Playdom's Steve Meretzky and Dave Rohrl outlined the 10 most important social games of the last year as part of an enlightening and entertaining talk Monday at GDC 2012, all of which represent a big, emerging, or overlooked trend for the space.
By Christian Nutt From GAMASUTRA
The Game Developers Conference (GDC) may be a time for connecting and brainstorming, but it can also be a time for back patting. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. Jokes aside, It's important to recognize past achievements to inform future decisions. Playdom VP Steve Meretzky and creative director Dave Rohrl named the 10 most Facebook games of 2011 during a talk at the event in San Francisco.
Zombie Lane by Digital Chocolate was name-dropped for its zombies that "percolate through the game in interesting ways" in what otherwise is a farming game, Meretzky said. The VP went on to give King.com's Bubble Witch Saga a nod for adding a social progress map that isn't present in other bubble-bursting games on Facebook.
Of course Playdom's very own Gardens of Time was mentioned for popularizing the hidden-object genre on the network.Oddly enough, Meretzky made an example of Playfish's Monopoly Millionaires as a branded Facebook game gone wrong. Gamasutra reports that the Playdom VP called the game "too simple and shallow" and that it was "repetitive and grindy, lacking any strategic depth." That said, the duo turned around and congratulated Playfish on an unparalleled use of branding for The Sims Social, calling it a "category killer."
CastleVille by Zynga earned a mention purely for its production values, though they called the game a "slick and really polished FrontierVille re-skin," Social Point's Social Empires was name-dropped for proving Rohrl wrong that strategy social games would fall by the wayside in 2011. The indie darling of the social games world, Triple Town by Spry Fox, was named for being the most innovative Facebook game the two saw last year. Of course, Words With Friends was mentioned for being the biggest game on Facebook in terms of daily players. Rohrl believes that the Scrabble knockoff will herald a trend in 2012: "This is the year of crossover from mobile to web." Well, congratulations, guys, most of you managed to impress two of the most important folks at Playdom.
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