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Over the last years, significant progress in the development of technologies was achieved, especially in mobile systems. Mobile systems and communication technologies have moved to a new level of development. Smartphones, tablet PCs, and other gadgets gradually replace push-button telephones. Besides, the role of media entertainment has been increased and now practically every owner of a smartphone has a mobile application, a fascinating game, or a social network for communication. “Clash of Clans” (COC) is a popular mobile game. It is famous for the innovation of unusual educational and competitive environment. The game makes one feel excited because of belonging to the great virtual society.
The game erases cultural and physical borders and makes communication easier and enjoyable in any place. In the following paper, we will concentrate on the history of mobile games, describe “Clash of Clans” and examine the reasons for its popularity, and, finally, we will discuss the disadvantages of mobile games.
History of mobile games
The media entertainment market becomes more and more popular year by year. With the appearance of new gadgets, game developers are adapting their projects. Such an ordinary thing as a smartphone, which several years ago has been a technological wonder, now is taken for granted. With the help of some mechanical operations, an owner of a smartphone has an opportunity to dip into the atmosphere of another fantastic world. There are many positive features in mobile games. They are amusing and educational at the same time. Mobile games open the new era of life — digital communication and time spending.
For a range of reasons, the first mobile games were not so widespread as the contemporary versions. The first models of mobile phones with liquid crystal screens did not have color graphics or a powerful sound card. This fact determined the relative simplicity of mobile games. Nokia developed the first mobile game in 1997. It was Snake. The appearance of this game was significant progress for that time.
The distinctive features of the first games were the fact that they were free of charge and supplied together with a mobile phone. In other words, the popularity of one or another model depended upon the popularity of the model of the phone. The appearance of the phone with a camera was a new stage in mobile games development. New graphical possibilities and relatively high storage space gave to the developers an opportunity to produce games with higher resolution and graphics. For instance, such games that demanded the usage of the camera appeared. As a result, the Namco Company introduced a new fighting game.
The players could create characters with the help of personal photos. At that time, the Panasonic Company developed the game that was the analog of Tamagotchi in which a virtual animal was nourished by pictures of food. The characteristic features of this stage were the first sales of mobile games, which made a profit for their developers. At the beginning of the XXI century, many various applications from simple puzzles up to games in 3D format were represented in the world game market. At that time, arcade games with shortened playing sessions were especially popular.
Nowadays, with the appearance of smartphones and tablet computers, mobile games are viewed in another quality. After the implementation of 3D API technology, the development of mobile games in this format has become a promising trend in this sphere. At the same time, many contemporary mobile games fulfill entertainment as well as communicative functions. They enable players to exchange messages, create their clans, and even trade with each other.
Among an excellent variety of mobile games, it is possible to distinguish a separate category where players can communicate with each other. The existence of a chat system in this type of game provides players with additional opportunities.
One of such games is “Clash of Clans” – a strategy game that has been created by the Finnish developer Supercell. The game is for mobile devices, and it is free of charge. Playing the game via a mobile device is an easy and quick task. Almost everyone has a smartphone. The only thing one needs is access to the Internet. One can enjoy playing “Clash of Clans” everywhere: at home, in the car, in a café, and any other place (Islam, Islam and Mazumder 75).
Clash of Clans. The description of the game
“Clash of Clans” is a real-time strategy that combines such genres as RTS and Tower Defense in which a player has to plan every action carefully. A player has not only to defend his base from other players but also to attack them. Apart from a single campaign, it is possible to take part in competitions, which imply battles with other users. No player of this game is protected against the attack. A player has to elaborate a definite tactic and strategy to be successful in this game. Besides, one has to create a feeling of confidence and collaboration in a team to be able to move forward.
The plot of the game, which is represented by a single company, is rather straightforward. It is necessary to fight against enemies conquering and destroying their fortresses. As for the rest, a player has an opportunity to act without any limitations. This fact is one of the reasons that has predetermined the success of the game. It is possible to be a peaceful builder and a founder of a powerful colony, or it is possible to become an aggressor and a conqueror. In such a way, a player is not restricted to any limitations. The role chosen by a user may reflect his or her individuality.
