Editorial: Cartoon Wars. Sanity Wars.

It turns out, dear Lusi-Sprites, that making a game leaves me no time to play games. In recent months I have become almost solely a handheld gamer, because I only have time for games while I am in transit or taking a shit. So on my PSP, I have been playing Final Fantasy IX, but I have talked that game to death (update: it is still amazing), but also I have been playing Cartoon Wars.

Cartoon guys at war.

It is nothing special, really. Just another tower defense game made for mobile devices. I hardly ever use my phone for gaming, but it is what I have resorted to recently to still be able to call myself a gamer. Still, Cartoon Wars sets itself apart from the other tower defense games that I have tried on my phone. Namely, it is free and does not rely on micro-transactions.

Other than that, the game boils down to wave after wave of enemies and an upgrade screen. It is like if an RPG were only the battle screen and the menus. The game – thankfully – does not even pretend to have a story, but even as I play it non-stop for extended subway rides, I wonder how it has me so hooked?

It is a peek into the simpler gaming life. Even a small, but scary insight into how dangling-carrot games like Farmville are so successful. Cartoon Wars does take some skill, but it requires far more persistence and patience than any form of strategy.

Should I keep spamming the low-cost-but-die-easily units? Should I bypass those meatshields to afford the more-costly-but-more-effective units? What is the optimal time to upgrade my mana pool?

I mutter these questions to myself all the time like a madman while I play. But they are irrelevant questions. They all end with “who cares, I’ll just replay old levels until I have enough money to upgrade everything and be overpowered”.

Readers, there is no conclusion to this post. There are no thought-out observations about the world of gaming in this post. You are witnessing the journal of a madman as he tries to reconcile his recent gaming habits to himself at 2:30am. Gaming habits that I would find unrecognizable even a few short years ago.

So perhaps mobile gaming has a place. It is a place for the insane. Where desperate gamers cling to the last vestiges of their passion. Where non-gamers go when they do not have the bravery or depth of mind or concentration to enter the wonderful world of gaming proper.

I need sleep.


  1. Having seen you recently, when I read this post I heard your voice, complete with inflections and pauses, narrating it. It was bizarre and a bit troubling.

    PLAY MORE GAMES. Like reading and writing, playing games and developing games must go hand-in-hand in order for success to be the output. The best writers read many good books. The best game developers play many good games. Kotick doesn’t even know what a game is. Contrast this with Sakaguchi and Miyamoto.

    No more tower defence games. I demand you spend at least a few hours on one day a week playing something good and inspiring. Development has to happen, it is true. But it also has to happen well, and that means nourishing the game developer inside with some quality gaming.

  2. However, he’s very expensive. I tried saving some money by going to Doctor Bup and all I got was a fart piano app and some xeroxed copies of dollar signs on plain white paper.

Comments are closed.