Sometimes the simplest things are the most fun (and before we go any further, let’s remove any seedy undertones from that statement…)
Take gaming as an example. Last month saw the release of Skyrim, a game which – depending on your outlook – is either incredibly deep or just one giant spreadsheet. Regardless of that though, if you’ve got it, the chances are that you’ve dedicated many hours to it; I’ve personally probably played it for about 30 hours, but as I said in my last blog entry, I know someone who has played it for over 220 hours.
And yes, if you’re going to put that much time into a game then the chances are it’s both good and enjoyable.
But is it fun?
Obviously there’s a difference between something being enjoyable and fun. The one module of Philosophy I did in second year of University taught me about the rules of logic. In this case it’s that all things that are fun are enjoyable, but that doesn’t mean all things that are enjoyable are fun.
e.g. A cold beverage on a hot day is enjoyable, not fun.
And that’s the thing about Skyrim (a game, incidentally, which I’m sure you’re familiar with and therefore one that I don’t need to go into detail about); for all it’s depth, wonderful graphics, longevity and enjoyability, I don’t think you can sit there and say ‘Wow, this is great fun slowly walking through this forest’.
Which brings me to Super Tank Run.
The chances are that if 95 out of 100 gamers have heard of Skyrim, then 1 out of 600 will have heard about this game.
An Indie Game available on Xbox Live, Super Tank Run costs a mere 80 points (or around 68p) and looks like a game made in 1987.
What’s It About?
You control a tank that has to move between 4 different lanes to avoid obstacles. The longer you last, the quicker you go, the more points you accrue and the more difficult it is to avoid those obstacles.
There are four different game modes which are all variations on that theme. So in defensive mode you avoid the obstacles while collecting coins that get you more points, and in Offensive mode those coins are replaced by enemy tanks that you have to shoot.
Is It Any Good?
Yes, in getting Super Tank Run you’re getting a game that is as deep as a teaspoon of milk but it has the X Factor that so few games on consoles these days boast, in that it’s easy to play (yet difficult to master), fun and has the ‘one more go’ appeal.
It also has Offline co-op support for up to 8 players, which is very rare commodity in an era of gaming where playing alongside your own friends in the same room is seemingly ignored by most game developers.
I only heard of Super Tank Run because of a random recommendation on a forum, but I gave it a go and had a great time playing the demo. What was interesting though was that my brother kinda scoffed at it. “Oh, that game looks crap” he said while asking when he could next
get on the 360 to play Skyrim.
The next day when we had friends over, I put the game on to show them before I left them and went out to work. They all gave the game a sort of condescending chuckle as if to say ‘How quaint’. The next day though I was told that they ended up playing the game, turn-about, for the rest of the evening, and when the same guys came round a couple of days ago, Super Tank Run was at the very top of the agenda of things to do.
And that’s the thing about gaming. Super Tank Run offers a very simple 8-Bit gaming experience that is about as far removed from a game like Skyrim as you can get. There’s not much to it – no story, no ultimate goal, no cut scenes (thank God); just three lives and the urge to beat either your own high score or your friends’ high score.
It also has one of the greatest pieces of marketing in it I’ve ever seen (or heard as the case may be). A little known Hungarian band called Thornwill have two of their songs included in the game, one in the menu screen and another in-play.
I would never have heard of them or their songs yet now they have four different blokes wanting to buy their song ‘Freefall’. Nicely done chaps!
Should You Buy Super Tank Run?
If Super Tank Run was a full price game like Skyrim then I would say no.
But it costs under 70p and it’ll provide you with hours of addictive gameplay. Indeed, long after you’ve finished off Skyrim and either sold it on or consigned it to an eternity sitting on your shelf never to be played again, Super Tank Run will still be there on the 360, ready to be picked up and played as you try and beat your top score once again.
Of course you should buy it!
Here’s the official trailer…