Topic: AdVenture Capitalist /
Why do you think idle games are so fun?
Thanks for posting this, Tom. Like you, I am endlessly fascinated by game theory and design. As for this game, I think there’s something unusual going on here. I think that it’s a simple thing, but it has the potential to change the face of gaming.
Why does AC have such an avid following? How is it possible for any idle game to get 5m+ plays in such a short time?
Certainly the responsive and helpful devs have played a large part in it’s success. But many games have helpful and responsive devs: I’m not saying it’s not great – because it is! But it doesn’t explain the game’s success.
Nor does ease of play. For AdVentureCapitalist is actually not the easiest game to play. It is as easy to learn as any idle game, with about the same progression from simple to complex, yet there are some issues with the physical manipulation of the game that detract from it’s overall enjoyment. Difficulty with the number of upgrades and the awkward manner in which upgrades and manager screens are manipulated seem to be the most common complaints.
The music is fun and easy on the ear, but there’s nothing groundbreaking or particularly compelling about it. Ditto with the graphics: looks nice; it’s not exactly Degas, but it doesn’t need to be.
The humour is perfectly positioned in that it is amusing and unobtrusive, but will elicit a chuckle or two to those who ponder it. (That is a professional assessment btw… I was a gag writer for years so I know whereof I speak. :P)
I think that a lot of the game’s success comes from all of the things mentioned above, but there is one last thing… one facet other games lack. And I think this is not only the secret of AdVentureCapitalist’s success, but may well become a new trend in gaming.
I refer to the Reset Reward. The concept of rewarding a restart is counterintuitive to basic game design, but HyperHippo Games came up with a way to do it that makes it not only make sense, but makes replaying the game fun and progressively more rewarding for each restart. It’s brilliant. It’s as if in a kingdom that had only tasted bread, someone brought cake for the first time. :)
Now imagine the Reset Reward concept applied to … well, just about any game! How about games that have a reset reward… of increasing tower range/damage in TD games; to make you faster/opponents slower in race games; greater income generation in rpg; longer time to solve in puzzle games; higher jump in platformers…
The application of this simple concept is breathtaking in it potential because it makes any game imminently more playable. For one thing, it guarantees eventual success at a game — which, incidentally, means devs could make their games that much more devilishly difficult for hardcore gamers! The new brag, “I finished it on hard with zero restarts.” and the response, “I’m not that good. I restarted three times on easy!” alone would automatically increase the number of plays by a significant amount. Assuming the game was at least moderately playable game plays would be dramatically increased. Think of how many more game plays perennial favorites like Cyclomaniacs, Kingdom Rush, or Burrito Bison’s Revenge (to name a few) would get!
I really think that it’s this concept of a reset reward that fuels the engine of AC’s success. I expect to see other games utilizing this concept soon.