26 August 2008

Board Games On Screen

This morning, I fired up the demo for Dangerous High School Girls In Trouble while the kids were getting ready for school. It's been sitting on my hard drive for a while so I had forgotten the description I read that made me want to try the game. One thing I definitely forgot was that this game is styled to look like a board game on screen.

I'm not a fan of a board game interface on computer or video games. I'm not talking about games like Scrabulous, which allows you to play Scrabble with your online friends. The ones that bug me are the imitations of roll-and-move games, whether they are original or a digital recreation of a classic like Monopoly. Pressing a button to roll dice and then letting the computer move your piece is terribly dull. The thing that makes this type of game bearable is when you are playing with your friends and laughing about the text on the board or on the cards. A computer-generated partner doesn't have a great sense of humor.

Even the board-style video games that you can play with friends don't impress me. I've tried two different incarnations of Mario Party, which is supposed to be a great party game. My kids like it, but I didn't have any fun. Not being able to see the whole board at all times is frustrating for me. The mini-games are OK, but I didn't feel invested in my character or beating my opponents the way I usually do with a regular board game or another style of video game.

As I said, there are many board games that make the leap to the screen rather well. I wouldn't want to deal the fiddly scoring of Ingenious on my own, so playing it on the computer is ideal. I just don't see why a game that didn't start out on the table would want to go with a board-game layout when there are so many other options available. I haven't played enough of Dangerous High School Girls In Trouble yet to make up my mind about it, but the layout does give me pause.

No comments: