As a kid, I was spoilt for choice with some truly fantastic games which offered so much fun without requiring the lightning reflexes with which I was clearly not blessed (as anyone who’s watched me get killed repeatedly on Counterstrike can attest).
While most games of that time (early-to-mid 90s for those wondering) had utterly arcane interfaces, these gems kept it simple, offering you what you needed, and not bothering you with what you didn’t.
They were in my opinion better than the equivalent games around right now in that a player could understand the systems underneath the skin and begin to think up ways to exploit them, and that’s really not a bad thing. One of my bugbears with many modern games is that quite frankly they take far too much time to get ones head around, and at my age I just don’t have that much time to spare.
Games on PC at the moment come mostly (I say mostly, there are some gems, mostly in the Indie space, which don’t fit these patterns) in two flavours. The first is big-budget COD/FIFA/GenericWarGame3. Lots of reflexes, not much thinking. The second is the strategy game, which has sadly become far far too complex.
It is a sad fact that as any genre (of anything) evolves it will tend to become more complex. Flight sims were fantastic fun back in the old F19 Stealth Fighter days, where the game didn’t require you to be an actual pilot to fly the plane. Modern flight sims have lost their market because they’ve become too hard-core.
The same has happened within Strategy and Management. Examples include AI War (horrible interface really pushes users away) and Crusader Kings 2 (I get the feeling there’s an amazing game lurking in there, but the interface is terrible and it’s never really that clear whether anything you’re doing has an effect and if so what that effect is). Looking into management games, we have Football Manager, where the forums are beset with users who find the game takes too long to play and is more of a chore than a game and the various Tycoon knock-offs, most of which display absolutely no creativity.
In the mobile space things are much much worse, with most games being fairly trivial (Angry Birds springs immediately to mind) and offering little in the way of proper gameplay. I did find myself enjoying a couple of Kairosoft’s games (Game Dev Story in particular) but found that they were re-using a single idea in all their games and the long-term playability was hampered by being a little too simple in places.
So, with all that in mind, this is where I set the long term goals of Koala Software (which absolutely won’t happen immediately, just to make that quite clear). My long term goal is to create something of the class of Sim City, Powermonger, Theme Park, Theme Hospital, etc for mobile phones and to create a PC version worthy of the platform.
There will be no social garbage (the Android Theme Park game is a sad indication of the modern trend towards pestering your friends and buying upgrades to make the game not suck), no pay-not-to-grind, and a real focus on creating games that let you use your brain rather than just your twitch reflexes.
It’ll take some time but it’ll be a fun ride.
The Koala Keeper