The other day, I was at Old Country Buffet (sorry, they no longer accept personal checks) celebrating my mother-in-law’s 61st birthday. Buffets in general are quite frightening, but add “Old” and “Country” in front of them, and you are just asking for trouble. Something about buffets really speaks to our older generation. The same ideals that caused them to spoil us into oblivion, giving us everything we ever wanted, but then complaining about how spoiled we are, draw them to the never-ending abundance of the all-you-can-eat buffet.
Standing in line with the fellow dregs of society, ready to shove large amounts of freshly unfrozen prime-rib, mac ‘n’ cheese, orange chicken, and carved rope sausage down my gaping pie-hole, I found myself unable to maintain further polite conversation and retreated to the electronic, non-fleshy safety of my Motorola Q Windows mobile SmartPhone. In most circumstances, I don’t spend more than one literal minute fiddling around with my phone to help pass the time and/or ignore the other human beings and their faces as we queue up for our driver’s license renewals.
Speaking of license renewals, the most intense sensation of “dagger eyes” that I have ever experienced was at the local Department of Motor Vehicles. Those of us with enough internet savvy to renew our licenses online are given the dangerous option of cutting to the front of the line without so much as a cursory glance at the number giving machine. Woe be to those who choose such a fate, as the amount of dirty looks and stink-eye you may receive for doing so may be too much for those with a fragile will to stand.
In this case, the Old Country B does not grant special favors to those of us with knowledge of the TCP/IP protocol, so I was stuck waiting in line. With plenty of time to look at every single one of my phone features multiple times, I stumbled across a link to the beta version of the Windows Mobile version of the non-Facebook version of Mytopia.
Recently, recent start-up Mytopia paid homage to The Sierra Network/ImagiNation main “map” page with a stunning reproduction. Some might call this a straight-up rip-off, and to those I say, “BOAT DOCK, SIR! BOAT! DOCK!”. Thanks to the limited resolution of my free 100K Pixel web camera, it almost looks like I’ll be ready to play Boogers and/or Mini-golf at a moments notice.
During the heated discussion that raged on the INN Revival Google Group when Mytopia first launched, I summarized my initial impressions of the game service:
After refitting my avatar with a sweet pipe and Santa hat, I entered the Bingo arena with excitement. I’d kind of forgotten my love of BINGO, however, I soon learned that they play a different type of BINGO in Mytopia than I remember. I know it’s probably too much to hope for an authentic church basement experience with dingy walls and chain-smoking Grandmas, but I just couldn’t help but want that. Secondly, the pace of the game was way off for me. I was prepared for a slow-paced game with maybe a minute or two between number calls, allowing me to chat it up with fellow players (which I would have thought would be the underlying “primary” objective of the game). Instead, the numbers come flying at you every 10 seconds (maybe less) and you are forced to constantly keep an eye on your cards (which you can have up to four of). Even with one card going, I could not keep up my usual torrent of non-sequitors and outrageously off-topic chat messages. Add to that the fact that chat window takes up less than a fourth of the screen, and I just wasn’t hooked. It has reignited my passion for BINGO, though, and I must now seek out a local old-school BINGO night with which to quench my BINGO thirst.
I had also played Video Poker for 2 minutes and it didn’t make much sense, either. Rather than just have a regular Poker game, they chose to place us in front of our own individual poker games that are played individually, individual of each other. While I could enjoy that sort of thing at a live casino, again, it’s too difficult to chat and interact with others.
That being said, the mobile version of Mytopia is probably the most faithful mobile recreation of a full-sized application I have ever seen. The communication problems mentioned are compounded by the mobile format, but it appears that they have spent a significant amount of time making Mytopia look and feel exactly as it does on a desktop. Well played, Mytopia. Now all it needs is a game that I might actually want to play, and voice-chat.
Intrigued? You too can keep tabs on the latest happenings at Mytopia via their “Labs” page:
OH! Whoops…that’s the wrong link. My bad. Here you go: