Reality is a Game

Thoughts on the evolving game world around us.

Tag: Tiny Tower

Nimblebit versus Zynga

Nimblebit has released an image (left) that points out the similarities between their game TinyTower and Zynga’s game called Dream Heights.dear zynga

This image has been making the rounds, for commentary on it feel free to check out the conversation on Reddit. Copying style and games mechanics is not a new thing in the gaming industry.

I find it interesting how mad people are at this. If it wasn’t Zynga (which many gamers love to hate) I wonder if this would have got the reaction on the net that it did.

Here’s a choice quote from Pocket Gamer on Zynga copying Tiny Tower:

Other mobile and social developers have also thrown their hats into the ring.

Among them was Daniel Cook, CCO of Spryfox, who described those who copy and sell the works of others as “horrible human beings.”

“It doesn’t matter if it is your job. Or if you need the money. Or if some boss told you to do it,” Cook said.

“You pushed the pixels that hurt someone.”

TAUW shares with us that Zynga may have tried to buy Nimblebit in the past:

I have asked NimbleBit about getting acquired before. The brothers seem like prime candidates for a larger company to come along and buy them out, and indeed Ian Marsh says during this whole affair that Zynga has offered to purchase NimbleBit and its games before. But as they told me, these guys aren’t in it for the money. Certainly their games are very lucrative, but the Marsh brothers have said that they just like making great games on their own and will continue to do that for as long as they can.

Some Tiny Thoughts on Tiny Tower

Tiny Tower by NimbleBit has been on the app store best sellers list for some time now and only recently did I try it out. The game is clearly influenced by so-called social (Facebook) games and directly takes some mechanics from Facebook games for monetization, the question that always comes to my head when playing gaes like this: which came first, the plan for the game or the plan for how to make money.

Either way, a good free to play game focuses on the play experience first and foremost. Only after the primary game elements have been figured out should the pay mechanics be factored in.* Essentially one should be able to play the entire game and enjoy it without ever paying a cent. The games that dont do that end up not being played for a long time or die in the market place.

What about Tiny Tower then?

Tiny Tower is similar to SimTower in that you build a skyscraper and you manage a couple resources as you build it. Tiny Tower is really simple when it comes to what you manage: money.

The money in Tiny Tower is handled like most freemium games with a ‘hard’ and a ‘soft’ currency. You can earn both in game, but the as always the soft currency is easier to get. Other than currency the only thing I felt I should care about was the happiness of my 8-bit tenants. Their happiness doesn’t matter because it’s not related to anything meaningful.

The game gets repetitive – and fast.

Somewhere in-between building floors 10-20 you’ve experienced everything the game can provide. This gives the player little incentive to keep playing, indeed the only thing that will likely keep people going is how many friends are also playing the game (thus the social aspect), but even that is unrewarding.

The only thing that kept me playing as long as I did was the theme of the 8-bit world and their tongue in cheek tone throughout the game. For example, instead of Facebook the game has BitBook that provides insight into the tenants.

It turns out that Tiny Tower is getting missions and soon. Perhaps I’ll update the game and try playing it again.

*I am fully aware that there are always exceptions. There should be or talking about games would get boring fast.

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