Santa Saves Christmas
Wrist games are nothing new but what can the Apple Watch do?
When Nintendo rolled out the original Game & Watch systems, they integrated a clock/alarm with a simple LCD game. It was portable and practical. Those simple games were easy to play on the go, the controls were basic and as a device, it’s easy to appreciate what Nintendo achieved.
And it’s easy to see where the influence for the Santa Saves Christmas game came from. Developed by Light Pillar Software in 2015, along with games like Elf Panic. Exclusively released on the Apple Watch, Santa carries a very reminiscent aesthetic to the Game & Watch titles, emulating an LCD display on the Apple Watch. And it works really well.
Playing games on the Apple Watch
The Apple Watch is the size of, well, a watch. The games available fall into a few distinct categories. Arcade titles, companion titles and text adventures.
Simple works best. With games like Pong, it feels so much more intuitive when you can use the crown on the watch to move your paddle up and down the screen.
The problem with Pong from the Apple Watch App store is that it’s sluggish (especially on my series 1 watch). But the concept is solid. These types of games work well on a small screen.
Santa Saves Christmas solely uses the crown to move your Santa across the screen. No fingers need to touch the small screen!
The game comes with a few sound effects, and two modes of play; Game A and B. As with the Game & Watch titles, Game B is usually a faster, more difficult variation. The colours are used sparingly, emulating the LCD feel of those early handhelds.
I have an absolute soft spot for small, LCD style games and seeing how developers produce experiences for such small screens. The Apple Watch is a device I see with a lot of potential. I’d love to see more titles similar to Santa Saves Christmas, as well as what Sega managed to achieve on the Sega Dreamcast VMU.