Ever since its launch last month, the Apple Watch has been a curious success, with some people buying the device outright and others approaching it with caution, possibly waiting to see how application developments pan out before plunking down the cash. However, there’s no question that it’s made an impact in a certain field — gaming.
Even though there aren’t too many games available for it right now (several are in development and likely due out soon), the titles that are released for the Apple Watch — along with other pieces of tech — show that there is room for gaming when it comes to wearable devices. Even with limitations, like running out of battery life playing a game for too long or a smaller device screen, they’re making a much bigger impact than expected.
For a bit of perspective, Macworld recently published a guide to ten Apple Watch games that users should be playing, and they cover quite the spectrum for a tiny device. Here are just a few examples from the list, which give you a better idea of how gaming works overall for devices such as this:
Rules!: Sorting cards may not sound like the most fun activity around (it’s more like something you’d do in a mailroom), but Rules! has a certain appeal, as users move around a series of cards in particular order, depending on numbers, colors and other factors. The rules change quite often (hence the name), keeping the challenge continuous with each new round.
Letter Zap: While the concept is hardly what you’d call original (you pick and choose words from a number of pre-selected letter tiles), the execution of Letter Zap more than makes up for it, as it’s easy to put together as many words as possible within an allotted time frame.
Elevate — Brain Training: Considering that brain-training games have proven popular on mobile devices in the past, it’s no surprise that a game like Elevate work would so well for the Apple Watch. Users pick a number of rapid-fire challenges that force them to use their thinking caps to accomplish the best score possible.
As you can see from the examples above, it takes a certain approach to make an Apple Watch game operate, as it runs on a completely different level than the usual mobile devices. That said, it’ll probably take a great deal of development savvy to get something along the lines of Candy Crush Saga working on the device — though you can bet that King is definitely trying to figure out a way to make it work.
It’s a matter of making a game accessible without overwhelming the device with flashy presentation. Sometimes, keeping a design simple is the best thing going for it, as we’ve learned from games from the 80’s, like Pac-Man, that still achieve a certain amount of popularity. A lot of developers seem to be following this approach to Apple Watch, among other devices, while at the same time figuring out new tricks to make games more involving — such as utilizing a user’s heartbeat into the app itself, which a few developers of health-related programs have done.
We’ll see more accomplished game efforts in the future, but there are two basic parts to the overall goal — making it accessible on the Apple Watch (without going overboard on a pretty presentation) and making it fun. Thus far, these games, among others have managed to do it, and we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg.