In What Are You Playing This Weekend? we discuss gaming and such with prominent figures in the pop-culture arena. We always start with the same question.
Daniel Kibblesmith is a writer, cartoonist, and comedian based in Chicago. He’s currently a senior marketing copywriter for Groupon and the co-author (with Sam Weiner) of the humor book How To Win At Everything. He is also a contributing writer for The Onion News Network, has videos on Funny Or Die, and was featured on Bravo’s The Millionaire Matchmaker. The Gameological Society spoke to Kibblesmith about outdated iPhone games, Star Trek: The Next Generation-based orgasms, and the evils of Candy Crush.
The Gameological Society: What are you playing this weekend?
Kibblesmith: If the past few weeks have been any indicator, I’ll probably be playing Dots on my phone. It’s one of those fad iPhone games that came and went, and I’m always late to the party on those.
Gameological: What is it about Dots that you like?
Kibblesmith: I think I’m drawn in to its general mindlessness. And it makes soothing noises when you’ve done something successfully. It has this kind of computerized ascending scale noise when you get a successful sequence of dots. It really reminds me of more than anything that game they get addicted to in Star Trek: The Next Generation. They’re all wearing these Google Glass headsets that give you an orgasm if you put the ball in the cone or whatever.
Gameological: That’s a good one. Wesley Crusher and Ashley Judd team up to stop them.
Kibblesmith: [Laughs.] Yes! It was Ashley Judd wasn’t it? Probably the most farfetched thing about Star Trek: The Next Generation is that episode, because a teenager is like, “Come on guys. This video game is a waste of time.”
Gameological: It did seem like kind of a shitty video game, even with the brain orgasm thing.
Kibblesmith: Totally. It’s like Call Of Duty came and went in Star Trek. They’re all about pacifism and getting beyond their warlike ways, so the video games of the future are all just about boring shapes.
Gameological: Do you ever play any other games?
Kibblesmith: It’s pretty much just Dots for me. I flirted with Letterpress, but I just got clobbered playing it. I’m always late to the party with iOS games. By the time I get interested in one, people are mad at me. They’re like “Why are you bothering me with your Draw Something requests? I stopped playing that in 2009.”
Gameological: Did you actually like Draw Something?
Kibblesmith: I only tried it a couple of times because no one would play with me. And the only people still playing Draw Something are crazy people. It’s just the most half-assed thing. They’ll just send this black palm tree that they drew in 15 seconds because they’re trying to win Draw Something money. Nobody’s trying anymore.
Gameological: It did seem to fizzle out. People were like “Draw Something is amazing” and the next day it was like ‘Fuck, I hate Draw Something.”
Kibblesmith: It’s always that first fad. As a general rule of thumb, if I find out about an iPhone game, no one is playing it anymore. It’s like if you hear Jay Leno using a slang term in his monologue—at that point you just know people aren’t saying it anymore. That’s me. I’m like the canary for popular video games that are just about through. If I’m playing it, your parents are probably about to find out about it too.
Gameological: So how do you find out about the iPhone games you do like?
Kibblesmith: It’s word of mouth or some article linked on Twitter. “Boggle Bones got 7 million downloads. America can’t get enough of Boggle Bones.” And 6 or 7 months later, I’ll be on a long bus ride and I’ll be like “I wonder what Boggle Bones is all about?” And by that time the community has completely collapsed. It’s like going in to an abandoned mall.
Gameological: Your upcoming book is entitled How To Win at Everything. What’s your advice for winning at iPhone games?
Kibblesmith: The book is a comedy book—a humor book—in the guise of a bad advice manual to turn every situation in your life into some kind of hyper-competitive victory. But the best way to win at iPhone games is to design an iPhone game that’s so addictive, it will distract the player while I take their wallet. My friend explained Candy Crush to me. It just sounds like a machine that sucks money out of your bank account. That’s pretty much what my game would be. It’s so addictive, it’d distract you long enough for me to come along, jam my hands into your pants, and steal your wallet. It’s pretty much using the Star Trek: The Next Generation game model, only for the iPhone.
And now, we put the question to you. Tell us what you’ve been playing lately, and which games—video or otherwise—are on your playlist for the weekend.