Let us review in the briefest possible terms, how sound in timekiller games contributes to immersive experiences and how those experiences operate in the attention economy: 1) playing timekiller games demands increasing levels of attention; 2) the games participate in the attention economy, despite appearing to be simple little timekillers; 3) the games produce affective value; 4) players and games participate in a mixed economic model of game purchase, advertising, and in–app purchases, converting affective value into material value and back again; and 5) the player is re-inserted into the attention economy to produce further affective value and continuing the circuit.
In sum, then, audio-hyperrealism is a crucial component for the overdetermined immersive engagements that lead to the production of value in timekiller games. As one component of a complex “package” of features in an immersive experience, the ability of the clicks, squishes, and vacuum sounds in these games to straddle the otherwise clear division between fantasy and reality offers one powerful component that has drawn me into spending far too many hours playing them—or perhaps just enough to be able to begin thinking about them. These apparently simple little games are not just complex mathematical problems, as New Scientist pointed out about Candy Crush Saga, but also nodes of participation in an attention economy that, at least in the case of these timekiller games (and, I would argue, much more generally), converts forms of value back and forth in circuits that make them anything but “stupid.”
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Angry Birds (2009 et passim) Rovio Entertainment
Assassins’ Creed (2007 et passim) Ubisoft
Bejeweled (2001 et passim) PopCap
Bookworm (2003 et passim) PopCap Games
Bubble Ball (2010) Nay Games
Call of Duty (2003 et passim) Activision
Candy Blast Mania (2013) Storm8
Candy Crush Saga (2012) King
Depression Quest (2013) Postmortem Studios
Farmville (2009) Zynga
Flappy Bird (2013 ) GEARS
Forbidden Arms (2014) GodSeeD Studios
Fruit Ninja (2010) Halfbrick Studios
Budcat Creations (2007–2009)
Vicarious Visions (2007–2010)
Jelly Splash (2013) Wooga
Mighty Jill Off (2008) Anna Anthropy
Plants vs. Zombies (2009) PopCap
Samantha Swift series (2008) MumboJumbo
Tetris (1984) Alexey Leonidovich Pajitnov (and many developers and studios since)
To Fu (2011) HotGen Ltd.