One of the most significant opportunities in the game is the ability to create their clan or to join the existing one. The access to a clan opens up new possibilities for a player. It gives a chance to take part in various battles among different alliances. Li and Counts state that “team play is found to be counter to the casual nature of the game, but competition acts as an effective motivator” (696). This statement is true for the game “Clash of Clans”. Apart from tactics and strategy, the success in the game drastically depends upon the clan.
This game has a smart cartoonish graphic and well-elaborated gameplay. The clan system and the chat are the essential factors that have predetermined the success of the game. The membership in a group increases the power of a players base significantly. At any moment, a player has an opportunity to ask for help from the members of his group. If there are experienced players in a team, who have been playing for a long time they can help with more powerful units.
A system of continuous war is one more feature of the game. COC is one of the most popular top rank mobile games. After its release in 2012, it rapidly became the most popular game in Apple App Store (Tweedie par. 2). It is possible to distinguish several reasons that have predetermined its success and which are typical of many mobile games of this type.
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Reasons for the popularity of mobile games
The most important reason is that any person has a communication need. In such kind of games, there is a chat system that enables players to communicate with each other. A necessity for communication may be compared with such basic human needs as water or food. It is possible to argue that the various acts of communication are present in our everyday life. Nevertheless, everyone has a job, hobby, and problems in the real life.
The act of communication in mobile games differs significantly from that taking place in the real life. In the game, players have common interests, which band people together. The communication is rather specific here. These games attract people from all over the world who have never seen each other before. In such a way, there are no social prejudices in their interaction. It helps shut-in personalities to loosen up. There is no social inequality in mobile games.
For instance, a top manager of a huge corporation and a student may be the members of one clan, and the only difference between them lies in the levels of their virtual characters. At the same time, the user obtains new knowledge concerning one or another aspect of the game while communicating with other players.
“Clash of Clans” enhances communication between people. I would like to provide an example from my life to exemplify this reason. I like playing COC everywhere. I can sit on the bench in the yard and enjoy my favorite game. Two Japanese girls live in the same area. Once, they noticed me when I was playing the game. We started a conversation because they recognized the game. COC is popular in their country. That is why they decided to speak to me and discuss it. This situation exemplifies the first reason as well as leads to the understanding of the second one.
The second reason, which makes these games attractive lies in the fact that a man is a social creature. He or she needs assistance from friends. Many people are lonely in the real life. At the same time, new contacts are quite natural in online games. Players are more sociable when they belong to a particular group that represents one clan or unity in a game. The need to create a society even in virtual reality exemplifies the phenomenon when one is alone, but the game renders the feeling of belonging to the community (Li and Counts 697). Such a function of the game proves the fact that a man, as a social creature, finds any possible means to interact with others.
The next reason, which may be distinguished, is self-actualization. Quite frequently, a person is not satisfied with his or her real occupation while nothing is impossible in virtual reality. The development of a character and the implementation of a goal is a possibility for an ambitious person to realize his potential. Regardless of his status in the real life, a mobile game helps a person to become the best hero. Digging into the atmosphere of virtual reality a person forgets his problems and troubles finding himself in the world where he can fully realize himself.
Moreover, there is a lack of freedom in the real world while there is no restriction in the world of fantasy. A user has an opportunity to choose the behavioral strategy that cannot be realized in the existing life. Besides, at any moment a player can project himself into another character.
It is possible to say that all the factors mentioned above are present in the mobile game, which is called “Clash of Clans.” Besides, the mere existence of such a game promotes different connections between people. Apart from the particular communication that aims at various game activities such as the development of a common strategy or participation in a definite event, the players of this game create different groups based on other chat platforms.
