Time Wasters

I’ve been playing video games since they first came out with Pong.  I’ve never really been all that adept at any of them, but when console video games came out, I, like many in my generation, spent a good deal of time plunking many quarters into the games through my teens and even into my twenties both in college and after.  When online gaming became the norm, and video arcades started to close enmasse, I still played, but with about the same amount of good fortune, except with some of the games, (usually the ones on Facebook) it again ended up costing me a good amount of money trying to come out ahead.

Which of course is the whole point of these games, to make money for their developers.  From Mafia Wars to Boom Beach, in order to get ahead, you have to end up paying a bit in order to advance the game.  Otherwise what can take mere minutes if you cough up $$, may end up taking days, if not weeks to accomplish.  The companies bank on your lack of patience, and are ready to take your money in the form of credit card payments, through your smartphone, and it’s easy money for them to gobble up.

For the most part, I don’t really play too many online games, for that very reason.  I have a low threshold of patience when it comes to waiting for something to occur, and that can be costly, considering there are usually millions of others experiencing the same thing, and paying for the privilege of getting a little bit ahead.  It’s big business, and I’m just a little fish in their pond.

Over the weekend, I was looking through Facebook and a paid ad caught my eye for a game called ‘Castle Wreck‘.  It appeared to be a very simple game, you get a cannon, and cannonballs, and fire them at castles, attempting to destroy them.  I’d been looking for a game like this for some time, where the object was pretty straightforward, and it plays into my male proclivity for both slapstick comedy and cartoon wanton destruction.

I flipped over to the Google Game Store and looked up the game, of course there’s a free version as well as a paid one.  I tried the free one to start, just to see if it would appeal to me.  Right off the bat, the ads were annoying.  Play a level, then wait 30 seconds for an ad to play.  Wash, rinse, repeat.  After about ten levels, I found I had a knack for the game, and I actually liked it enough to cough up $3.49 for the paid version.  Having the ads excised definitely made it much more appealing.  Although, on any level, after you’ve exhausted your initial complement of cannonballs, you can ‘buy’ three more by watching a 30 second ad.  But if you can’t successfully pass the level with that, there’s no more to be had, you have to reset the level and try again.

In the past two and a half days, I’ve managed to get to level 200.  Of course the game is a bit slow in loading sometimes, and I’ve been reset down 30 levels twice, which was a bit frustrating.  I checked online to see how many levels there actually are in the game, and the highest one that’s mentioned is Level 414.  Apparently as one gets close to that, the castles get harder to knock down, and there are some people reporting the game is glitching there, causing the level to be unwinnable.  I too have been experiencing some quirky behavior in the game, though I haven’ t written to the developers to mention it yet. The game was first listed on Google Play Store and the iStore around February, so its pretty much still in its infancy, compared to some of the other games out there.

Hopefully there will be some decent upgrades in the future.  At present there only seem to be a total of five separate castle designs, with a bonus level being the same design over and over.  There are no ‘points’ awarded for finishing levels, after ten or so levels you can choose a different variation on the cannon you’re using, but a lot of them are fairly silly designs.  I’ve gone back to the most basic one that I started with, because it doesn’t have anything fancy and blinking.  No distractions.  All the better to be able to aim and concentrate on the castle destruction.

I expect if it doesn’t get updated and changed, I will be tired of it after a week or so.  Since it only took me fewer than three days to reach level 200, its likely I will max it out by the weekend.  All the levels are replayable, so that helps, at least somewhat.  Should be interesting at any rate.

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