Are Puzzle Games Becoming More Popular?

By: Lance Hemenway

By Lance Hemenway

Puzzle games have long been a staple in your average gamer's diversionary diet. These games may feature rotating blocks, finding words, or matching colors. But regardless of the mechanic, puzzle games have survived for decades within the overwhelmingly competitive video gaming industry. But can this trend continue? Industry experts struggle to determine the longevity of the puzzle game, in the face of blockbuster titles like Bungie's Halo 3-a game that was viewed by more people than any film released this year.

But what do these "Super" games have that a game like Tetris doesn't. Graphics? Sure. Super-amazing-drop-your-jaw-kinda-graphics have become almost commonplace in the gaming industry. Two years ago, a game like F.E.A.R. was considered "Beautiful" and "Amazing" in terms of graphical performance when it was released on the PC. But now, the game pales in comparison to titles such as Unreal Tournament 3, or Bioshock. Even games that were released as many as six months ago are already looking shabby compared to the latest offerings by gaming's top companies.

But the puzzle game somehow survives. -How can that be?

Well, in a word, Gameplay.

Despite the worlds love for pretty graphics and colorful explosions, solid gameplay beats the pants off shiny graphics nine times out of ten. Sure some games have amazing graphics, but more often than not, these titles are beaten and tossed aside within 10 hours of gaming. How many hours of gaming do you think Tetris provided to the average gamer? Try over a hundred. But that's Tetris-all games can't be Tetris. So what else is out there?

For starters, a recent release from Jenkatgames.com entitled "Discombobulated" springs to mind. Discombobulated is an amazing game that shares more than a little with the aforementioned Tetris. Gamers are given colored balloons that continually stack up, while they try to pop them as fast as possible with a simple straight pin. It sounds simple. (Like Tetris did when you first saw it.) But after a while you'll find it not only challenging, but irresistible.

But wait. These games cost a lot of money right? I mean, gameplay that rivals top tier releases from big gaming companies must cost fifty or sixty dollars at least. No... not really. Discombobulated is free. And like most online games at companies like Bigfish.com or Jenkatgames.com, they're just a good, if not better than their expensive counterparts.

Puzzle gaming isn't going away. If anything, it's getting stronger. Even the big league gaming consoles like the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3 have began to release puzzle games downloads for their online subscribers. But these games often come with a six to ten dollar price tag, offering, at times, the exact same game that would be free on the world wide web. So before you dive into your next sixty dollar video game purchase, take a look at what these online gaming companies are offering up these days. Because in the end. It's all about the gameplay.

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