First some disclosure: This is a sponsored blog post. The fact is that this blog costs me money to run and while I don’t want to run ads on the site (and since pay per click is very poor money) I’m happy to entertain the notion of somebody paying me to talk about games design.
So it is that I present to you: Quitters Arcade
Now this is an honourable enterprise as the goal is to help people stop smoking but my Dad used to smoke and he claims that if you are serious about it then you don’t “Quit” you “Stop” and call me crazy but I can understand where he’s coming from. However “Stoppers Arcade” really doesn’t have a great ring to it. The site consists of 3 flash games that are allegedly based on arcade games from the 80′s. You have a side-scrolling shmup, a vertical platform game and a reflex game where you throw packets of cigarettes in the bin (which is actually my favourite).
I guess the idea is to raise awareness among youngsters that smoking sucks and it’s easier to give up than you think. At least that is what the press release says. It’s an honourable goal and it may succeed in some small way. However to quote my girlfriend: “people who have been smoking for quite a while, like me, do not really need a silly game to know we should quit” and she really is right about that. But you’re a bugger when you’re a teenager and maybe delivering the message via videogames is a good way to go about it.
OK now since this is a games design blog on to the games.
They’re not great.
“Blast n Quit” is the shooter and to be honest it fails in many ways. The instructions aren’t clear and the first time I played it I found myself floundering around the keyboard for the fire button (Left Control by the way). In addition that screen scrolls too fast, the weapon doesn’t seem powerful enough and it’s difficult to tell what to avoid. The waves don’t feel balanced and it’s just far too difficult.
“Bin Um” is the game where you toss packs of cigs in the bin. It’s actually quite a nice example of a one-button game and once I figured out the relationship between the markings on the charge bar and the distance thrown I found it relatively fun. However the difficulty doesn’t seem to ramp up very much and I felt I could keep a chain going forever. No doubt there will be some ridiculous scores posted as a result of this. Girlfriend didn’t agree however and felt it should start off slower and ramp up as you got better.
“Escape from planet smokey” is a platformer where you have to escape the rising cloud of smoke and get to the top of the screen collecting as many pickups as you can on the way. This one is simple and intuitive although I felt a little harsh as second hand smoke kills you instantly and is hard to spot and time due to the relatively small and obscure graphics.
It is however much easier and in my opinion more fun than recent game Flood The Chamber which I really did not enjoy at all. Also no I have not played VVVVVV yet either.
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