Review of Color, a ground-breaking new entry in the new genre of MMPRLMG (Massive Multi-Player Real-Live Marketing Games)

Color is a ground-breaking new entry in the new genre of MMPRLMG (Massive Multi-Player Real-Live Marketing Games).

Imagine yourself emerging from the dense forest of the App Store(TM). In a clearing ahead you see a shiny new icon, a multicolor wheel. Its name is Color. In the distance you hear marketing dogs yelping buzz. “Social!” “Find Someone.” “Party!” You press Install, and your adventure begins!

You tap the app and you’re presented with your first challenge. The gatekeeper. You must enter you name and have your picture taken before you can continue. “What will my name be used for?” you ask. No response. “Who will see my picture?” Silence. “You must give us your name and image or you cannot proceed” the interface insists. You acquiesce, wondering if you haven’t made your first mistake. But there’s no going on until you do, and you WANT to go on.

You are whisked through a portal into a chamber. Along the border are strange icons. In the middle a large, jaunty, mural in the seat-pocket-emergency-evacuation-instructions drawing style. It shows intent people in pants all taking pictures with their phones. The capture reads “Take photos together.”

You decide to explore the icons. One’s sort of an infinity/Ying/Yang. You wonder what that’s supposed to mean. You tap the icon and find yourself on a blank screen. The icon changes to overlapping ovals. What does this new icon mean? You tap that one. You return to the mural room.

You examine the third icon, clearly a clock. You tap it. You see your face, name, and the date. Nothing else. The clock icon is now lit up. You wonder what that means. You notice that questions are starting to accumulate. Should you be writing them down? You tap the clock icon again. It turns into a white screen with the words “No messages.” The icon has turned into a sound-wave. You wonder what that means.

You continue to poke around the interface. There are no settings. No info buttin. No hints. You start to sweat a little. No tutorial. No about screen. No credits. No link to a website.

Then you remember the warning. The one written next to the install button. “Do not use Color alone!” You call up a friend. You both look at the interface together. There’s no change.

Now things are getting spooky. Is this all there is? Is there no one to explain what these things are or how they work? Is this interface really so simple and obvious that it doesn’t need any kind of guide? The though suddenly crosses your mind that you might not be technically savvy enough to understand an interface that’s so simple it doesn’t need a manual!

But this is a Real-Life Adventure game, and you have assists! You cast the Google spell. You discover that the developers spent months developing advanced analysis and data-mining technology. It analyzes location, and position, and light, and ambient noise, and bluetooth signal strength so it can… so it can… “What?” you ask out loud! “What on earth is it going to do with all of this informa…” and you shut your mouth. Is it listening now? Is it analyzing your level of frustration, the shaking in your hand, the defeated angle of the device? Is somewhere a database recording your inability to solve this twenty-first century enigma that you hold in you hand?

You find the company web site. It has no instructions. No “About us!” link. No tutorial, or feature lists, or forums, or support, or contacts, or FAQS. You can almost hear the developers laughing at you! “Silly user, sniffing around our website looking for information! We gather information, we don’t give it out!”

You conquered Myst. You understood the end of Lost. You can do this!. You’re not going to let this new adventure game genre get the best of you! You will master this if it takes all weekend. You discover a button to create a group! You wonder what a group is. Progress, of sorts.

But at least you know it’s just a game, and not actually an app to share photos. And now you also know that you are along. And you’re uncool. And not very clever. Because Color told you so.

by Ghostmoth (All Reviews By Ghostmoth)

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