Feb 14, 2014

    Forget Flappy Bird, try Made In Singapore games

    I FLAPPED my hands in exasperation. This new game, Flappy Bird, had gone viral and every geek was talking about it at my table during a contact lunch last week. One of those talking about it was a tech journalist who had hit a score of 30.

    Should be easy to beat, I thought. I was dead wrong.

    I downloaded the game and started playing it, eager to prove that the gamer in me could easily beat such an uninspiring score.

    Tap, tap, tap, crash! My first attempt ended in complete disaster. I could not even get the bird past the first post. After three tries, I hit a personal high score of 1. After eight tries, I finally managed to clear four posts before crashing.

    The premise is very simple - you must guide a bird through openings in posts. Every post you pass earns you one point. Every tap on the screen sends the bird flying up for a short distance before it free-falls to the ground.

    To succeed, you need to time the taps. It's that simple in theory, but it is very difficult to play. The game leaves very little room for error - you need to master the timing of your taps to succeed.

    If I had kept going, I am sure my score would improve. But I refused to waste my time after 15 minutes with the game. Why? Because it really is a very silly game. It appeals to the masses because it is devilishly simple to learn. But it is so hard to master that people keep trying and trying.

    There are no mini bosses to fight, no new birds to unlock, no difference in the design of the posts. There are no objectives to achieve, no plot to enjoy and the developer did not even bother to create background music. So why is everyone playing it?

    There is only one reason - the desire to have the highest score among one's friends. And because the score seems so "low" to beat, beating your friends seems achievable. The game has a leaderboard to show who is the leader among your friends playing.

    There are many other better games available if the aim is to prove one's prowess in gaming. I would recommend some amazing games from our very own Singapore game studios, instead of wasting your time on this birdie fad, which I have no doubt will die off as quickly as it has started.

    True enough, the developer took the game down on Monday. The game made its App Store debut on May 24 last year.

    Try games such as Pixel People, where you can create your own city. Challenge others in real-time combat in Heroes Of Honor, where only the smartest and the strongest will survive in this castle-building and raiding game.

    For some fingerswiping action, have a go at Monster Blade, which plays like Infinity Blade but with deeper gameplay.

    On Tuesday, Digital Life crowned the winners of our inaugural Best Made-In-Singapore Games awards, which is a category in our annual Digital Life Awards where we recognise the best gadgets and games of the year before.

    Organised this year with the support and sponsorship of the Media Development Authority, the team shortlisted 10 of the best games that were developed here last year.

    At least four of these games - Pixel People, Monster Blade, Brave Frontier and Puzzle Trooper - have each passed the million-downloads mark.

    This is just the beginning of the rise of Made In Singapore games.