First, read this previous article. Consider it a companion piece, and we’ll call this a follow up.
Now let’s begin. You read the article. You had your lady watch you play a couple of the games on the list. She enjoyed being included in your gaming time, and now she wants in. This is great right? There’s only one problem. She doesn’t know how to play anything. This isn’t always a huge issue, as most of the time a non gamer can learn to play fairly easily if taught properly. However, today’s gaming controllers (sans Nintendo) can be complicated to someone who never played video games. In that case, you could be screwed. At least you could…..before current times. Luckily for you today’s emphasis on constant connectivity may have solved your new problem.
“But Jerz? What are you talking about?” Companion apps my friend. See, today’s video game market is in competition with a lot more than it used to be. The internet, your smartphone, along with tv and other hobbies. So developers needed to find a way for you to play when you are away from the game. With the app business booming, and the knowledge that most people’s phones are ALWAYS nearby, the answer was found. This concept is fairly new, But the forthcoming generation is placing a big emphasis on 2 things. Connectivity, and including the casual or non gamer. They aren’t going to just want to watch forever right? That’s why I feel its a perfect time to grab that uninitiated woman of yours (or man) and bring them in on the fun in an easy and intuitive way. After all, we all pretty much can use a phone app right? RIGHT? So here are a few examples of games that will include companion apps or peripherals your partner might be interested in using to play along.
This is one of the most highly anticipated games of the year for many reasons. It also has one of the more interesting companion apps I’ve seen. Essentially it allows you to play a multiplayer version of the game vs a console user. The console user has to reach a series of checkpoints in the city, and you have to use the app to manipulate city conditions and stop them. Change traffic lights, control the city’s police force, and use other means to prevent your opponent’s progress. All from your phone. Imagine how happy your boo would be if they used their phone to help the cops thwart your plans as you two sat right next to each other talking trash. Maybe I’m lame (ok I definitely am) but it sounds fun to me.
Assassins Creed 4
While this app isn’t as cool as Watch Dogs, it still gives your partner a meaningful way to help you play. The app is essentially an interactive map. You can set waypoints on the app that appear on the game in real time. So in essence, your partner becomes your navigation system. It also includes a fleet minigame to send your crew out on missions, which will earn you loot and items. So while you’re handling business on the console, they can make sure the fleet is under control and point you in the right direction if you need. Teamwork makes the dream work.
Rayman Legends (Wii U Version)
This particular instance deals with the Wii U’s gamepad. For those who don’t know, it is essentially a controller with a built in touch screen. For this particular game, you can use that screen as a second player to do different things. You can move platforms, tilt the game world, and use other tricks to help your co-op partner navigate through the levels and find all the game’s secrets. It’s incredibly intuitive, and it truly forces you to be a true teammate. It’s also perfect for someone scared of a traditional controller, because the functions they would use to play are so familiar if they play games on their phone at all.
So there are 3 examples of how to take your partner from watching to playing. All 3 are designed with a person in mind who simply cannot get the hang of a normal controller, but love the idea of playing a video game with you. I’m almost certain these types of ideas will be the norm sooner rather than later. There are many more companion apps available, but most are centered around housekeeping type functions. But I can see the shift happening. There is a lot of money out there in the “casual” gaming market, and savvy developers will find ways to make those who can’t really play video games that well want to be involved anyway. The more the merrier and all that. It’s all about being included. If they can’t grab the controller and play along, find another way for them to be a part of the experience. Happy gaming everyone!