The Apple Arcade subscription service was launched last September. And at roughly the six-month mark (as of the time of this writing), it’s fair to say it’s been a success. From the outset, this service has managed to produce unique and often original games. These games seem almost inexplicably different from those in the typical iOS app store — or the Android one for that matter — and the library of options is already fairly extensive.
At the same time though, there’s little doubt that Apple is still hoping for some viral hits in its subscription gaming service.
The company may have gotten the closest thing to that so far with the recent release of Crossy Road Castle. This game, a follow-up to the wildly popular Crossy Road, is an exclusive Apple Arcade property (for now, at least), and is generating a great deal of positive attention. This presents an interesting idea for Apple Arcade: Might tapping into existing hits from unexpected places be the key to more viral attention? If so, these are some ideas Apple Arcade developers might want to consider.
It’s been more than 20 years since Star Fox 64 became a smash hit on the Nintendo 64 system. Since then, the series has largely devolved into an ongoing sequence of disappointing follow-ups and canceled games. However, Star Fox still has fans. An entire generation grew up considering the N64 title to be a favorite. And recently, the news even trickled out that a prominent screenwriter — Gary Whitta, the man behind Rogue One: A Star Wars Story — wants to turn the series into a film.
This might be exactly the sort of property Apple should be looking to capitalize on with Apple Arcade. A mobile adaptation of the N64 game, or a new, similar experience, would be wildly unexpected and instantly celebrated. It would also make for a nice challenge for the service, as people would expect beautiful designs and crisp, varied gameplay. Clearly, an Apple Arcade Star Fox game seems unlikely. But it would catapult the service to new heights of popularity.
Gonzo is a fascinating character in the world of gaming, in that he’s very familiar to some and completely unknown to others. This is because he’s the key character in a very successful online slot machine. Real online casino games aren’t available to everyone and are specifically unavailable to the massive American gaming market that is behind a significant portion of Apple Arcade activity. However, all it takes is a look at some of the prominent casino sites in Canada to see the influence Gonzo has.
To be clear, these sites — similar in Canada, the UK, and a few other countries — have casino games that go beyond the slot genre. However, one overview of Canada’s casino content clarifies the importance of slots, noting that they’re “topping the list of the most popular games in 2020” and are “by far the most played offering available on the web.” And within this category, Gonzo’s signature game, “Gonzo’s Quest,” is the best. It’s a game that uses its slot-oriented gameplay almost as a sort of engine to drive the adventurous quest of the conquistador Gonzo, through ancient Peru and in search of a city of gold.
Right now, this is the extent of Gonzo’s presence in gaming. But to be clear, this makes him the most prominent character in a genre enjoyed by untold millions worldwide. If Apple Arcade developers could get the rights to develop a more conventional Gonzo adventure game, complete with the wonderfully appealing 3D graphics behind the slot reel, said the game could rope in a huge number of new subscribers.
The tower defense genre has been popular for years now, first at browser sites and now, increasingly, on mobile devices. It would suit Apple Arcade to present a leading title within this genre, and the Bloons TD series is ripe for fresh adaptation.
Right now, one could argue that the Plants vs. Zombies series is the most beloved option among tower defense games. However, the latest editions of the Bloons series are typically included among the top tower defense games, and frankly, they fit the prevailing Apple Arcade aesthetic better. That’s not to say all Apple Arcade games look and feel the same, but there is a certain quality to the games’ animation that the Bloons series lines up with nicely.
Ultimately, a fresh Bloons TD game on Apple Arcade would almost assuredly be a wonderful experience and would entice plenty of existing fans of the series to subscribe.
Game Of Thrones
This final suggestion is perhaps the boldest on our list but may also have the most potential to take Apple Arcade to the next level. Simply put, the gaming industry has struggled to this point to come up with a satisfying experience based on the hit fantasy series Game Of Thrones. And if Apple Arcade developers could produce the first such game, it would be a major story.
It would be particularly fun to see an original concept. To date, there have been plenty of games combining adventure, combat, and RPG elements in an attempt to offer playable versions of the Game Of Thrones narrative. But a scaled-down Apple Arcade game using licensed material within a simpler concept might have more success. For example, imagine a beautifully animated jousting arcade packed with Game Of Thrones characters. With good gameplay, lengthy progression, and a big selection of characters, it could become the highlight game the series has lacked for so long.
Ultimately it’s doubtful that we’ll see these specific suggestions come to fruition. They do, however, provide a glimpse of what could happen if Apple Arcade took a chance on an unexpected, but beloved character or title.