CHENNAI: Sometimes this column is like a lazy fan-merchandise seller. I stand outside the stadium of huge tournament and market the worst quality t-shirts and flags which would be enjoyable for the moment, only to be used as a cleaning rag the next week. This week’s column is one of those times. When you like a sport, the whole feel of it makes you want to enjoy even the lousier bits of it - the Android games. And I am not talking about the official FIFA games (because the World Cup is on), or even Pro Evolution Soccer, I am talking about those games where you draw lines on your phone to score goals.
This one has nothing fancy - you don’t see poorly animated versions of your favourite players here, just poorly animated random characters. But it teaches you a few football techniques and enhances your knowledge of virtual-world physics. It starts out with drawing simple vertical lines, but then gets more complex as the number of opposing team players increases, making the route to the goal non-linear. The successful addition of the non-linear is quite an achievement for a game on a small screen. It might be a nice way to teach basic geometry. In fact, it might teach actual football players strategy... (too far?)
A level below the complexity of Score! Hero, Football Strike is even further away from the actual game than you could ever imagine. The game has over two different challenge rounds — one where you keep, and one where you try to score goals. It is as listless as any other Miniclip game, but the fun part is when you are tagged with an extremely unlikely ‘newb’ of a random player (I am sure it’s a bot) who is supposedly playing against you to hit the goals faster than you can. It’s easy to win stuff in this game and that instant satisfaction is the sole incentive to make you swipe for more.
There’s a lot more to cover in this genre, Football Manager simulation games is a fascinating area to analyse. Then there are weird games like Rocket League – but I’m not marketing the quality fan-merch today.