Game aesthetics can make or break your game experience. If you don’t connect to the game from the moment you begin playing, you most likely delete the game or remove it from your device. This week I wanted to analyse one of my all-time favourite mobile games; Hay Day, to identify why I’m drawn to the game.
Game aesthetics refers to the sensory phenomena that the player encounters in the game (visual, aural, haptic, embodied). Game aesthetics also refers to those aspects of digital games that are shared with other art forms. Lastly, game aesthetics is an expression of the game experienced as pleasure, emotion, sociability, form-giving. (Niedenthal 2009).
Hay Day is a freemium mobile game created by Supercell back in 2012. Its core concept is based on the idea of building your farm, joining groups to connect to other players and completing tasks to be able to grow your farm and unlock new features.
The year the game was released is important to note as 2012 was a time where mobile gaming was just being introduced to mobile phone users. This time was when iPhones started to become the more popular smartphone option which led Hay Day developers to test run the game on the apple app store in Canada. Many games during 2012 were bright and bubbly to attract a variety of audiences. Social media was also on the rise at the time and the concept of making things pretty and “aesthetic” was important to attract and keep the attention of players interested in the game. The game’s characters have always stayed consistent with each having similar characteristics and expressions making the visual aesthetics pleasing to look at and its audio that matches makes the game that little bit more aesthetic.
The game has continued since its release to add new features and levels to keep fans intrigued by the game but with each new feature, the game has stuck to its core structure. Visually, Hay Day is bright, modern, and overall has a very cheerful feel to it which was the exact same vibe that when looking back at 2012 had. It’s easy to navigate through and its audio and background music matches its bright, modern, and cheerful vibe. From the moment I discovered the game back in 2013, I was hooked on just the visual graphics and its ease of growing your farm. The managerial backed game gives the player the freedom to build and design their own farms ensuring no farm is truly the same. The game does require internet access which was annoying when I played the game on my iPod touch, but now the game accessibility for me is super simple.
I believe the game has been able to continue its success due to its distinguishable game aesthetics and its ease. Never throughout the game are you told how to play or forced to pay for game features (unless you want to) which makes the game experience even more enjoyable.
If you have never downloaded the game, give it a go, or show me your farm.
Haselton, T 2017, Here’s every iPhone released, in order, and what changed along the way, CNBC, CNBC, viewed 26 August 2021, <https://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/29/every-iphone-released-in-order.html>.
Katkoff, M, 2013, Behind the Success of Hay Day — Deconstructor of Fun 2013, Deconstructor of Fun, Deconstructor of Fun, viewed 24 August 2021, <https://www.deconstructoroffun.com/blog//2013/01/behind-success-of-hay-day.html>.
Niedenthal, S 2009, What We Talk About When We Talk About Game Aesthetics, DIVA, DiGRA Online Library, viewed 24 August 2021, <https://www.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2%3A1408066&dswid=7801>.
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