Recently, in my attempts to communicate quickly and clearly with various game manufacturers about the kinds of games that are candidates for Major Fun Awards, I’ve started to use the term “Games that Make You Laugh.”
Clearly, this leaves out a lot of games that have already received a Major Fun award. Clearly, major fun is something that is experienced just as much in Games that Make You Think and Games that Make You Lose Track of Time and Games that Make You Like People….
But, in the bigger picture of game awards and recognition schemes, nobody else really singles out games that make people laugh. And, as Major Fun, Defender of the Playful, it is my duty and destiny to Be the One.
And, frankly, those are the games I like the best, the games that make people laugh, aloud, alot.
Maybe it’s the times. Maybe it’s me. But, until further notice, it’s what Major Fun is all about – games that make you laugh
Perfect Timing is probably the first game that focuses on the ability to sense (or guess) elapsed time. The game (for 2-4 players) includes 4 electronic stop watches that measure time in hundredths of a second. The fun of the game lies in trying to predict, with great precision, exactly when one or two seconds have elapsed.
There are two versions available: a two-player portable set, and a 2-4 player board game. We played the board game. The board is used to help keep score and to determine the exact challenge to be played. There are two kinds of challenges in which you either try to estimate the time with your eyes closed, or you get to look at the stopwatch and test your reaction time. Timelines, on the perimeter of the board, are divided into 24 hours. Your success in a challenge determines whether you gain or lose time.
The theme of the game feels a bit like the old TV game “The Price is Right.” If you succeed at a challenge (being very careful not to go over the time limit), you win any of ten different “prizes” (a calculator, dishwasher, microwave, etc.). Exceeding the time limit is like overbidding in The Price is Right. You don’t win the appliance of your dreams. I had difficulty restraining myself from doing Monte Hall impressions.
Despite the many other nuances and events built into the game, playing with your ability to estimate time, and your reaction time, is such a novel and exciting experience that it overshadows everything else. Hence, it becomes the kind of game you may play only a few times before you have to put it away – at least until you find someone new to play with.
Perfect Timing – a perfect addition to anyone’s collection of games that make people laugh.
I am apparently about to grant the coveted, and also first Major FUN Award for Advergame Design to a company called “Pop.”
Advergame? Well, we’re certainly not talking infotainment here. We’re talking genuine game, with all the fascination and replay value therein implied, designed specifically to promote a commercial product. Like, for example, the cybersolitaire game RSVP and the evermore puzzling Open House, both created for Lifetime Television. Not to mention the lightning fast poker-like game of Lucky 8s created for Puma. Each uniquely hypermediated. Each significantly playworthy.
It’s an amazing feat of game design, really, when you can make a commercially-supported game that respects its players – offering genuine invitations to play, and yet clearly inviting the player to think about the product or company sponsoring the whole experience. It restoreth the soul. It might as well filleth the wallet.