Thanks for all the fish, but it was not enough.

I have been subscribed to Apple Arcade for at least one year (or maybe two?) but after the announcement of the upcoming increase in price, about 20% more, I decided that it was time to cancel. In fact I had been unhappy for a while, the price change was just the last straw.

What’s wrong with Apple Arcade then ?

The mobile landscape for mobile games is quite awful, as most of the titles you can find the Apple Store are either

  • Mobile port of some PC/Console game (not interested in this, I already have Steam)
  • Ad-infested games
  • IAP-infested games
  • The two above together

I wanted to be able to enjoy some casual gaming without having to wade suffer unskippable ads, loot boxes, timers etc. (even more important, I don’t want my kid to have to do that, as it is even harder for them), and Apple Arcade appeared to be providing just that.

Unfortunately it didn’t work out for me:

  • A lot of games are regular games that have their IAP and Ad removed. Nicer experience, but the mechanics remains the same, which means that they are not optimizing for your enjoyment, but for the time spent. For example, if you play a solitaire game they will give you timed event, daily challenges, daily tasks etc. I mean, sure add them if you want, but what about first giving me a different type of game ? Nope, one gazillion solitaire games, and they are all Klondike.
  • There is not much choice. A few indie games, a couple of uninteresting big titles, lot of games trivial games. I knew it when I subscribed, but I was hoping that in time it would get better. Alas, it did not.
  • My kid wouldn’t play them anyway, somehow regular games were always more interesting. Luckily, these days it’s all about Minecraft and Roblox for her, and with a subscription to Roblox Premium she is having so much more fun.

What about me, and what has it to do with this blog ? I am mostly interested in simple games and puzzles, I now I plan to write a few of them. You can try my clone of 2048: the behavior is not identical to the original (that was not the point) but it looks fairly good to me. Writing it was quite a bit of fun and it didn’t take too long, except perhaps the time (too much!) that I spent learning about the various color schemes that you can use in CSS: HSL, HWB, LAB, LCH… oh my ! The result is probably not worth the time spent, but at least it is not ugly. The fact that, for the first time, I was trying to add both light and dark mode to a webapp, didn’t help, generating two “opposite” but related set of colors is not trivial task for me.

On the other side, CSS transitions are easy and fun to use. Too bad they don’t seem to perform too well on iPhone safari. I need though to remember that transitions and animation are two unrelated things in CSS, I spent plenty of time investigating the wrong thing :-).

What’s next ? I have a simple board game in mind, but that will take more than a Sunday afternoon.