A few years ago, when casual “bite-sized” games were becoming all the rage, I couldn’t wrap my head around why developers and publishers were jumping on the bandwagon. Why do I want to play some small game when there’s an epic 40-hour super blockbuster game waiting to be tackled? It was completely beyond me. Whatever.
Now realize, I lived in Minneapolis at this time, where it’s 10-below and snowing sideways for a good percentage of the year. The couch is where you live. You don’t like going outside unless you’re out of food and beer and any other necessities, and most of the time you’d just have food delivered. Endless weekend gameplay sessions of World of Warcraft, Team Fortress 2, and the latest AAA title that came across my plate consumed my world. Sure, I’d go out with friends on the weekends, ski, and drive by silly SUVs that would end up in the ditch – but for the most part, I didn’t have a problem with marathon game sessions when the weather was craptacular -- and that was a lot.
Considering the summer lasts about 15 minutes in Minnesota, during that time, I’d mainly be outside, only to login to World of Warcraft late at night or go through a few laps of Mario Kart when it was raining. Game time would be lessened, but it would still be there.
Since I’ve moved to Los Angeles, my entire lifestyle has completely changed over the past six months. Outside of the fact that I’m working different hours, helped build the Nerd Army, launched a new website, and survived E3 -- the weather is generally pretty fantastic. I’m outside soaking up the sun and exploring (aka getting lost quite a bit) a new city. This has relegated to me only playing and completing a few of the heavy hitters, but playing a lot of smaller bite sized games. I’m freaking addicted to them.
My inner gamer still hungers, but since I might only have 20-30 minutes a day, I don’t want to just try and complete a quest in World of Warcraft, hop on Xbox Live and play some Left 4 Dead with friends, or complete a minute chunk of inFAMOUS. For some reason, I feel like that if I can’t devote a pile of hours to a game in a night, I should play something much quicker. Thank God there’s enough options for that, and now this casual quick game scenario finally has hit home.
I just finished Peggle on iPhone over the weekend, and I’m quickly making my way through another PopCap treasure, Plants vs. Zombies. From Uno to Joust to going back and playing the expansion for PixelJunk: Eden, I’m in and out in 20 minutes and I’ve blasted through enough levels to satisfy my craving. Not only that, but I feel like I actually accomplished something. Regardless if they’re simple quick games, some have as much depth as full priced games, to boot.
Granted, moving to Los Angeles from Minneapolis has been one of the most interesting experiences I’ve ever had, but I never imagined it would affect the type of gamer I am, or turn me on to a type of game that I used to completely shy away from. I still want to get to level 80 in World of Warcraft, and there’s a stack of games sitting next to my consoles and PC that are waiting to be unwrapped. Until I can figure out how to relegate my schedule so I can get back to my normal gaming addiction, it looks like I’m just waiting for it to rain.
It rains a lot of Los Angeles, right?