Mobile phone is now my video game platform of choice

I remember being glued to the television screen while barely surviving in most of the role playing video games I played when I was young. It didn’t matter that most of them were in Japanese, because I would still slog through the dialogue and snatch whatever I could understand. Ahh, those were the days…

As I grew up, I still played video games, but less often. I’ve always preferred to play on console machines rather than the computer. For some reason, game playing felt right on consoles. But game playing on consoles required switching on the television, switching on the console machine… yeah, I’m getting lazy, and selective about my games (you know, not enough time)… It just feels like a bit of an effort.

Then I started to use the computer more often, as a result of my university work and programming. Since the computer was already on, the notion of playing games on the computer started to be more appealing. But I only really play The Sims. Using the keyboard and mouse to play action games felt awkward for me, but the point-and-click-with-no-rush system of The Sims was ok.

But even that sort of died… the loading time was terrible, I had to save… starting up and ending the game still felt like effort…

Then I bought my iPhone.

Now, I own a handheld console (a DS since you asked), though I don’t play very often. The games aren’t “motivating” me enough. Plus the screen is small, and I still have to start it up to play games.

My iPhone, on the other hand, is different. I keep it switched on when I’m awake. That means, if I want to play a game, I just need to load up the game, which is fairly fast. I’m not isolating the iPhone here. Any mobile phone with gaming capabilities fit into the criteria (but I’m kinda invested with the Apple product… not a fanatic, but just reluctant to change phones in general. You know, I’m just obeying Newton’s first law).

When I want to play a game on my phone, I just start the game up. I don’t have to switch on the phone because it’s already switched on. The start up and closing times are (usually) fast. The games don’t need saving, or saves fast, or saves in a way you don’t notice (like on closing). My only concerns are the small screen, and whether I like the game.

I’m saying all this because applications are about the user. I’ve been looking at the top games from the Apple App Store. They seem to be the type of game where it’s easy to learn, easy to start up, easy to let go. Perfect for the attention-deficit and finicky modern mobile phone user. Compare this to the in-depth role playing games I’ve played in the past, burning through hours of playtime just to gain enough levels so I could at least survive the beginning attacks of the boss fight.

Times have changed…

Can you solve this game math puzzle in seconds?

The game in question is Resident Evil Zero. Didn’t think there’d be a math puzzle in a survival horror game? Neither did I.

The game video footage (video link) is over 10 minutes long, so I’ll highlight the relevant parts. Warning: the player is uh, slightly liberal in his use of words. This video’s considered ok, comparing with his other videos. His commentary is colourful and funny, which is why I watch his videos. He makes surviving in a horror story, fun. *smile*

The player mentions a difficult math puzzle at about 1 minute 44 seconds (henceforth noted 1:44) into the video. That got my attention. A math puzzle in a game?

He even tagged it as such:

Stupid math puzzle

I watched the video till about 7:44, where the math puzzle finally made its entrance.

Resident Evil Zero math puzzle part 1

On the screen is shown a “00/81”. A number pad with number keys 1 to 9 is on the right. When a number key is entered, a knob is lit in red and the value of the number is added to the numerator of the displayed ratio. There are 10 unlit knobs.

The puzzle should be obvious. Match the numerator and the denominator with 10 entries.

This is the math puzzle?! Still, in an action game, any kind of math puzzle is probably fatal. I can fumble on simple additions too. Guess I need to practise more.

Anyway, his answer was 9,9,9,9,9,9,9,8,7,3 for a total of 81. Puzzle solved. Wait, there’s more.

Resident Evil Zero math puzzle part 2

In the second part of the puzzle (at about 8:13), the numerator was obscured. The denominator was 67. This time, the player had to really know what he should enter before entering anything. He fumbled for the right combination for about 2 minutes. And he hadn’t saved the game since the beginning of the game…

With about 20 seconds left on the clock, he finally solved it. His answer was 5,5,5,5,9,9,9,9,3,8 for a total of 67.

So my challenge to you is, can you quickly come up with a solution in a timed situation? How would you solve the problem? What goes through your mind while you’re coming up with an algorithm for it?

I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments. I’ll publish what my thoughts are too (some days later). Hint: the last entry is the most important.

You’re most welcome to submit well thought solutions in pseudocode too, eliminating the limited time factor.