This is a guest post from Olivia Kane. Olivia is a freelance writer based in Prestatyn. She has been a fan of Scooby Doo for a long time and loves to catch up on the episodes on Cartoon Network. When not writing, she can usually be found watching the animated show or swimming.
A lot of the excitement in an online adventure game comes from the idea that you are connected in some way to a universe of other games, all enjoying the same experience – and to one degree or another, competing with you and against each other. In Ben 10 games, for instance, the user can often design levels or creatures, which he or she then gets to pit against gamers from all over the world who happen to be connected at the same time. In online console gaming, Call of Duty players can team up with others to form bands of mercenaries, charged with performing impossible tasks in exotic locations.
Another reason for online gaming to excite is the simple variety involved. There are, for example, at least five online Scooby Doo games – combining classic cartoon madness with equally classic gameplay. Designed to work equally well on any platform, these Scooby Doo games rely on simplicity and catchiness rather than enormous quantities of impressive graphics and backstory – taking adventure games back to basics, in other words.
For anyone who likes a game, this is exciting too. The idea that you can strip adventure games back to their bones and start again gets the retro fanboy juices flowing in anyone who’s ever enjoyed a game of Mario or Castlevania. Scooby Doo is no different – the same play, but with different characters. The tweaks lie in finding the little differences between a Scooby Doo game (for instance) and a game featuring an older character – well, older for computer game purposes anyhow.
The same kind of pleasure that gripped the original gaming community back in the 80s, can now enliven a whole new generation of gamers – who get to play titles like Scooby Doo for fun and for the simple pleasure it offers, rather than because a massive advertising campaign has told them that version 4 of something is the absolute must have game. Smaller screens on popularly used devices have forced designers to go back to being clever, rather than being driven by bigger, faster, slicker graphics all the time.
Indeed, one of the most popular Android adventure games at the moment, INC, features blocky graphics and two tone backgrounds that make it look like a cross between Space Invaders and the original Mario Bros titles. This obviously gives the old school gamer a nostalgia buzz – but it also introduces the newer generation to a whole different way of playing, where the increasing speed and complexity of levels requires real control skill.
The control mechanisms of the new devices are also reasons for making their adventure games simpler and more play-focused. Games like Scooby Doo use arcade style controls, which usually require two or three buttons and one direction instrument – perfect for transposing onto the tactile environment of an Android phone or an iPhone.
Because modern online adventure gaming is done on handheld devices as much as on PCs, designers are having to find whole new ingenuity in their universes – or to develop games like Scooby Doo, which go back to the old way of playing.