This is an intermission from Shahid’s development diary and tangential revelations. I’m not going to start by talking about Chimera at all, or what I did back in the day. I’m going to talk about Angry Birds.
I hope most people reading this are aware of this popular mobile game is, but haven’t wasted any serious time playing with it. But it appeared on my Palm Pre store, so I downloaded it.
Angry Birds involves the repetition of a fairly simple task, with small gradations of difficulty. To my mind, it isn’t a game as such, any more than smoking is an entertainment. It is a well put together, and perfectly nice toy. Pull. Release. Ahh! Repeat.
But you see, it is called a ‘game’. Otherwise serious people call it a game. Now, it might well be fair to call it a puzzle game at a stretch, but that isn’t what I’m getting it. Its been downloaded over 5 million times, and so it can define itself as Mother Theresa if it so wishes.
With the power of the App Store behind it, the concept of “video game” is slowly being claimed by the casual audience. And they are entitled to do that. When I’m standing on a crowded rush hour train looking at a mobile screen, I don’t really want to read Karl Marx.
But we sort of know that a game should involve considerably more than what currently sells on an iPhone. Discovery, disappointment, surprise, frustration, suspense, success. That sort of stuff.
Chimera was one of the many way-points on the journey that was taking the gaming world to this particular Nirvana. Much as I like taking the head off a zombie with a shotgun, or even destroying pigs with falling masonry, it would be cool to guide more gaming back to epic virtues. Retro is but one way to follow this goal.