Hello from Amsterdam

We’re at Casual Connect Europe this week and so far having a great time. Amsterdam, gorgeous as ever, is a great setting for a conference as its dense walkability makes it a joy to traverse on foot.

Less joyous is being outside my home time zone, which translates into project kick off calls at 8 pm, midnight writing sessions (like this one!) and the like. Gives me a much better appreciation for what our overseas clients deal with, daily.

We have a busy three days in Amsterdam, with nearly 50 meetings between three AC+A’ers (myself and two Associates). We’re already looking forward to GDC in San Francisco, so if you’d like to meet us there, drop us a line today!

AND…we hope you’ll take advantage of our launch discount on Teardown ClubEnter code ACAFRIEND25 to get 25% off the first three months of your subscription.


Compulsion Loop
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Big Fish Casino

Why Play? Casino is one of the most competitive genres out there, so the top games often contain great ideas. Big Fish Casino is a top-15 grossing monster with ideas aplenty, like the clever way the day’s luckiest active players are celebrated in real time. Chat, like, and gift mechanics plus custom profile photos make it feel like a social network, and not a mere casino app.

Google Play App Store
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Magic Piano by Smule

Why Play? Here’s a blast from the past from 2011: Magic Piano is a wonderful music game that allows players to play a large catalog of licensed music as if they were playing “Dance Dance Revolution” with their fingers. This game is worth playing to emphasize two points: first, it’s very commendable to be able to negotiate rights to the music shown in the game, which not all teams are able to execute on. Secondly, the game’s revenue model is such that it has both a high-quality score (4.5 stars) as well as maintaining in the top 50 grossing charts consistently.

Google Play App Store
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Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector

Why Play? Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of mobile games is how they fit into our everyday lives. Neko Atsume, which literally translates to “cat collection”, is a game where your only task is to decorate your yard with “treats” with the goal of enticing stray cats to visit your home. Neko Atsume’s low pressure, no commitment promise explores the potential of what some might call an ultra casual or passive game and challenges established expectations of what is fun and what constitutes “real” gameplay.

Google Play App Store
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Tomb of the Mask

Why Play? While there’s nothing terribly innovative about the monetization features in Happy magenta’s Tomb of the Mask, if you’re looking for “darn good fun” you’ll find it in this retro-styled arcade game. Like a mashup of Pac-Man and Downwell, you’ll race downward while avoiding your untimely death, collecting coins along the way. This one’s free-to-play with IAPs for premium currency and one-time ad removal.

App Store
Compulsion Loop

CompulsionLoop is AC+A’s (adriancrook.com) weekly pursuit of providing a Featured List for those in the games industry. A look at the latest must-play apps, along with short, useful takeaways from our team of game design and product experts. If you have a game that you think your industry colleagues should try, we’d love to hear about it at games@compulsionloop.com. Don’t forget to tell us why industry insiders should be compelled to try out the game (see what we did there?).

Know a game that you think others should play? Let us know and tell us why we should play it.

Thank you for reading and we look forward to helping you discover more games that you can glean learnings from. Feel free to reply to this email or contact games@compulsionloop.com — we’re always happy to hear from you.

Have a great week!

- Adrian Crook www.adriancrook.com