Tuesday, 4 September 2012
So I have been playing ... (4). Lessons in pandemic (with zombies)
A little while ago I ran into an ad promoting the beta of a browser-based zombie-strategy game. (That's one thing I enjoy about most of the webcomics - the advertisements showing up in their pages often lead to next undiscovered webcomics or other intriguing stuff.) So, I have been playing the Zombie Pandemic a little every day.
I decided to skip the tutorial right away and just see what I could find out about the game's logic and mechanics on my own.
At first the game didn't seem like something I'd want to invest my time into - I decided to keep on trying out stuff and goof off as much as I could with no real goal in mind. But having advanced a tiny bit here and there, I'd say that the simplicity is very deceptive here. Indeed, the game doesn't deliver much on the instant gratification front. But the closer I looked, the more I started to appreciate the game's structure, the depth of detail beyond plain sight and all sorts of other subtleties.
As far as the learning curve goes, I'd say the most substantial step is becoming aware of your limitations: you've only got so much stamina to spare each day while each activity uses some of it; you can only improve so much, only achieve so much, only loot so much. I think it was the third day of playing when I found myself pondering over the best uses for the next day's "stamina points", setting myself rules about what to pick up and what to leave behind, making choices about locations to discover. In the meantime I've learned to navigate the game's interface, picked up new skills and found out about the interactive content beyond the game itself (example).
I know I'll be returning for some more for a while. But not today. I've already used up my stamina for today.