On April 4th, the New York Times posted a cover story on what author Sam Anderson calls “stupid games.” Yes, Sam Anderson has openly labeled Angry Birds, along with its posse of mobile games with similar simple and addictive experiences, as “stupid games.” He has even gone as far as to trace back the lineage of “stupid games” to the first Tetris on the original Nintendo Game Boy. But upon reading in the article that he is doing so “half descriptively, half out of revenge for all the hours [he’s] lost to them,” who can really blame him?
The article is titled “Just One More Game…” and is definitely an interesting read. I would recommend it to anyone looking to design mobile games or addicting apps, or really anyone with an interest in the “whys” of game addiction. But what is also very interesting about the article is what New York Times’ multimedia producer Jon Huang decided to add.
On the first page of the article is an adaptation of an open source game created by Erik Andersson called (earmuffs!) Kick Ass. In a blog post on the NY Times blog The 6th Floor Samantha Henig talks about the creation of the game and it’s adaption to the NY Times cover story. It is a novel addition to the article, particularly given the context. In Samantha’s blog post, indie game designer Zach Gage makes an interesting point about the inclusion of the game in the article.
“It’s cool that he made a game that invades that space,” Gage said. “It forces you to reconsider — wow, this is going to come off really stupid or at least academic — but it forces you to reconsider the object that you’re reading and what it is as a fundamental object. It’s very easy to read The New York Times in print and read The New York Times online and think that reading The New York Times online is functionally the same. But it’s not. It’s really different. You’re existing in a digital space that has other people in it and is a manipulatable experience.”
With the rise of responsive design and the constant push for more interactivity online it’s sometimes easy to sit around and say “yeah yeah, I know this.” But occasionally it is nice to be reminded of this fact by seeing other’s play on it, and to be reminded that it holds opportunities that haven’t been explored. It’s also nice to see the NY Times having a little bit of fun with their posts! (You can even blow up their ads!)