Game Development Reference
Design for the Medium and the Market, and Create Pop
Says Ryu: “I like to think of hit apps a little bit like popular singles on the music charts—they share some traits.
Like great pop songs, I think a successful iOS game needs a strong hook (or two, or three) to really stand out in
the crowd, make an immediate impression, and spark buzz and word of mouth.”
NOTE “[The hook] could be a delightful and unique control method or gameplay mechanic, novel genre ex-
perimentation, an amazing art style, or your team's impeccable pedigree. You just need something that
jumps out at people and lets their imaginations latch onto it and run wild. It needs to be catchy, ” says Phill
“For a song, that means you can't get it out of your head, and you might find yourself humming it throughout
the day, have friends inquiring what the tune is, things like that,” continues Ryu. “For a game, it's how fun and
addictive it is, and how strongly it compels you to spread it to your friends or rave about it on Twitter, and how
long it remains on your home screen.”
Ryu shares two additional tips.
Design to Take Advantage of iOS' Unique Strengths
Line drawing, direct manipulation, and so on.
“You get big bonus points if you design for the medium and consider how your audience interacts with it. Play
to the touchscreen's strengths instead of designing around its failings—onscreen buttons and D-pads, yech.”
A great example of this principle is High Noon, a popular combat MMO with a unique gameplay twist. The
game uses the iPhone's position-detecting accelerometer to simulate “quick draw” of the player's gun and also