So, after hearing a little about Curiosity: What's Inside the Cube (22Cans & Peter Molyneux) , I finally downloaded the free IPhone app to see what all the fuss was about. This ended up being a great decision because I learned more about game design when I played Curiosity.
In case you don't know, Curiosity is a game about a massive cube that has hundreds of millions of tiny cubes covering the next layer of cubes. Everyone connects to the same server and edits the same cube, making beautiful, massive, and sometimes revolting pictures in the layer. I'd strongly recommend you try out the game because of what makes it truly genius.
The hardest part of designing a game like Curiosity was likely player attachment. How do you get thousands of people to tap millions of cubes every single day? This is where the genius of Curiosity shines through. They took the absolutely monotonous task of tapping tiny cubes and made a system that is extremely exciting and addictive.
Basically, every cube is worth a point. When you tap several cubes in a row, you get point multipliers (the highest I've gotten is x18). You will lose your multiplier if you 1)wait too long to tap the next cube or 2)tap an empty space. These two mechanics make it so you literally cannot put the game down. Rule 1 makes it so you have to fiercely slide to the nearest cube, and Rule 2 makes it so you can't just spam cubes as fast as you can. There's also a point bonus for clearing every cube off of your IPhone's screen, forcing the players to be even more uniform than they might already be.
Rules 1 & 2 are the most important pieces of the game. They make your heart race when you are only a few hundred points from that last high score but you could lose it by making a single wrong move.
So, what do you guys think? How would you approach designing a game where the player has to do a seemingly monotonous task? Make sure you get the game and try it out yourself, I'm sure you wont regret it.