Yesterday, I was going to post my first impressions of the iApp Choice of the Vampire, one of the two paid games on the iStore by Choice of Games.
Yesterday, it would have been a reasonably positive post with some minor quibbles. Today–now that I’m a little further into the work–sadly, it’s a post (actually, two) that borders on sweeping criticism.
In the past I’ve blogged about how successful I believe the Choice of Games formula could be as a business model. Based on the progression from Choice of Dragons to Choice of Broadsides, CoG looked to be doing everything right, especially when they started tapping the iApp market.
Then they released Popcorn, Soda…Murder. The writing was terrible and the game was a mess. To be honest, I didn’t play it for long at all.
I blogged shortly after about being concerned that CoG could hurt their brand with such works, and was glad they didn’t give it a Choice of title. They had something good going for them, I wrote, and while the idea of having lots of people writing works for them (all bringing in money) was no doubt very attractive, killing their brand in the process would ultimately destroy their business.
Then came The Nightmare Maze. I wanted to like it, I wanted to believe that they wouldn’t just publish anything, but while the writing was a step up from Popcorn, it was still only passable, and the choices and narrative were so obtuse as to make everything seem meaningless. Every choice was just a guess; a seemingly random riccochet.
Finally, a Choice of game appeared. In fact, two: Choice of the Vampire and Choice of Romance. And they were on the iStore, albeit for $2.49 (AUD).
Always wanting to support what I believe in, I bought Choice of the Vampire…
After spending a bit of time trawling through their blog, trying to understand, and seeing the emphasis that’s being placed on making (short-term) money, I fear now that Choice of Games is headed for turmoil. Understandably, they want to make a name for themselves, and they want to see a return on investment for all the effort that’s being put into their brand. But I wonder if they haven’t lost sight of the big picture. Video games may be all about the day one sales. But the book market is not–at least not for authors or publishers just starting out.
Without getting into minute details about decisions made, Choice of Games should have been about a consistent concept; a consistent level of quality; a consistent release schedule that was never hurried.
Had that been the case, I would have bought every one of their apps. Happily. More than happily.
Now… Well, let’s just say, ‘Thrice bitten…’
My next post: some specific thoughts on Choice of the Vampire–the good and the bad. Includes unreliable narrators (and, apparently, players); bemoaning the belabouring; and the ‘bloody’ inconceivable (or, at the very least, highly illogical).