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Quick Takes

This column is a reprint from Unwinnable Monthly #102. If you like what you see, grab the magazine for less than ten dollars, or subscribe and get all future magazines for half price.

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Revisiting stories, old and new

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I’m not sure that I’m unhappy that there was never a full-fledged WiiU Animal Crossing release. As much as the mobile Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp leaves to be desired as a sort of Animal Crossing lite, I think there’s something about Animal Crossing that lends itself to a mobile environment. Whether it’s my phone or a 3DS, if I’m going to play a game that requires and rewards me for checking in every day, then it’s helpful to be able to carry the game with me. I’ve tried the Wii-based Animal Crossing: City Folk, but even beyond the fact that it’s hard to move backwards in a game as iterative as Animal Crossing, it was simply hard to maintain investment in the game’s demands when it meant taking over my entire living room. Maybe the Switch will bridge this gap better than the WiiU would have, but maybe Nintendo should just put out a full phone/tablet-based Animal Crossing.

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Perhaps the most effective element of Good Egg Games’ Gerrymander, which asks players to draw rigged districts for imagined elections, is the way it almost lets the player forget exactly how mis-distributed the representation they create really is. Once the player masters the basic patterns of district drawing, the process almost feels natural, and it’s worthwhile every now and then to count the actual number of blue and red constituents and confront the fact of precisely how few end up able through unbalanced districting to exert influence over how many. It’d be scary if real life worked like this, right?

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Right?

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It has been a while since Unwinnable Editor-in-Chief and Surprisingly Warm and Fuzzy Lord of Darkness Stu Horvath has given out high fives on Twitter. I would like to take this opportunity to offer The Rocket Science Group’s (MailChimp-branded, but hey, nothing is perfect) game Fast Fives to anyone feeling the need for a high five fix. Including Stu.

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I downloaded the mobile version of Phantasy Star II ages ago, but I’ve still never opened it. I apparently prefer to continue playing the insipid card-collecting game Heroes of Dragon Age even though five years after the game’s release (and nearly four years after the release of Dragon Age: Inquisition), there’s really no objectively compelling reason to do so. Heroes of Dragon Age isn’t even putting up much of a pretense of adding new or clever versions of Dragon Age characters anymore and has substantially increased the drop rates for the highest card tiers as a last carrot to keep players coming back. I’ll um, let you know when it stops being just enough. Maybe tomorrow.

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Heroes of Dragon Age is at least slightly less cynical than Tap My Katamari, which I am for the purposes of this column going to pretend does not include a stat counter that tells me that I have tapped my screen 9.26 million times while playing the game. I really, really hope that number includes all of the crazy multipliers that I’ve added as power-up, but you know, maybe that isn’t any less embarrassing.

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I would be so much better off just playing the daily puzzle from Zach Gage’s Typeshift. And I do! Sometimes.

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Hasn’t it been a while since the last Simogo game? No, I am not trying to distract you from my apparently abhorrent mobile gaming habits. I can’t believe that you would even suggest that.

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After all, there’s nothing wrong with a mostly-thoughtless game built on one solid mechanic as a pleasant time-killer. Like Sling Kong! Or Dots! Or even Bejeweled! There is absolutely nothing wrong with Bejeweled Classic or even Bejeweled Blitz. They’re perfectly fine.

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Not every game has to be Gorogoa.

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And now I need to go redecorate my fully expanded and paid off Animal Crossing camper. Because there’s nothing better I could be doing with my time, apparently.

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Gavin Craig is a writer and critic who lives outside of Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter @CraigGav.

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