Friday, March 8, 2024

The Suika Game - a master class in fidgeting

 Lately, our household has been unwinding with the Suika Game, a fruit-themed video game.

It’s certainly an example of a little game that could. It was originally developed by the company Aladdin X for a digital projector. Customers liked it so they released in Japan for the Switch. And exposure via social media led to wider Switch release.

It’s a puzzle game where you are dropping fruit into a container and the game ends when the container overflows. The puzzle bit is that when two fruits of the same touch, they combine to form the next largest fruit, with the watermelon (Suika in Japanese) being the largest.

A big part of the appeal is that the fruits follow physics, at least to a certain degree. Fruit will bounce and roll after they are dropped. I am not convinced that the fruits’ masses are all that realistic but the shifting fruit definitely makes the game more interesting.

I was actually quite shocked that the Suika Game wasn’t designed as a mobile game. It’s exactly the kind of casual game that you can easily waste hours on your phone with. It totally fits that model.

There have got to be hundreds of games like this. Probably thousands. Human beings love pattern recognition and fidgeting and that’s all these games really are. They tap into something that is hardwired into us.

I know Tetris didn’t create this genre but I do think of it as the definitive example of it. I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t the most successful example. Six shapes. Utter simplicity. Endlessly fascinating. The Suika Game doesn’t have that simplicity but it does inspire that compulsion.

I don’t know why the Suika Game clicks so well, although the uber cute fruit and the physics has to be a part of it. It’s got plenty of competition. But it succeeds in entertaining and relaxing us.

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