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Best simple-mechanics, casual games of the last decade

RamiusRamius Joined: July 19, 2000Administrator, ClubPA admin
edited March 2011 in Games and Technology
Yes, I know poll threads don't belong here. Yes, this is an abuse of power.

But with that out of the way, I'm trying to put together a list of the best casual, simple-mechanics games of the last 10 years, and I feel like I'm coming up way short on contenders, so I'd like to survey the crowd here for ideas.

When I say "best", what I really mean is games that have wide appeal (played by children, adults and grandparents) and game designs that are widely emulated or copied to produce "knock-offs" of the original. Sometimes, if a game is itself a knock-off, but is the breakout game of that game type, then I think that is the one to list. For instance, I have a feeling Angry Birds is copying some earlier games to a large degree, but every game of that type from here on out will be compared to Angry Birds, not to its predecessors, so that makes it the current "authoritative version" of that game mechanic.

When I say "simple mechanics" I mean to exclude things like Farmville, Mafia Wars, Cake Mania, etc.

On my list so far:
  • Zuma
  • Peggle
  • Angry Birds
  • Bubble Breaker (I mean this: http://www.bubblebreaker.org/ but I think this is a knock-off. I have no idea who makes the authoritative version of this game)
  • Bubble Shooter (like this: http://www.mybubbleshooter.com/ again I don't know who gets credit for authoritative version)
  • Dust (not sure this one meets the criteria, but my son and nephews have spent so many hours playing this game I felt it warranted including)
  • Bejeweled
    • Here's a thought - do games like Jewel Quest and 7 Wonders count as a separate game from Bejeweled, or are they knock-offs?
  • Mahjongg (not sure if I can include this one, and then exclude other ancient classics like pac-man, centipede, breakout, frogger, etc. - or maybe those all should also be included on the list. What do you think?)

So like I said - this list is too short. What ideas spring to mind for you?

======
Editing in some suggestions from the responses below.
  • Tiny Wings - yes, definitely the type of game I had in mind.
  • Geometry Wars - yeah, seems to fit
  • Wii Sports, Brain Age - borderline from the perspective of "simple mechanics" and "of the last decade", but worth writing down as "maybes"
  • Tap Tap Revenge - Tricky because it is tied to touch platforms only, and to a degree it is copying the Guitar Hero formula, not sure if I'll keep this one on the list or not.
  • [strike]Infinity Blade[/strike] - nope, doesn't meet the "simple mechanics" requirement.

Ramius on
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Posts

  • ThePrimmThePrimm Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Tower defense games like Plants vs Zombies seem to be pretty popular casual games

  • QuetzatcoatlQuetzatcoatl Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Geometry Wars! It's not as original as the ones on the list, but it really stood out at the time and was one of the first big XBLA games.

  • RamiusRamius Joined: July 19, 2000 Administrator, ClubPA admin
    edited March 2011
    ThePrimm wrote: »
    Tower defense games like Plants vs Zombies seem to be pretty popular casual games

    Agreed. Would Plants vs Zombies be the authoritative game of this type, then? And if so, then is this list skewing too heavily into the Popcap game library? Or would that just be appropriate seeing as they are a $100 million-plus casual games developer?

  • mere_immortalmere_immortal So tasty!Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Peggle.

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  • RamiusRamius Joined: July 19, 2000 Administrator, ClubPA admin
    edited March 2011
    Peggle.

    Reading comprehension ftw. ;)

  • gtrmpgtrmp Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Bubble Shooter is actually a knockoff of Puzzle Bobble/Bust-A-Move.

  • mere_immortalmere_immortal So tasty!Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Ramius wrote: »
    Peggle.

    Reading comprehension ftw. ;)

    I looked through that bloody list twice and didn't see it.

    I'm going to bed.

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  • CenoCeno Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Would Infinity Blade qualify as a breakout? Controls are simple as are the rpg qualities.

  • Skull2185Skull2185 is an A-hole. but not 100% a dick.Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Ceno wrote: »
    Would Infinity Blade qualify as a breakout? Controls are simple as are the rpg qualities.

    Not played by children, adults and grandparents though.

    I'm going to go ahead and toss Wii Sports out there.

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  • RamiusRamius Joined: July 19, 2000 Administrator, ClubPA admin
    edited March 2011
    Ceno wrote: »
    Would Infinity Blade qualify as a breakout? Controls are simple as are the rpg qualities.

    I haven't played it, but from what I understand of it I would consider it too complex to be called a "simple mechanics" game. I couldn't possibly include Infinity Blade and then go on to exclude Cake Mania, and then I'd also feel like I'm starting to slide down the slippery slope toward including Farmville, and I know that's not where I mean to end up with this list.

