I’ve demolished my Tower, evicting over one-hundred bitizens and destroying 60 floors of shops and apartments. I had finally realised that it would never end, there’d be no respite from the constant drudgery, and that I was doomed to stack shelves forever.
It’s not that Tiny Tower wasn’t fun, initially. Figuring out the best way to fill the tower efficiently, making sure that shops were staffed by enthusiastic workers and building new floors to maximise my labour pool were all diverting. The problem comes once you’ve got past this level of expertise. Once you’ve developed a reasonable understanding of Tiny Tower there is no more fun to be had, as no new challenges come forth to hold your interest. The drudge sets in and you find yourself logging in to restock video stores and amusement arcades in between shuttling VIPs from floor to floor.
The question is why? In an open game like this one the activities you are performing have to be intrinsically entertaining or the rewards for reaching milestones have to be special. The reward system for Tiny Tower is achievement based, and could hardly be less compelling. Completing an achievement gives you coins that enable you to perform actions more quickly in the rest of the game. Once you’ve mastered the game’s core dynamic, these rewards become less important and therefore less valuable. Take away the flow you get from mastering the game, the long term interest in Tiny Tower is pretty slight.
Does it matter? It’s a cheap enough game and I got more than a few hours satisfaction from it before coming to this conclusion. The problem is that it is not just a slight diversion. Up until the point I clicked that it was never going to end, it did feel imperative that I build the best tower, and I spent too much time doing so. It is a frighteningly effective time sink. I’m still undecided if that is such a bad thing. It certainly feels like I’ve been manipulated. What makes it more galling is it was all done by building full of pixelated tenants…