We’ve all been there. Tapping away at a mobile screen and suddenly wondering, “Why am I playing this?” Most likely, it’s because we’re addicted to the just-one-more-go nature of mobile gaming, where two minutes turn to 30 before we know it.
GamesBeat reached out to a cross-section of game industry figures to find out exactly what scratches their mobile gaming itch. They’ve been kind enough to confess their habits and guilty pleasures below.
Before we start, though, I should probably confess my own current obsession. It’s Candy Crush Saga. I swipe away at it, getting more and more frustrated with the increasingly ridiculous levels, with my kids in the background laughing at me. I’m currently at level 158, I’ve not spent a cent on the game, and I’m not enjoying it in the slightest. But I can’t stop playing.
Cliff Bleszinski –
“In a pool and not really giving a crap right now.”
Former design director at Epic Games (Gears of War series)
“I’m hooked on 2048. Threes is a better game, but there’s something just so silly and mesmerizing about slamming those simple numbered blocks together.”
A version of 2048 from Ketchapp is available for iOS. The most popular version on Android is from Estoty Entertainment Lab. The original, web-based iteration of 2048 was created by Gabriele Cirulli and was itself based on the game 1024. Confusing, isn’t it?
Mike Roush –
Co-founder of Gaijin Games (Bit.Trip series)
Can Knockdown and Skee-Ball
“After stripping away Flappy Bird, all my amazing indie games, [and] then the games that would make me seem like an asshole for playing — Zynga, King games, etc. … I landed on a few games that have been on my iDevices for years. Can Knockdown and Skee-Ball.
“These are my guilty pleasures. They don’t necessarily take thought or talent to have a great time. However, if you apply yourself, they are amazing experiences. I guess I shouldn’t feel guilty, though. These games are about having fun, and fun I have had.”
Corrinne Yu –
Animation and graphics programmer at Naughty Dog (The Last of Us)
“I read many books on the Kindle app. On my phone, I read more often than I play.
When I do play, Shredder Chess makes a wicked good artificial adversary.”
Jenova Chen –
Co-founder of Thatgamecompany (Journey, Flower)
Candy Crush Saga and Hearthstone
“I play Candy Crash on airplanes a lot since it doesn’t require online all the time. But I have been a lifelong Blizzard fan. I’ve been playing Hearthstone almost every other day. And it’s on iPad now.
I sorta stopped on Candy Crash now once I hit a wall where I have to pay. But before that, I mainly play it when I’m trapped somewhere that I can’t concentrate and need a mere distraction. Places like airplanes, the bus, bathrooms, and when I’m waiting to get connected to another online game.”
Candy Crush Saga by King is available for Android and iOS devices.
Hearthstone (Blizzard Entertainment) is only available on iPad and PC for now although iPhone and Android versions are in production.
Kyle Gabler –
Co-founder of 2D Boy (Little Inferno, World of Goo)
“I’ve played Radiant by Hexage on a tablet from beginning to end over a dozen times. It’s a slow-paced, sparse, repetitive, and ugly space shooter that shuts down my whirring brain like nothing else. The dialogue is stupid and hilarious. The laser weapon is super overpowered. Watcha’ doin’ there, captain? ‘Just flying straight above the steady stream of stars, sir.’”
Jonathan Flook –
Co-founder of Silver Dollar Games (One Finger Death Punch)
“My favorite pastime as of late is sitting at a pub with my buddies playing games on an iPad. The best game by far for this has been Marble Mixer. It’s like crokinole with digital marbles. Marble Mixer has three game modes. Space Mania and Monster Picnic are two modes where you flick a bunch of marbles as fast as possible. It’s a neat way to warm up to the game mechanics, but the real gem is the Table Tactics game mode.
“This game mode has a slowly rotating board with a hole in the center. Flick your marble in the center, and you lose it. Keep it on the board, and you score points. Score more for keeping your marble close to the center. It’s a great turn-based game. You can stop playing for minutes at a time, enjoy some conversation with your friends, and continue where you left off. You don’t have to keep passing the iPad. Everyone plays with the iPad as the centerpiece of the table. Turns are short enough that players don’t get bored between turns. It’s a great way to make mobile gaming social.”
Robert Bowling –
President and creative director of Robotoki (Human Element)
“Threes by Asher Vollmer is my recent mobile addiction due to it’s refreshing and beautiful design, simple yet addictive gameplay, and clever visual flares. When I first downloaded Threes, I burned about three hours besting my personal high score before I could put it down. It has such an intuitive design that you’re able to get into the groove with it almost instantly.
“The lack of in-app purchases and ads make it a more therapeutic experience than any other mobile game I’ve played in recent years and was one addiction that didn’t give me that guilty feeling!”
David Braben –
Chief executive officer of Frontier Developments (Elite: Dangerous)
DragonVale and Scrabble
“I eventually managed to give up DragonVale after what was probably a year, but Clash of Clans and Flappy Bird didn’t suck me in as they did a lot of people I know … but I still find it hard to resist Scrabble. The fact that it only takes a minute to have a go makes it very hard to give up!”
Justin Bailey –
Chief operating officer of Double Fine Productions (Broken Age, The Cave)
“I’m a huge fan of puzzle boxes, but I found that the real-life ones are usually pretty simple. Then I picked up The Room, and it contained the puzzle boxes that I always dreamed of finding! I love the way it’s designed to give you a tactile feeling of actually interacting with the various boxes and puzzles. My 6-year-old daughter intuitively picked up, and now she’s so into it that I’m not allowed to play the sequel without her!”
Julie Urhman –
Founder of Ouya
Triple Town and 2048
“I have two: Triple Town, but Boom Town, their two-minute drill — and 2048: need to beat my partner!”