Monday, May 25, 2009

Midnight Snack: Tower of Greed

How will I ever climb this Tower of Greed? Years and years ago, I took a class called Microeconomics.  My teacher, let’s call him Jay, was fantastic; he regularly employed “real-life" examples: the fluctuating price of PBR, the negative demand relationship between Cotton Candy and Pokes in the Eye, and how much would I pay (literally right then and there) out of pocket for a Milano Cookie.

However, I can’t recall how much he taught me about the Risk/Reward ratios.  I’m sure he discussed it.  Maybe if he’d used Epic Shadow’s Tower of Greed (hosted by as an example, I’d remember.

In ToG, your pasty avatar (a mix of Glover and a Ninji) is tasked with collecting as many gems as he wants in the ever-vertically-scrolling Tower.  However, he can only exit on every fifth floor.  If he gets stuck offscreen, he (presumably) perishes.

Risk: you might squished by the moving screen.  Reward: $$$.  Could it get any simpler?  Not really, and that’s part of the charm.  The aesthetic is 8-bit.  Colorful sprites bounce around to catchy, NES-style music.  Items and enemies factor in occasionally, but most of the tension will arise when your desire for that extra blue gem overtakes your desire to continue moving up the Tower.

I could nitpick about the marginal difference between the game’s two modes (Arcade just seems like a less interesting version of Survival).  Or I could talk about how, after a handful of attempts, the “random” individual floors start to repeat.  But I won’t.  It’s a fun game.  Fun for an afternoon or an unwinding evening.  Plus, it’s got one of the best Game Over phrases I’ve seen in a while: A winner isn’t you.  Maybe a winner isn’t me, but I did learn something about Econ.