Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Is It A Game If You Can't Play It?

That's the question I'd like to propose over the new title Alarm Playing Game: Dreeps, for iPhone. And honestly I don't know what to make of it. The concept is an RPG for those who don't have time to sit down and really hunker into an RPG because of life: work, adult responsibilities, you know the drill. You set the alarm on your phone to go off a few times throughout the day, maybe during your break or your lunch hour, and the game comes to life while you sit back and relax.

The game plays in the background, which drains a lot of battery life so keep that phone charger handy, and only wakes up when your alarm goes off. The story follows an android boy as he ventures through his digital world, slaying enemies. Sometimes when your phone wakes up, it'll just be him walking across the screen. Other times he may be in the middle of slaying an enemy, or talking to an NPC. But there's virtually no text in the game, so don't worry about missing key points. You basically create the story in your head. Why is this android boy walking around slaying creatures? Who is he talking to? What's his quest? Does he have a mission? Is he going to the grocery store to buy some milk?

That's up to you to decide.

It's an interesting concept, but a game where you don't actually play it sounds more like a really long miniseries you can watch on television. You're not actively engaged in the content. You can miss a couple of episodes but you still have a general idea of what's going on that you don't need to binge watch on Netflix to catch up.

I don't quite know what to make of it. Part of what makes games so unique compared to other entertainment mediums is people being involved in the content. You move the hero across the screen. You choose which dialogue tree to follow. You craft your avatar your way. Dreeps takes that control out of your hands and gives you a story without dialogue. It's prompting you to be a gamer in a different way: instead of creating your path, you have to create the story the follows the android boy's actions.

So maybe it is a video games, a new type that could open up a different field of content. It's interesting, I'll give it that, but a game where you don't actually play seems counter-intuitive. If I'm picking up a game I want to be involved in it. I don't want the game to be Game of Thrones where I'm a passive viewer. What do you all think?

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