Shovel Dump Games vs Pixel Games
Photos © Flappy Bird
Date of creation: 01 Nov 2014
Number of apps:: 20
I have been on a soapbox lately touting the difference between Pixel Games and Shovel Dump Games, so allow me to enlighten.
I was speaking with a friend who works for Sony PSP developing games, and he started talking about how a vast majority of mobile games are just "Shovel Dump" games. I was defending the genre of mobile gaming and he was dismissing the format entirely. He thinks true gamers want an immersive experience that only game consoles can deliver and I think the future of gaming has already been hijacked by mobile devices. Neither format will replace the other, but mobile gaming has already become vastly more accessible to a mass audience in a way that console games never will. But I got to thinking, and started to see where my friend was coming from. And that's when I started to get peeved with certain games trying to lump themselves into the Pixel game category when they have no business being there; call it an occupational hazard.
So, what's the difference, you might ask? Well, to me, Pixel games are retro throwbacks to my old arcade days; addictive, enjoyable, pixelated games that are entirely playable, even if difficult, and you can go for marathon stretches of play at a time. Conversely, Shovel Dump games, in my observation, are simple, single action games, that are impossible, simply for the sake of being impossible. No one expects you to play for any stretch of time. No one expects you to rack up a huge high score. And certainly no one but a Rain Man style gamer would spend any meaningful length of time playing a Shovel Dump game. They are disposable; play them once or twice, then uninstall and forget all about it. To me, Shovel Dump games have become the epitome of the mobile gaming environment; games that take little skill to program and even less skill to play. Games like that are less about the play, and more about hungry developers who don't have the time to invest in developing a true game, and are just hoping to score big with the next viral hit. And that's not to say that all Shovel Dump games suck. I have played a few that are actually worth their salt. But by and large, they are disposable, one-off games.
At the end of the day, I think both Pixel games and Shovel Dump games have their time and place, but the genres are vastly different. Each has their devoted audience, and this is not to say that one is better than the other. But as a gaming purist, I certainly feel quite strongly that Shovel Dump games have no place being categorized as pixel games, shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Pac Man and Donkey Kong. But that's just me.
This collection is a compilation of Shovel Dump games that to me, illuminate the difference between this new, emerging genre and distinguishes it from what I know to be a Pixel game. Now that everyone has got it straight, check out these selections and have some fun. Enjoy!
- Make Them FightFast-paced multi-tasking game with ninjas7.6
- Granny TapHelp granny type a letter, one keystroke at a time7.4
- Swing CoptersA pixelated torture device -- er -- I mean, Game7.4
- Daddy Long LegsWho knew it was so hard for spiders to walk?7.0
- Don't Tap The White TileMaddeningly simple8.1
- IMPOSSIBLE ROADAptly Named9.2
- Amazing ThiefStick man game that plays like Flappy Bird6.4
- Chop BlockFrantic pixel styled arcade jumping game6.5
- The DodgersAddictive obstacle dodging game7.3
- Sausage Dog DivingGuide a sausage dog into a pipe7.7
- DuetPerform an amazing dance to navigate the obstacles9.5
- 360 PlanesControl two airplanes at once or die trying6.3
- ALONE...How far can you maneuver?8.3
- POLKA: A Bubble Popping GamePop as fast as you can or pick your battles7.1
- OrbispinWant to induce vertigo? Play this game!6.5
- InvisiBallThe quintessential time killer5.0
- Flappy48Tap ‘n’ Flap7.7
- Don't Touch The SpikesFlappy bird in a spiky cage7.7
- No One DiesSide scrolling stickman hurdle game6.0
- Five Nights at Freddy'sStay alive and don't let the dolls kill you8.9