  • Xenogears of BoreXenogears of Bore Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Wii Sports.

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  • mere_immortalmere_immortal So tasty!Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Would Just Dance qualify?

    Much simpler than DDR and spawned a bunch of similar games.

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  • MiserableMirthMiserableMirth Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Wii sports resort. Very accessible arcade fun.

  • RamiusRamius Joined: July 19, 2000 Administrator, ClubPA admin
    edited March 2011
    Here's one I just thought of - how about Tap Tap Revenge?

  • gtrmpgtrmp Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Guitar Hero/Rock Band is probably simple enough to qualify.

    Likewise for the individual games/activities in Brain Age. Actually, Brain Age probably qualifies more for the fact that it was the first Western video game to feature Sudoku.

  • Xenogears of BoreXenogears of Bore Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Another good one is Ouendan. It has literally two different actions. Too bad it really wasn't that popular.

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  • Mr PinkMr Pink I got cats for youRegistered User regular
    edited March 2011
    I'm not sure what Tiny Wings might be copying, but it seems to be catching on like wildfire. Kind of too early to say if it'll stick around though.

    Also, The Incident. Can't get much more simple on controls, but man is that game addictive and fun.

  • SploozooSploozoo Grillaface Richmond VARegistered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Tiny Wings, Tiny Wings, Tiny Wings...

    Simple, beautiful, elegant... I can't praise the design enough. A masterpiece IMO.

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  • RamiusRamius Joined: July 19, 2000 Administrator, ClubPA admin
    edited March 2011
    yep, I think Tiny Wings definitely qualifies.

  • Lindsey LohanLindsey Lohan Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    I would say Desktop Tower Defense might deserve the slot over Plants vs Zombies.

    Picross or Pictross 3d would be way up there on my simple to play list.

    World of Goo might also be a contender for the list.

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  • heckelsheckels Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    What about Snood...that might be just outside the 10 year mark but it was a great game...

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  • DrakeDrake Blow it all up ForeverRegistered User regular
    edited March 2011
    How about Osmos and whatever flavor of Galcon you prefer?

    And yeah, I'd say World of Goo should be a good contender.

  • RamiusRamius Joined: July 19, 2000 Administrator, ClubPA admin
    edited March 2011
    Hrm, I'm wondering if any of the Yeti Sports games qualify? And speaking of penguins, my kids love Learn to Fly - but I don't have a feel for if this has widespread appeal - has anyone here NOT heard of it?

  • NoseterNoseter Registered User
    edited March 2011
    I don't think angry birds should make the list. It's a rip-off of other rip-off's of the same kind of game. Who know's who actually started the smash the castle type of gameplay. Angry birds is just the one that got the big name.

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  • The_ScarabThe_Scarab Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Boom Blox.


    You throw blocks at other blocks, by moving your arm in a throwing motion. And the game iterates on this simple premise with a variety of win conditions.


    I've played games of Boom Blox with people from four different generations together.

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  • EvilBadmanEvilBadman DO NOT TRUST THIS MAN Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Somewhat of a strange suggestion, but Wario Ware?

    Wife suggested: Rainbow Stars.
    Also, stranger still: Robot Unicorn Attack.
    And a genre I know of, but don't know what to cite as the first game: "Possibly Upgradeable Object sure does fly far," Penguin Launcher, Nanaca Crash, etc. (nevermind, Learn to Fly seems to have this covered, never heard of that specific one).

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  • Lindsey LohanLindsey Lohan Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    EvilBadman wrote: »
    And a genre I know of, but don't know what to cite as the first game: " Possible Upgradeable Object sure does fly far," Penguin Launcher, Nanaca Crash, etc.

    I was trying to come up with the definitive game for that too - but I second that this genre deserves a representative on the list.

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  • tyriontyrion Registered User
    edited March 2011
    What about Canabalt. It's seems like it's the canonical one-button game. It's surprising how something so simple can be addictive. (Except if Cake Mania is excluded, does that mean it's too simple?)

    Also, Majong is completely different from Majong Solitaire. (It's like saying Bridge when you mean Freecell.) And both are far older than 10 years.

  • RamiusRamius Joined: July 19, 2000 Administrator, ClubPA admin
    edited March 2011
    EvilBadman wrote: »
    And a genre I know of, but don't know what to cite as the first game: " Possible Upgradeable Object sure does fly far," Penguin Launcher, Nanaca Crash, etc.

    I was trying to come up with the definitive game for that too - but I second that this genre deserves a representative on the list.