It may serve as evidence that those people who have a general idea have a thirst for communication. The professional chat platforms provide many opportunities that are absent in chat systems integrated into mobile games. For instance, the creation of a definite group or photo and video sharing. Sometimes, there is a need to distinguish between several topics of communication. In the majority of web communities, there are many helpful hints given by experienced players to newcomers.
Dangers and disadvantages of mobiles games
Mobile games have their disadvantages as well. The primary hazard, which is hidden in online games, is their possibility to cause addiction. Like any drug or alcohol, mobile entertainments hurt a person. Being addicted to mobile games, a person completely loses the touch with reality and even refuses food and sleep. Psychologists prove that children who experience low self-confidence are more likely to become addicted. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents to allow children to play no more than two hours per day (“Hooked: The Attraction of Casual Mobile Games” 3). Excessive playing is a severe psychiatric deviation, which requires medical treatment.
Preschool children and adolescents represent a separate at-risk group. While an adult person can resist excessive playing, the childish mentality, which is not fully-fledged completely, comes under the influence of online games. It also should be mentioned that the sense of time of an adult person differs from that of a child. An adolescent may spend several hours playing computer games thinking that he spends only several minutes. There are many cases of crime commitments by adolescents with computer dependency.
At the same time, there is a particular financial danger from mobile games. The fact that a mobile game is free of charge does not suggest that there is no need to spend money on successful playing. For instance, equipment, resources, virtual buildings, virtual animals can be purchased for real money. The majority of online games provide this kind of service. There is a category of players who earn money by playing. In such a way, even the distribution of free programs implies a significant material benefit for the software developer (Islam, Islam, and Mazumder 75). There are many cases when a computer addicted person spends large sums of money to develop his character as quickly as possible.
Another negative side, which is also worth mentioning, is the fact that mobile games promote a lack of self-trust. A child used to be a hero in a game, and he or she is confused after facing the reality, which leads to self-doubt, irritation, and depression.
It is necessary to mention that mobile games are rather useful in simulating various educational scenarios. As Schmitz et al. put it “using authentic game scenarios based on the patterns Physical Navigation, Collaborative Actions and Roleplaying can be successful in training younger school children” (169). Lu et al. state that “advances in mobile technologies and the popularity of handheld devices have opened up new accessibility opportunities for education” (101).
Mobile games, such as COC, band people together. At the same time, the problem of excessive playing also exists and it should not be neglected. It is significant to familiarize players with the dangers concerning too much playing. As a variant, game producers can set a limited timing for playing. One more solution is to allow free play for a particular time and then require a high fee for continuation. Mobile games represent a prominent step towards technological development. It is a new form of communication that unites people. “Clash of Clans” makes people closer despite their location, nationality, or personal beliefs.
Hooked: The Attraction of Casual Mobile Games. n.d. Web.
Islam, Rashedul, Rofiqul Islam and Arafhin Mazumder. “Mobile Application and Its Global Impact.” International Journal of Engineering & Technology IJET-IJENS. 10.06 (2010):72-78. Web.
Li, Kevin and Scott Counts. “Exploring Social Interactions and Attributes of Casual Multiplayer Mobile Gaming.” Proc. of the 4th Intl. Conf. on Mobile Technology, Applications and Systems.10.12 (2007):696-703. Mobility. Web.
Lu, Chris, Maiga Chang, Kinshuk , Echo Huang and Ching-Wen Chen. “Context-Aware Mobile Role Playing Game for Learning – A Case of Canada and Taiwan.” Educational Technology & Society. 17.2 (2014): 101-114. Web.
Schmitz, Birgit, Petra Schuffelen, Karel Kreijns, Roland Klemke and Marcus Specht. “Putting yourself in someone elses shoes: The impact of a location –based, collaborative role-playing game on behavior.” Computers and Education. 85.1 (2015): 160-169. Print.
Tweedie, Steven. “Why ‘Clash Of Clans’ Is So Incredibly Popular, According To A Guy Who Plays 16 Hours A Day.” 2014. Web.