Analysis: Will Apple Arcade’s big additions broaden gaming services’ appeal?

Really Bad Chess

Apple Arcade expanded its offerings this month in a big way. The evolving service added more than 30 games at the beginning of April, and the offerings feature heavy hitters that will make core gamers take notice.

It’s a notable mix of mobile classics such as “Monument Valley” and established blockbusters like “NBA 2K21 Arcade Edition.” The company even added titles based on timeless pastimes such as chess and crossword puzzles. The diverse portfolio caters to a broad audience and makes the $4.99-per-month subscription service an enticing offer. It also brings up the question: If Apple builds it, will gamers come?

The new additions are a sign that Apple is casting a wider net for the service. An older generation may like the idea of the Timeless Classics category. Think of it as the service’s version of Nintendo’s surprisingly great “Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics.” It creates virtual versions of backgammon, crossword puzzles and solitaire.

The versions of these games are made by third-party developers, but some offerings have twists on the classics. For example, “Really Bad Chess” by Zach Gage upends the concept of rooks, knights and queens by creating imbalance.

“People are fascinated by chess but the pristine fairness turns people off,” Gage said. “It’s the idea of fairness. We want the rules of the game to be fair.”

But what gives the games drama is unfairness. He mentioned the idea of underdogs and David and Goliath. “We like it better when there’s unfairness.”

“Really Bad Chess” by Zach Gage upends the traditional rules of Chess by creating imbalance. (Apple) 

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To create more interesting scenarios in “Really Bad Chess,” Gage creates boards where you have four queens and four knights and your opponent has a bunch of pawns. He mixes the pieces up. At the beginning, players have an overpowered hand, but as players improve at the game, it becomes more challenging as the board tilts against them.

“It’s sacrilegious but faithful to the feel of playing it,” he said.

A second group of people targeted by the service may have been raised on mobile games or have turned into gaming fans since the App Store opened back in 2008. These are people who love “Angry Birds” or “Crossy Road.” For this audience, Apple Arcade created another category called App Store Greats.

The offerings here have a distinct feel. These are games built for mobile and take advantage of iPhone and iPad touch screens. That means they’re easy to pick up and play while being great for bite-size fun. Players don’t need to block out an afternoon to play them. The levels are short and the experience is good enough to make that commute home on the train go by quickly.

“Monument Valley” is one of the headliner additions to Apple Arcade. It’s part of the App Store Greats category. (Apple) 

App Store Greats include the likes of “Threes!” The original number slider game is addictive and the type of puzzle game that players can spend hours mastering. Meanwhile, “Fruit Ninja Classic” was one …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

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