Friday, January 7, 2022

Why Certain Games Go Viral

1. In a sense, there’s nothing really new about these new games. Fundamentally, they’re variations of the original idea: Rack up points in a limited period. The pressure of time, combined with the urgency to score, is a timeless strategy for success. Relatedly, as Tetris showed us, the game typically gets harder with time (“levels”).

2. The second age-old strategy is intuitiveness. This is different from simplicity; Candy Crush — or even Minesweeper — isn’t “simple.” But after you play it for a bit, you intuit the rules. Games that go viral don’t need massive instruction manuals or help files because users intuitively grasp how the games work.

3. Finally, games that go viral have a recognizable storyline. Save the girl. Beat the bad guy. Claim the trophy. When a user succeeds in a viral game, he doesn’t do so only on a virtual basis; he can also relate his success to a real-world counterpart.

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