Ray’s Welsh games column: Myth Matcher

With so many wonderful games out there, it’s easy to overlook the smaller ones right underneath our noses.

With that in mind, Expansive pledge to help put the limelight on local industry and in particular, this column will look at some of the great games coming out of wider Wales.

The first title under the microscope is slightly unorthodox and goes by the name of Myth Matcher.

Myth Matcher isn’t a game per-say. Well, it is, but that’s not the point of it.

‘Created by Phil Savery, Luke Bowyer and Byron Etherington (as QCP Apps and Entertainment), and commissioned by Drugaid and TEDS (Treatment and Education Drug Services across Rhondda Cynon Taff), Myth Matcher is a simple puzzle game where players match themed blocks to learn more about drugs.’

When matched, the blocks reveal interesting facts on various substances. Originally designed to be played by people from Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taff, there are lessons here for people of all ages and from all areas to learn.

Myth Maker has been specifically designed to improve people’s knowledge of substance misuse and, in particular, looks at Alcohol, Cannabis, Steroids and other new and emerging drugs, such as Mephedrone (better known as Meow or M-Cat)

iOS Simulator Screen shot 31 May 2013 21.00.26

When matching blocks that relate to a specific drug, the game provides facts at the top portion of the screen. While many will be obvious, such as ‘Alchohol causes drowsiness and feelings of nausea’, others are less obvious, such as ‘Steroids can cause facial hair growth in females’ and ‘Benzos are considered Class C drugs if not on prescription.

Take a look at the game in action…

Unquestionably, the intentions of the game are pure and is designed to inform, but from a gamer’s perspective, is it worth playing?

Yes, it can be addictive, but I feel the foundations could have been more dynamic and alluring. Because of that, I feel the game is unlikely to sustain people’s attention for extended periods of time. One main area of contention is the inability to speed up the moving blocks at the bottom of the screen, meaning the player will laboriously have to wait for them to come back around in conveyor-belt esque fashion. Meanwhile, time is ticking and players are losing the opportunity to increase their score.

Also, implementing the facts in a more subtle way probably would have been more beneficial. To many this won’t feel like a game at all. Creating a subtle narrative against a puzzle-based backdrop could have helped the information stick in people’s minds. Instead, they’re just given a dead-pan checklist of facts through a wall of text.

It might also have been nice to have seen some form of multiplayer mode attached, or perhaps some Game Center connectivity, offering a leaderboard and even in-game achievements.

I understand you can’t criticise the game too much. It’s more of an educational tool than a piece of entertainment, but some slight, subtle tweaks could make all the difference in engaging younger audiences, and that’s exactly what this programme is setting out to achieve.

MythMatcherPic2

Still, this is a noble campaign and tackles real hard-hitting issues affecting many young people in the outer parts of Wales.

It’s encouraging to see a more mature educational tool using mobile phones as a central platform. Myth Matcher is neither patronising, nor does it pull any punches in the facts it offers. Whether you think you know all there is to know about the drugs in question or you don’t, Myth Matchers is an interactive information tool that offers innovative levels of engagement for a 21st Century Audience.

Local Government, businesses and senior officials should take note. People digest information in vastly different ways in 2013 and Myth Matcher has identified a unique way to help those facts stick. Once the law is past the illusion that ‘all games are bang-bang, shoot-shoot, dead’, perhaps we’ll see the evolution of this as a platform.

For now, Myth Matcher represents an important first step, and for that it should be properly commended on trying to break the mould of social engagement.

For more information on Myth Matcher, go here – https://www.facebook.com/MythMatcher

You can download the application on Google Play completely free over here

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.drugaidappfinal.mythmatcherupdate&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwyLDEsImNvbS5kcnVnYWlkYXBwZmluYWwubXl0aG1hdGNoZXJ1cGRhdGUiXQ

Alternatively, you can visit the Apple AppStore and download Myth Matcher completely free. Platform specifics are detailed below.

Platform Specifics: Compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or greater for latest update. For the best play experience choose iPhone 4 and above or iPad 2 and above. Android version also available.

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/myth-matcher/id625767351?mt=8

About the author

Ray Willmott

Ray is the founder and editor of Expansive. He is also a former Community Manager for Steel Media, and has written for a variety of gaming websites over the years. His work can be seen on Pocket Gamer, PG.biz, Gfinity, and the Red Bull Gaming Column. He has also written for VG247, Videogamer, GamesTM, PLAY, and MyM Magazine,