!”. This is funny but complex for most off players. In this game you need to run (for real) from imaginary zombies. The interface is created with audio features and puts the player to run through real locations to discover special items and, sure enough, avoid zombies. Check the video case below:

Today's third and last example is “Shadow cities”. This one is very curious because it takes the player’s location (with the maps function) and creates a medieval scenario to play fantasy battles.

Despite all the difficulties involved, I still see the geo-location feature as a good opportunity for strategies with mobile entertainment. Let’s think more about this subject.

quinta-feira, 18 de setembro de 2014

terça-feira, 9 de setembro de 2014

A new way to play a memory game

Last year I wrote a post about the importance of recreate gaming mechanics using my card game Álmok as an example. Just to recap, the game used as an example in this post uses the classical mechanics of a memory game with special powers and new card moves (click here to read the content).

Few weeks ago, I was talking about causal games with my friend Terence Reis and he showed me a great mobile app that also recreates the game mechanics of memory: Dizzy Fruit.

Dizzy Fruit is a linear memory game. The interface is very simple and it only shows a drawing of a fruit; the challenge is to say if the next fruit is the same or different than the previous. The more you advance, the faster the game becomes. Check the gameplay below:

Dizzy Fruit is another good example of how we can reinvent a new game using a classic framework. As Juul says (2010, p.2), we are living a “moment in which the simplicity of early video games is being rediscovered”.

Go Gamers!


JUUL, Jesper. A casual revolution. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2010.

terça-feira, 2 de setembro de 2014

Horror and terror in Silent Hills’ playable teaser

Few weeks ago, the gamer community was excited about a mysterious game demo available in the Playstation Network named “P.T.”. Sony announced the creepy game in the Gamescon Conference without more details and broke a record of downloads that day.

After many hours of puzzle solving and collective work in the Internet, gamers discovered the enigma behind P.T., the demo was a Playable Teaser of the new Silent Hill, entitled “Sillent Hills”.

The teaser is a mysterious first person experience inside a haunted house. You walk through the same door in a repetitive way. Each time you pass the same scenario, little details are altered and you need to investigate some puzzles to find clues about why you are jailed in this nightmare. There’s another sick element in this ambient: a kind of evil spirit that appears randomly (and trust me, it’s really creepy).

Check the end of the playable trailer and the moment that we discover the protagonist of this new adventure (Norman Reedus from Walking Dead) and the title of the new game (Silent Hills, now on the plural):

This playable teaser balances horror and terror to create a frightful atmosphere. Terror comes in tense moments of exploration and horror comes with the appearing of the ghost. As Ghita (2014, p.58) says as a “refining of fear, ‘terror’ constitutes a multifocal aesthetic emotion, whose main feature is the state of anxiety, brought about by a well-balanced series of artistic elements: plot, atmosphere, characters. As an intensification of fear, ‘horror’ represents a unifocal aesthetic emotion, whose main feature is the state of revulsion, brought about by the paroxistical development of the afore-mentioned artistic elements.”

In summary, “horror games have a strong tendency to use the uncanny in monster design, sound design, and level design (architecture) in order to induce fear and anxiety. Furthermore, the less the odds are of overcoming an immediate threat the greater the emotional response may be” (NIELSEN; SCHØNAU-FOG, p.45, 2013).

The playable teaser is available for free in Playstation Network. It’s a must play.


GHITA, Catalin. Discussing Romanian Gothic. IN: KATTELMAN, Beth; HODALSKA, Magdalena. Frightful Witnessing: the rhetoric and (re)presentation of fear, horror and terror. Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary Press, 2014.

NIELSEN, Danny Langhoff; SCHØNAU-FOG, Henrik. In the mood for horror: a game design approach on investigating absorbing player experiences in horror games. IN: HUBER, Simon; MITGUTSCH, Konstantin; ROSENSTINGL, Herbert; WAGNER, Michael G; WIMMER, Jeffrey (Eds.). Context Matters! Proceedings of the Vienna Games Conference 2013: Exploring and Reframing Games and Play in Context. New Academic Press: Viena, 2013.