The Last Word In *ingo

February 20, 2007

[Oh and speaking of The Herald… this was posted there awhile ago. It’s a big deal, and I wanted to make sure they had the exclusive. The big event is coming up on Thursday and I’ll do my best to be there if you will!]

Never underestimate casual games. The video gaming industry is buzzing about them lately, billing them as a fast-growing frontier where indie shops are king. While many oldbie SL residents may look down their noses at Tringo, Slingo and the like, the fact remains that people play these games and have fun doing it. These games have a short learning curve, offer a reward for playing, and they make the owners money.

With that in mind I wasn’t about to shrug off the invitation I received for a sneak-preview of Zingo. I may not be a very casual gamer (even new members in the Second Life Games group are called “Hardcore”), but these types of games have already dramatically changed the landscape in SL. It was worth checking out.

Zingo comes to us courtesy of Rifkin Habsburg, who in the past brought us Danger Zone (winner in the 2006 Game Expo) and Frootcake (a featured stop in the 2006 Winter Festival). It only took him 4 months to put together, which speaks volumes about the true potential of SL as a development tool. There’s both solo and competition play, which can have as many players as you have space to rez kiosks in. It even has Torrid Midnight (of TorridWear and SecondCast fame) lending her voice talents to keep you company as you play.

The game itself consists of a large hexagon divided up into smaller hexes. You get a random piece with three colored lines that you place somewhere on the board, and work to create a line of a single color from one end to the other. The longer the line, the higher the score.

There’s a genius in such a simple design: you comprehend it instantly, can play it reasonably well right away, and soon discover layers of strategy. In the words of the creator, “My games don’t require fast reflexes, or a lag-free net connection. A good game is one that gives you many interesting choices to make. If you lose, you don’t think, ‘There’s nothing I could have done,’ but instead, ‘Oh, I could have won, if only I had . . .’ ”

I have to admit that I found Zingo pretty addictive, and it wasn’t just Torrid’s sexy voice. The interface was polished and, unlike other *ingo games, I didn’t find myself staring at the screen for long periods of time waiting for something to happen. It’s so nice to play a game in SL that doesn’t lag out!

The official launch of “Club Zed”, Zingo’s official home, is coming up on February 22nd in Arcadia 2. The Grand Opening Party will feature freebies, live music by DJ Buttercup, the game’s creator Rifkin Habsburg live on the air, and thousands of Linden dollars in Zingo prize money contests. I’m looking forward to playing Zingo that day. It was so fast and responsive while nobody was around, I’m curious to see if it manages to keep up the pace on a server crammed with avatars.

You can buy your own copy at Procyon Design in Arcadia, but if you’re not sure you want one just remember: if you’ve spent more L$ playing the game than a unit costs, it’s time to buy one. I have a feeling more than a few people are going to figure that out the hard way.


One comment

  1. […] You have got to admire Rifkin Hasberg… the guy has vision. (Previously he built Frootcake, Danger Zone and Zingo). […]

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