Submission – games as pastime

From the MDA model what I am most interested in – in conjunction with my previous research – is Submission games. This category is home to those games that mean nothing and require minimum thought yet you can play them for hours even though you’re not sure why you’re still playing. It’s usually a case of, ‘gotta beat my last score’ or ‘I almost got three stars that time, how about this time?’ Popular games in this category are Tetris, Angry Birds, Candy Crush, and of course the most recent, Flappy Bird.

For a lot of these games the purpose is not to win – in fact, in many of them you can’t win – but rather to progress, either improving your own score of simply getting a better score than others. The idea that you don’t have a win at the end (you simply get better and better) is much like the learning process itself. There will always be more to learn, as long as you’re looking for it. Also, what better way to learn a language – or anything else – than to play a mindless improvement game? Whip it out at the bus stop, while you’re waiting for the doctor, when your friends are taking forever to show up. It’s mindless indulgence you don’t have to feel bad about wasting hours on.

I’ve included here a selection of different types of games that fall into this ‘more-ish’ category. Note that many of them are simply ‘updated’ versions of old games, with new visuals and pretty graphics. What I’m most interested in – and what inspired me – is games like ‘Sodoku Sushi’ and to a lessor extent, ‘Taptiles’. These are not simply copies of games that already exist, they are edited and redesigned version of the games they are based on. ‘Sodoku Sushi’ has combined the 9 to a row, column and square rule of Sodoku with dropping tiles Tetris style, making it more exciting and challenging. ‘Taptiles’ takes Mahjong into a 3D world and adds things like scoring systems, bonuses and time limits to keep things exciting. In doing so, they’ve turned the aesthetic of Mahjong into something completely different.

Connect Four - mindless indulgence everyone should have heard of

Connect Four – mindless indulgence everyone should have heard of

Minesweeper - where the numbers indicate how many squares around the current tile have a bomb in them

Minesweeper – where the numbers indicate how many squares around the current tile have a bomb in them

Hexxagon - jump one or two places, and when you land next to an opponents tile it becomes yours

Hexxagon – jump one or two places, and when you land next to an opponents tile it becomes yours

Angry Birds - catapult birds into structures in order to kill all of the pigs

Angry Birds – catapult birds into structures in order to kill all of the pigs

Pacman - eat all the dots, and stay away from the ghosts.

Pacman – eat all the dots, and stay away from the ghosts.

Taptiles - an upgraded, 3D version of Mahjong, which is a sllightly more complicated game of 'match'.

Taptiles – an upgraded, 3D version of Mahjong, which is a sllightly more complicated game of ‘match’.

Candy Crush - the Facebook player's Bejeweled. Match at least three in a row for points.

Candy Crush – the Facebook player’s Bejeweled. Match at least three in a row for points.

Faerie Bubbles - I can't remember the original name, but that's what Neopets calls it. Match three or more bubbles to destroy them. Take too long and the screen starts crushing down on you.

Faerie Bubbles – I can’t remember the original name, but that’s what Neopets calls it. Match three or more bubbles to destroy them. Take too long and the screen starts crushing down on you.

Korbats Lab - or single player pong? Hit and destroy all the tiles with the little ball.

Korbats Lab – or single player pong? Hit and destroy all the tiles with the little ball.

Meerca Chase (Snake). Grow your tail by collecting 'neggs' and avoiding the walls, your tail, and the 'bad neggs'.

Meerca Chase (Snake). Grow your tail by collecting ‘neggs’ and avoiding the walls, your tail, and the ‘bad neggs’.

Mouse About. Don't know the original game name, but you can only travel in one drection until you hit an object. Avoid shooting off the screen while collecting all of the fruit.

Mouse About. Don’t know the original game name, but you can only travel in one drection until you hit an object. Avoid shooting off the screen while collecting all of the fruit.

Sodoku Sushi - a fresh, new take on the game of Sodoku.

Sodoku Sushi – a fresh, new take on the game of Sodoku.

Fear Less! an example of a continuous runner in which there are no 'levels' so to speak, and instead you level up your character by collecting coins and achievements. See also 'Jetpack Joyride'.

Fear Less! an example of a continuous runner in which there are no ‘levels’ so to speak, and instead you level up your character by collecting coins and achievements. See also ‘Jetpack Joyride’.

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