Art Style: Cubello

Downloadable content on the consoles has made smaller, more inventive games more possible. With the Art Style series, Nintendo is putting out very small titles which are little more than ‘semi-mini games.’ Cubello is the latest of these titles. Cubello begins by presenting the player with a three-dimensional figure made up of variously colored cubes. The player then launches additional cubes at the figure. When four cubes of the same color are touching, they are eliminated. The goal of the game is to eliminate all of the cubes.

The use of cubes or other shapes in gaming is nothing new. Tetris is a perfect example of that. What differentiates this game, however, is its unique style. The use of color, synthetic voiceover, and minimalist user interface create a sense of ‘museum-quality gaming.’ The product is polished, sharp, and has a low learning curve. Almost anyone can pick up the controller and figure the game out within seconds.

The Games of the Future

What stands out so much about Cubello is how much more advanced it is than other games on a cognitive level. This is the type of game one might see characters playing on a show like Star Trek. Players must perceive the figure in three dimensions. They must remember what colors might be present on the other side of the figure, and take speed, distance, and shape into consideration when making their shots. These elements are all interconnected and are crucial to in-game success. This level of complexity is not usually used in games. While game spaces that exist in three-dimensions are common, they usually emulate real world scenarios, such as battlefields, so the player has a preexisting context in which to place themselves for the game. In this game, however, an artificial game space is created that has no context for the player.

These types of figures do not occur automatically in nature. Therefore, the player probably doesn’t have any inherent experience with these other than instinctive senses of visual perception. This is something very common in two-dimensional games like Tetris, where even though this type of event never occurs in nature, it is simple enough to grasp the mechanics very quickly. The number of variables in Tetris is infinitely smaller than in Cubello, so the player must think that much harder to anticipate, adapt, and perform.

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