An indisputable part of modern gaming comes from the idea that larger experiences are the way forward. More massive worlds, more complex graphics, and bigger battles; all of these play a major part in the evolution of traditional AAA gaming. Despite this being a direction that major publishers seem intent to push, there are other forms of gaming that seem to contradict this idea that bigger equals better.
One such sector, which we want to focus on today, is that of online bingo. Despite having similarly humble roots as modern video gaming, online bingo took a very different trajectory. While it traveled another path, however, it still remains incredibly popular, so why might this be?
Perhaps the most fundamental aspect which bingo leans on its base appeal. Like cards, chutes and ladders, or any other number of older table games, the fun of bingo comes from simple anticipation. We know all the rules, we know exactly what is possible and necessary at each step, in order to succeed or get closer to success, and thus it’s easy to form a pure overall understanding of the game.
Modern video games walk a separate path. Rather than relying on a streamlined core of consistent appeal, newer games bank on a constant influx of something fresh and exciting. The problem with this approach is that, once we begin to see larger patterns emerge in these forms of games, the appeal takes a nosedive, limiting their overall longevity.
Expansion for the Sake of Expansion
Another contributing factor to the success of online bingo games is the forms of expansion they take. For example, consider the bingo online games at Betfair. There is plenty of variety here, as illustrated by the likes of Helter Skelter, Age of the Gods, and Deal or No Deal, but these themes never detract from bingo’s overall appeal. Rather, they work in synergy.
Compare this to something like the recent Assassins Creed games, Odyssey, and Origins. In an attempt to evolve, both of these games abandoned the basic Arkham-inspired battle system that they held from the previous entries in the series. Given the focus that the games have always had on combat, many players felt this alienating to the point they abandoned the series and whatever its future entries might hold.
Leveraging Social Appeal
The final aspect we need to consider, when looking at what keeps online bingo in the spotlight, is the possibilities for social experiences. While not necessary for online play, the capacity for playing with friends in an open manner has always been a big part of bingo, and this play has always been simple, while growing even easier by the year through new technology.
Traditional online video games, on the other hand, often run into the problem of continuously trying to reinvent the wheel. Anthem was a standout modern example of this, where developers were told to ignore the lessons learned by similar game Destiny in favor of trying something new. As it turns out, Destiny 1 and 2 had learned some important ideas by the point Anthem was in development, and by ignoring these lessons, the Anthem player experience suffered.
Looking at the broader scope of the traditional AAA gaming world, it’s perhaps inevitable that shortcomings compared to something like online bingo would appear. Video games have always relied on a growing spectacle for attention and, for better or worse, this is a message that developers and publishers seem to have inextricably internalized.
Given the runaway success of smaller indie developed games in the last few years, however, it might be time to re-examine traditional video game methodology of unsupportable growth. Whether keeping things simple, staying true to a game’s roots, or better leaning on social aspects, bingo has proven that the way forward might not be as difficult as the gaming industry often makes it look.
A few of my favorite things include my pet dragon (Drogon), Game of Thrones, Disney movies and theme parks, the MCU, DC movies, Star Wars, sports, and my rather large Funko Pop collection. Daenerys Targaryen is my queen, Robert Downey Jr is my man crush, and Simba is my spirit animal.