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; users intuitively grasp the rules.

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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