The One Day Wonder Of Pocket God

I’ve just discovered Pocket God, a 99c/59p app for the iphone which is currently in it’s 28th iteration since launch a year or so back. Clearly I’m not alone in loving this app – it has a huge following online.

For a 35 year old I’ve got a fairly extensive gaming history – albeit one that’s now a good few years out of date. From my Dad’s former employer in the early 80s (Dragon Computers, with the Atari-esque solid-state cartridges and the BBC-B form factor), through the obvious Spectrum/Sega/Nintendo/PlayStation stages etc. There was the odd hiccough – notably the quickly defunct Game Gear, the Dreamcast and a machine that is now so fogged in my memory that I can’t even recall it’s name – although it was one of the first to have a built in (!) cd-drive and was consequently a hilariously/notoriously ‘charismatic’ piece of kit. Also, I did work for PlayStation for a while, launching Tekken 3 for the console first time around.

I’m pretty sure that I documented it here previously but a few years back Emma and I had a week long discussion regarding the merits of me buying a latest-gen console – either an Xbox or PS3 in all probability. The upshot was that we decided instead to buy bikes for ourselves and the family which seemed to signal the end of Daddy’s videogaming (and possibly the late onset of adulthood). To be honest, I have had that little time for the last couple of years that I didn’t fight particularly hard and Em’s conviction that kids should be out bouncing on a trampoline, playing a game or indeed riding a bike seems pretty reasonable to me – so, that’s where it lay for about two years.

However, with the availability of apps, I’ve recently dabbled in one or two games in the odd spare moment – particularly old favourites such as Doom and a Shrek-branded version of Mario Kart, the game that single-handedly saw myself and my housemates through many a late night during the University years.

I’ve never been attracted to either wargames or simulators – so the concept of Pocket God is completely new to me. At first, I couldn’t see the point but then, after playing with it for a while, it becomes weirdly absorbing. The premise is that the player acts out the role of a god character for a micro-tribe of island-bound pygmies. Effectively the player has two options, mischievous ways to abuse the islanders and the odd way to show a degree of benevolence. The emphasis is squarely on the former which is both amusing and slightly disconcerting.

I have been struggling to understand how games which usually retail for circa £30 – £50 (a fact which I could never quite reconcile as a gamer) can be made available via such small payments – but I think Pocket God has the answer: whilst it was really absorbing for a day, thereafter it seemed like there was little else to do. Until Chapter 29, which I’m sure will provide another short burst of entertainment.

Nevertheless, I’d recommend Pocket God to anyone that’s open minded and has a slight interest in gaming. What else can you buy for 59p these days?