My CONSTANT phone game Addiction

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Below I describe Monster Dash, but didn’t know the name. It is not available anymore.

I was a very late adopter (for my age demographic) to get a smartphone (I have an iPhone, too many podcasts saved to switch now). Until then the only game I had on my flip phone was this life sim you could go earn to make money, buy a house, date and marry people (you could do same-sex relationship which, with it being from the mid/late 2000s was not bad representation). This sounds very advanced, but their all Atari level mini games. I knew that smart phones had some big games like Angry Birds, or Candy Crush Saga, but none of those appealed to me until I got an iPod touch and saw the extent of games. I did eventually get my iPhone.

I would say I went overboard on games for my first iPhone, but that really was not true in reality. I had two games I played the most. One was Sonic Dash. It was fun at the start, just swipe side to side and use Sonic Characters, that’s fun. The other I can no longer find but was called Monster Run (It’s Dash, Monster Dash you moron) or something where you jump and shoot horror monsters. That was all I needed.

Then I stopped. I’m not sure why, neither game was real money hungry (maybe sonic is now, but I haven’t played it). I think I did it to clear data off my phone during a transfer and I just stopped gaming. I never tried, but it feels so appealing. A full game on your phone, great! Only no game ever appealed to me, that and the very pay to win sounding nature of many games made me stop. I instead got real into social media (which I hate with a passion now).

Pokémon Go, the biggest game for my generation just didn’t look interesting even as I watched 40 year olds pull it out to catch they cute purple rat monster and beat gyms. I still didn’t have games on my phone.

That all changed with the first game: Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Links.

Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Links seemed perfect at first, and was the one I stuck with the longest out of all the games. I am a big Yu-Gi-Oh fan, so using character decks, fighting rivals from the shows,competing online. It took awhile for the flaws to show.

By awhile I mean I played into the Kaiba Tournament thing they had, and got pretty far up the ladder. I had gone through a couple of their raids and events; but after the tournaments everything just sort of kicked in. I got bored is the simple answer. The complex answer is all the compounding flaws. All of the flaws can be traced back to the fact this game is free to play. It being free to play means the developers need to make their money while we play. Some of the ways they do it seemed fine at first. All of it seemed fine at first.

If all the problems stem from the free to play conciete (and that will keep coming back) we should discuss how it makes money. It made money through a couple different avenues. One was converting real money into gems which could be used to buy card packs and booster decks. It’s economy, for what it is, it is only partially bad. It could be better, but feels satisfying enough because you get gems regularly with battle and quest completion. That makes buying packs for new cards easy. However you can only get a single booster deck with gems. After that you need to pay money. That doesn’t seem bad, except come cards are only available in decks, so to get three of a card you’d have to pay around $10 (at my time of playing). That is not acceptable when participating in ranked duels because it is literally pay to win at that point.

The other way it wants your money is based on its time limit. This game has a time limit in so far as you have a set number of duelists you can play until they reappear. There are also portals to duel classic characters from the shows. They cost colored keys in order to duel. You can buy extra duelists who give you an experience boost, and buy keys that reset the number of free duelists, and keys to duel the characters.

I never found these money making plans to be that abhorrent. I more just felt like I was logging on once a day to get a daily reward (something all these games do), clear the world of free duelists and log off. I never found myself unable to stop buying. I never bought in because I knew I wouldn’t be able to stop. I just realized I got nothing out of it, and logged off. I could not say the same for the other two.

Gundam Battle: Gunpla Warfare (a real bad, but incredibly descriptive name for it) was a game I was looking forward to. Gundam is great, and gunpla is fun to build, so a combination would be perfect. When it came out this game too was okay, but less okay.

The gameplay is quality for a game that would ostensibly be played on the phone in a car or in the bathroom. It has a story mode that can be gone through as much as you want, and is also the main reason I quit.

The economy is built on getting random parts, and upgrade existing ones. This economy is based on a similar gem like currency you can buy with real money. This economy was not as rewarding as Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Links and felt like paying was more intended, but not necessary, until it was. The story mode was not challenging. It felt more like a way to get you in and participate in the other sections of the game. That was until a big tournament arc with the main rival. At that point the game skyrocketed in difficulty and felt like no matter what I did I needed better parts, unfortunately all the avenues would take a while. At that point I would repeat the pattern of log on, try, fail, repeat. I too got bored of it and tried the third and final game. 

I stated before that Pokémon Go was not my thing. Pokémon Masters meanwhile felt perfect. You get to battle, use trainers from the game, and have a story. This time too the story was the reason I ended my playing.

I made it through the first released campaign quickly after release. It was satisfying enough, and the economy is not bad. You buy gems (always gems) to get trainers. That was it, and felt like you could increase the trainers skills easily enough without doing it. When I beat the campaign and saw there was going to be a continuation I trained all the Pokémon up to max in preparation for whatever end it had in mind.

The expansion came out and was impossible. I was at the same place of hitting my head against the same boss over and over to no better success. The same log in for the bonus, play, fail, repeat reared its head. I had known by then that meant I was done.

I don’t want to talk about Mario Kart tour other than I didn’t make it long till I saw what would come so,I downloaded Hearthstone onto my phone. It was not even a day or so in that Blizzard had a “Tough Hearthstone E-Sports Moment” and bab a player in support of the Hong Kong protests. So I never even opened the app.

I was lucky. I never got really into spending money in any of these games. Other could not help themselves. If they want to spend money that is their prerogative, but these games want our money. They are designed to tempt us into paying. I never paid, but I wanted to keep playing this zero-sum game.

In starting this blog I continually went to the App Store and arcade store to find a new game. When I began writing I went there less and less and my writing apps more and more. I just look for something to do on my phone. I have a device that I can watch TV, pay my bills, and look up anything I wanted, I needed to find a use for it. I have found one now. I don’t need to keep trying something, wait for it to attempt a grab for my debit card, and uninstall it. I can just create something instead of sink time into a game that just wants my attention.

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