Episode 100 – Malaria-Ebola and Freemium Games


Our 100th episode is extremely special with us all in one room and with two special guests Jonathan Estes and Porter Stowell. Jonathan is the CEO of Smart Games Systems, Inc. SGSYS has been working in subsaharan Africa on games for infant mortality and malaria vectors. The transfer of habits from games to real life can truly be a question of survival around health and safety concerns. Exploring these themes we enjoy an amazing conversation about playing games at work! We discuss how games are being used to extend beyond simulation to real engagement of individuals with replayability and increased effectiveness over time.

Showlinks:
SouthPark avatar creator
Smart Game Systems
Insecticide Resistance Video about digital game
Smart Green Heroes Kickstarter – Preview
Chocolate Sauce and Ebola
Zork
Encase Portable Raspberry Pi Gaming Console
Raspberry Pi Keyboard
Ebola and the Walking Dead
Model UN
Doomsday Clock
Car TalkTom Magliozzi – RIP
Sparx
Let The Games Begin! Game Theory Nov. 13th

What we are playing:
Jonathan – Terra Mystica
Phaedra – Way Too Many, currently judging the serious games challenge
Michael R. – World of Warcraft – Live Blog
Michael M. – Sousaphone Hero
Porter – Bomberman with Time Manipulation

Play

Games I am no longer Playing

As we’ve discussed on the show many times, we all play various games. Lately I’ve been re-evaluative some of the daily grind games I am playing. I tend to play the following games daily right now:

  • Simpson’s Tapped Out
  • Real Racing 3
  • Clumsy Ninja
  • Threes
  • Tiny Tycoon
  • Dungeon Keeper
  • World of Warcraft

Each of these games takes approximately 10-15 minutes out of my day, and as such can be a bit of a time sink. As such, I’ve decided to start cutting back. I have way too many things going on and can’t give-up that much time each day. On top of that I have to balance what the benefit I get from the game, verses the amount of time that it takes each day. So let’s take a look at which games are going to make the cut to keep consuming my days.

Simpsons Tapped Out – I really enjoy the show, and have been watching it since it first came out. The developers of the game have done a really good job of updating content and tying it back to the TV show. I find that the social aspects of connect to other friends’ Springfields to be cool. Everyone builds them with a different aesthetic in mind, or just to hit certain achievements. And while some of the content can only be achieved thru in app purchases, there is enough content that can be achieved without in app purchases. I’ve been playing this for a few years now.

Real Racing 3 – My day job includes working with the automotive industry and create connected vehicle platforms. The physics and the graphics on the iPad are incredible, and the choice of cars and tracks continues to open up while you play. Each race can take between 30 seconds (drag racing) and 8 minutes (long tracks). You can race in real time with a pickup race with random match ups, or virtually race with others, via time comparisons. There is a mechanism to upgrade your cars, and buy new cars, based on your winnings. Started playing this one over the Christmas holidays.

Clumsy Ninja – Leveling up a clumsy ninja requires that you use various devices to send him bouncing around, deflecting items, punching things, and jumping from great heights. The designers have used the cuteness factor along with great physics to make a very compelling experience. The grind is slow, and repetitive. You can fast past some of the grind by buying gems. I’ve been playing this one since the Christmas holidays.

Threes – Math and puzzles with a competitive bent, what could possibly be better than this? After hearing about this one, and seeing that Michael M. has been playing this one for a few weeks, I had to pick it up. Each game requires that match up multiples of three, and increase the numbers. However, you end up moving large parts of the board at a time, and when you can’t add up new multiples of three the games is over. A great feature is this games is a purchase game with NO in app purchases.

Tiny Tycoon – We’ve talked about this one for some time on the show. You basically use FourSquare information to buy properties, upgrade them, hire people to work at your locations, and then level up your own skill by doing various jobs at the locations. The game also requires you to use bucks to buy more properties or get more supplies. You can earn bucks over time, or use in app purchases to get more. I’ve been playing this game for a while.

Dungeon Keeper – A great PC game from the 90’s reimagined for the iPad. You get to play an evil builder of Dungeons and you get to build up various rooms, use your minions to build things, train up various evil creatures, raid other dungeons, and protect your own from invasion from others. This game has great sentimental value. You can speed up the game thru purchase of Gems, but you need to use gems for a lot of other activities. I’ve been playing this game for a month or so.

World of Warcraft – The mother of all good MMOs, I can’t believe it’s been around for 10 years. Blizzard keeps adding expansions, adding new races, more end game raids, and continuing the model of community for Guilds. Blizzard has recently made the game both a monthly purchase, and adding a store for in app purchases. I’ve been playing this game since 2005.

So, how many am I going to give up? I recently deleted Tiny Tycoon and Dungeon Keeper, and will probably delete Clumsy Ninja. The constant need push to get you to use in app purchases is a major distraction to any value or fun I might get from these games. I’ve also given up on the various Angry Birds games and Plants vs. Zombies. What are the games you are playing? Are you going to give up any of them and why?