Great games aren't created in a vacuum.
Being successful in the games industry requires a strong understanding of the medium and the market, and playing lots of games is inevitably a part of this.
Given how crucial this can be for insight and inspiration, and just how passionate this industry is, it's about time more people started openly talking about the games they play.
So PocketGamer.biz will be regularly reaching out to key figures in the mobile games industry to ask them what game (other than their own) is currently keeping them busy after hours. You can view all entries here.
This time, it's Tribeflame CEO Torulf Jernström with his playing habits in the spotlight.
PocketGamer.biz: What mobile game (other than your own) are you currently playing the most?
Torulf Jernström: The game I've been playing most during this winter has been Playrix's Gardenscapes.
It's a match-3 game that on the surface is pretty close to Candy Crush Saga. I've been intrigued by how Playrix has managed to steadily climb up the top charts with this game.
How long have you been playing it and do you see yourself continuing?
I've been playing it since November, but it's tapering off at the moment.
Progression is a bit too slow for me right now.
What do you enjoy most about it?
They have brought a bit of story and a bit of landscaping into the match-3 genre.
I've been interested in getting to the next level in order to see what happens next.Torulf Jernström
It's one of the few top games where I've mostly been interested in getting to the next level in order to see what happens next.
As you know, stories don't usually play a very big role in top mobile games.
What does this game do that makes it especially unique and innovative?
They've gotten rid of the usual Saga-map, and replaced it with an ongoing story/garden building game.
It seems to work - I don't miss the map, but I do want to know what happens next.
In the core game, they have given me a bit more control over when to trigger the bonus items you get by matching four or five tiles.
In Candy Crush Saga, you have to do another match to blow them up after you get them.
In Gardenscapes, you can just tap them. That leads to more control, but at the cost of less chain reactions.
If you could change one thing about the game, what would it be?
There still isn't much of an in-game economy here.
Building one would be just about a complete remake of the game, however.
I'm thinking more about integrating narrative in games as a result of playing this.Torulf Jernström
The only match-3 games with serious in-game economies are the ones with RPG elements, such as Puzzle and Dragons or Best Fiends.
Have you learned anything from this game that could impact your own work?
I'm thinking more about integrating narrative in games as a result of playing this.
It's also very inspiring to see newcomers able to enter the extremely competitive top grossing charts.
More generally, how important is it for those in the industry to actively and regularly play other people's games?
I believe it's very important to play other games.
We need to learn as much as we can about what works and what doesn't.
I even wrote a blog about how we systematically go about it in our company.