I spent all of the fall semester student teaching! And while I do so enjoy working a full-time job for no pay while being charged thousands of dollars in tuition to tick off a box on a checklist to let me get a job I’ve done for over a decade, it does tend to fill up my time with pointless busywork. So here’s a review from Anne, currently in rehab for Android game addiction!
Recently, I found and downloaded a free-to-play game for Android called Greedy Cave. This is not a new release or anything, I’m just, as usual, so late to the party that even the clean up crew has finished up and left. That being said, I found myself becoming more and more caught up in the game. I had to sit there and think about one of the phrases in that last sentence, ‘caught up’. I almost wrote immersed, then deleted the letters and wrote enamored but of course that wasn’t right either.
This is not a game you play to enjoy. That is not to say it is a bad game. In fact, the creators of this game have discovered one of the oldest tricks in the gaming handbook and are doing it quite well. This trick is to create a level grinding game that rewards you in several ways. The first is that discovery and the act of moving through the levels will lead to prizes. Wow, acknowledgement for doing what we’re meant to do, thanks for the participation prize. But it happens just rarely enough that we keep wanting to move forward. Additionally, by moving forward you gain gold and also open chests, both of which get you better gear. Now, this in and of itself isn’t exactly stimulating but here is where the developers shine; when a player goes out into the over-world, they are forced to walk by other players and let me tell you, the first time you have to walk up to the weapon forge wearing a hat made of sticks tied together and what looks like someone ran off with Tarzan’s loin cloth while a host of Korean avatars walk, sit, and even fall asleep wearing armor that makes them look like Sith Lords, Nazgul, or King Arthur, you start looking to find better armor fast.
I have put close to thirty hours into this game so far which, having played through Disgaea a couple of times and having racked more than 200 hours up on one of those play throughs that probably doesn’t sound like much but remember that this is a phone app. There is nothing inherently wrong with phone apps but why am I putting this kind of time into a game that has no end in sight and which comes down to a hard core gamer’s version of dressing up paper dolls. Yet, I can’t seem to walk away. Trails of Cold Steel, a game I spent money to buy new when I never buy new has sat unplayed for nearly a week and a half for a game that asks one to follow narrow corridors, fight monsters, open boxes, and dress up so they can go down slightly different colored corridors, fight slightly harder monsters, open fewer chests, and dress up like someone prepping for Comic-Con.
But remember, I don’t have a problem. I can quit anytime I want to…I just need slightly better armor first so if you’ll excuse me.