On advice of a coworker, I downloaded “Koi Pond” to my iPhone. Gloria said that it was popular with her three year old daughter.
The “game” is just what it says &endash; it’s a koi pond. There is what’re that you can interact with (the main attraction for her daughter and Maximilian), fish to watch swim about, lily pads to place. You can spend real money to buy more fish and ponds, but there really isn’t a point to do that. There are no goals. No achievements. Just you and the pond.
Contrast this with “Koi Pond 2” where I can’t open it without facing a pond full of dead fish because I haven’t logged in and cleaned a fish filter. All the advantages of having a koi pond: watching the fish, the sense of calm, are gone and replaced with the grind of maintaining a pond, and all the guilt and the daily grind of a tamagotchi. All the traps / trappings of contemporary casual gaming are there: daily play rewards, a store that takes real money, unlockables. Far from feeling rejuvenated, I feel like my soul has been sucked dry every time I open it.
I recently watched “Big Man Japan“, the Japanese mockumentary about a Japanese superhero that grows to immense proportions when shocked with electricity. He’s the sixth generation Japanese Apache Chief. The film follows the the big man in his normal life. We see his crappy house. (He can’t hold a normal job, he’s always on call for a monster attack.) We see him deal with his estranged wife and his disinterested daughter. We watch him negotiate with his agent on corporate sponsorship deals; and catch reactions to his battles from person on the street interviews.
Throughout the entire film is the undercurrent of lost glory. The big man’s grandfather, “Number Four,” protected Japan during the 40s. There were shinto ceremonies prior embiggening, and much more pomp and circumstance, but now – like the current big man himself – they are in considerably less glorious.
The film starts out very slow, but once it picks up after the first fight, it starts to move at a nice pace, and gets progressively funnier. It’s netflix streamable, so there’s no reason why shouldn’t watch it now. DO IT NOW!