Casual Games of Assembly

Originally this was going to be part of the same post as the one on Puzzles of Aesthetics: I started out talking about fashion games, in general. But I quickly realized that JoJo’s Fashion Show was one kind of game and all the other fashion games were something else entirely.

So this half of the post is about games like Vogue Tales, Dress Shop Hop, and — by extension — Cake Mania, Turbo Subs, Go Go Gourmet, and the astonishing Golden Hearts Juice Bar. (That’s not a good kind of astonishment.)

There’s not a lot of IF stuff in here at all, really, since the kind of challenge involved is almost entirely about speed, and wouldn’t translate well.

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Puzzles of Aesthetics

A few weeks ago, I complained about the casual game Home Sweet Home that it wasn’t a very entertaining game, being asked to decorate a house to client specifications. (I ragged even more on the “construction” part of the game, which manages to be easy and annoying at the same time, and to bear little or no resemblance to the real-life activity that it is supposed to be simulating.) Other people evidently liked the game more than I did.

Since then, though, I’ve been thinking about this question: how do you design a puzzle or goal-oriented interaction in which the player’s job is to make aesthetic judgments?

I’ve seen a number of different gestures towards this kind of puzzle in recent games.

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