Me I’m addicted to video games again. Addiction like I haven’t been in years. My left thumb and right index finger are so addicted that I’m borderline arthritic by playing it in the morning as soon as I open my eyes and the last time before I close my eyes at night.
This is ridiculous behavior for a man approaching his mid-50s. Reading Reader’s Digest at bedtime should make your eyelids droop. Planting peonies or opening Werther’s originals should give you arthritis in your hands.It’s a game that’s done it, and it’s not even hardcore stuff involving gods or war or elden rings. casual gamesWe’re talking about Apple Arcade, which we believe will be the most valuable game distribution system on the planet in 2023. Turned my phone into the most fun game console since Neo Geo in the 90’s.
No other game in the last 20 years has given so many games so much quality, variety, imagination and utter whimsy. Prunes have helped trees grow by cutting branches and directing them to sunlight. Solved a serious family problem by fixing civilian gadgets with Assemble With Care. You’ve completed intricate puzzles by dragging water through paint in Tint, built a town in Outlanders, and strengthened the power of words in Word Race. (I think they were adapting alien life forms by fusing cosmic particles with other life forms, but it felt like a warm immersion into a Pink Floyd album.)
I experimented with wacky urban planning on mini-highways, wielded primates in the Gibbon rainforest, farted with Lego frustration in Builders Journey, and pioneered my persona across America on the Oregon Trail. . All this for less than $5/month.
Ironically, I had Apple Arcade without using it for years. This is one of those classic modern subscriptions you buy because it sounds good but you don’t have time to actually use it. I was thinking of canceling it a few months ago, so I finally started using it. Now I’m looking at Xbox Game Pass and wondering if that’s what I should be withdrawing funds from.
Apple Arcade introduced me to my favorite game of 2022, Marvel Snap. I never thought of playing a deck building game, but it was featured so I gave it a try. I can even say it’s a perfect game now. Gameplay, graphics, sound, gloss? It has it all and is great for comic geeks like me, with characters and locations that stay true to the original pages that have hooked me since childhood.
Now, that same subscription has given me what I think might be my favorite game of 2023: Pocket Card Jockey. I never thought I would spend my days playing horse racing solitaire games, but the people who decide which games to release on Apple Arcade are geniuses. These games confirm that the touch screen is the most intuitive and versatile way to control your game. Maybe it was always.
All these games give me pure and simple pleasure. And joy is hard to find these days. Many modern video games make you grimace with stress and frustration. Also, they are complete games and delivered whole. No patches or 10 terabyte updates required on day one. I’m annoyed that Marvel Snap has horrible microtransactions, but you don’t have to buy anything at all to compete in the game. And it’s the first game since FIFA that I feel I can play online at a high standard.
Even games I don’t enjoy (I’m talking to you, Mutazione, and your impossible-to-find-and-place seeds!) appreciate the imagination shown. Stroke my chin. We haven’t seen such a curated and innovative standard of entertainment since Channel 4 in the ’90s.
The back of my cardigan reads: Casual Gamer. I don’t know if I can… My next fantasy might actually be my final, maybe I’ll die before I can finish Starfield, and right now I’m putting the game in one of two categories Or you can indulge in 10 minutes every hour with games featuring superheroes, cards, and cartoon animals.
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