    I agree - there are a lot of decent contenders in this genre. The one I personally have played most would be the Yeti Sports "Albatross Overload" game. My kids like "Learning to Fly". I think this has been done well several times without ever having a million-dollar breakout implementation.

  • ThePrimmThePrimm Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Ramius wrote: »
    ThePrimm wrote: »
    Tower defense games like Plants vs Zombies seem to be pretty popular casual games

    Agreed. Would Plants vs Zombies be the authoritative game of this type, then? And if so, then is this list skewing too heavily into the Popcap game library? Or would that just be appropriate seeing as they are a $100 million-plus casual games developer?

    I think as of right now Plants vs Zombies fits the criteria of the OP best.

  • Jam WarriorJam Warrior Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    tyrion wrote: »
    What about Canabalt. It's seems like it's the canonical one-button game. It's surprising how something so simple can be addictive. (Except if Cake Mania is excluded, does that mean it's too simple?)

    Also, Majong is completely different from Majong Solitaire. (It's like saying Bridge when you mean Freecell.) And both are far older than 10 years.

    I second this. The iStore is filled with infinite runners but Canabalt is the only contender for a big name success that I can think of.

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  • Mr PinkMr Pink I got cats for youRegistered User regular
    edited March 2011
    You know Wario Ware is a pretty good example. I think it was the Gamecube one that encouraged you to unplug your friend's controller or block the TV? Good stuff.

  • RamiusRamius Joined: July 19, 2000 Administrator, ClubPA admin
    edited March 2011
    tyrion wrote: »
    What about Canabalt. It's seems like it's the canonical one-button game. It's surprising how something so simple can be addictive. (Except if Cake Mania is excluded, does that mean it's too simple?)

    Also, Majong is completely different from Majong Solitaire. (It's like saying Bridge when you mean Freecell.) And both are far older than 10 years.

    I second this. The iStore is filled with infinite runners but Canabalt is the only contender for a big name success that I can think of.

    Hrm. I like Canabalt, but I'm thinking that for every 1 person who likes it there's got to be a hundred who would play it 3 times, find it too frustrating, and quit. I'm not sure it meets the wide-appeal criteria.

  • ElvenshaeElvenshae Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    World of Goo might also be a contender for the list.

    That's what I was thinking.

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  • DrakeDrake Blow it all up ForeverRegistered User regular
    edited March 2011
    If we are talking about any system etc. then how about Animal Crossing?

  • RamiusRamius Joined: July 19, 2000 Administrator, ClubPA admin
    edited March 2011
    Drake wrote: »
    If we are talking about any system etc. then how about Animal Crossing?
    Doesn't really meet the "simple mechanics" requirement, I don't think.

  • Dropping LoadsDropping Loads Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Ramius wrote: »
    tyrion wrote: »
    What about Canabalt. It's seems like it's the canonical one-button game. It's surprising how something so simple can be addictive. (Except if Cake Mania is excluded, does that mean it's too simple?)

    Also, Majong is completely different from Majong Solitaire. (It's like saying Bridge when you mean Freecell.) And both are far older than 10 years.

    I second this. The iStore is filled with infinite runners but Canabalt is the only contender for a big name success that I can think of.

    Hrm. I like Canabalt, but I'm thinking that for every 1 person who likes it there's got to be a hundred who would play it 3 times, find it too frustrating, and quit. I'm not sure it meets the wide-appeal criteria.

    I think Canabalt still might work for the list though, because as the breakthrough game it's spawned tons of clones, some of which are easier or more forgiving, or just plain awesome (like robot unicorn attack).

    Do you want to consider things that require a specific peripheral, like DDR or Donkey Kong jungle beat?


    Edit: What do you want to use the list for? That might help us target our answers better.
    Edit edit: Maybe Texttwist?

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  • DrakeDrake Blow it all up ForeverRegistered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Ramius wrote: »
    Drake wrote: »
    If we are talking about any system etc. then how about Animal Crossing?
    Doesn't really meet the "simple mechanics" requirement, I don't think.

    Yeah, I forgot that while stuff is simple to do, you have to make house payments and stuff. Lot's of people could find that a bummer.

    Ok. So how about Minecraft Classic. The browser based one that's just building stuff with simple blocks, no crafting or ssssssssssssssss...

    ninja edit: It also has the distinction of being free.

  • Lindsey LohanLindsey Lohan Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Just thought of another one - Diner Dash. It hit pretty much every age group and every system.

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  • TrippyJingTrippyJing Moses supposes his toeses are roses. But Moses supposes erroneously.Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    I'm thinking that most of the Simon Says-type rhythm games count.

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