Tynon, the game that plays itself

I’ve been playing cow clicker games on my ipad lately and have seen the banner ad blitz from several similar F2P games on the Web: Evony, Tynon, whatever that one is that bills itself as exclusively for male gamers.

They all strike me as ochre-jelly slimy. But somebody must think there’s money in them. So I investigated Tynon.

There’s plenty of T&A, but it’s not very… sexy. I can see the lens that allows me to see the female characters as sexy, but the game doesn’t even really work all that hard to objectify. And the figures are tiny most of the time, so you can’t even get all that excited over tiny sprites with what would be proportionally big boobs. Most of the NPCs are mammarily gifted females, but they’re static images. They’re just half-naked drawings telling you to kill ten rats. The sex is almost purely marketing. That’s objectification, but it isn’t porn.

tynon.revolutionarychinaface1

I never learned how to go on the offensive, but this Chinese-revolution-faced siren would try to lure me into it occasionally.

I’ve been watching it for about 20 minutes, and it seems to be less related to an rpg and more closely related to combat guessfests like My Brute.

I let the game name me “Madisyn”, one of several stripper-esque choices. The general populace had the usual doggerel of fantasy-ruiner names, such as “Monkeybutt” or “TigOlBitties”. I could have made a dude avatar, but I wanted to get the full experience.

tynon.yourchoices

Madisyn in her natural habiTIT.

“Auto-Navigation” walks you through what we’ll call “the story” on technical counts. This means it does nearly everything for you. It finds the next quest giver, walks you over there, clicks on him/her, and gives you money for showing up.

In fact, it’s playing itself while I’m writing this. I think I’m fighting zombies right now. Ultimately, this is the best choice because 1) you do a lot of boring things repetitively to grow (without money), and 2) the UI is cluttered like a 5-year-old’s room. You don’t have to mess with that when the game plays itself.

tynon.cluttered UI

What do I click to check on my character stats? Trick question! All of them!

As I spent more time with Tynon, I began to see how deep it runs. It has dizzying complexity in equipment, henchmen, and skills, all of which pour into a central stat called “Power”. You want Power to go up so you can win more fights. Not all the math behind Power is transparent, so if you want to get at Tynon, you have to join the community and research.

What I would think of as the game environment—theme, graphics, my avatar, etc—is revealed to be entirely window dressing. Accordingly, they haven’t dumped just a whole ton of resources into that.

The real “game” is metagame. It involves management of Power-gaining resources, guild management, and a weirdly hands-off PvP, where you don’t control the fight — you just line up your guys beforehand and pick your opponents from a small pool. Protip: Try to pick the ones with lower Power.

tynon.fightVS

You can successfully pick fights with slightly higher-powered opponents.

The game is dog-simple to start and play. If that appeals to you, it’s got quicksand-like capacity to keep you around with numerous clever little F2P touches: rewards based on clicking every 30 minutes, negative reinforcement based around checking in every 24 hours, an announcement of the dollar value of the “gifts” the game gives you so you understand what stuff costs, a crawl that tells you when other players get lucky.

tynon.textcrawl

The box on the lower left gives you server chatter, but when something big happens, everyone sees it in a crawl across the screen.

There’s a business model underneath all of this that doesn’t need quality or even, apparently, a game to lure in money. I can’t tell how much of this bad design/good business is intentional, but I’m thinking, most of it.

I came into Tynon wanting to revile it and left with a begrudging respect. Not for the barely extant game, but for the sharp gamification from uCool, Inc. In addition to Tynon,  uCool operates two different versions of Evony, and a Facebook game called Sunnytown, and yet has no customer-facing website of their own. If you work for uCool or know someone who does, get in touch.  I’d like to see how this watch works.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Tynon, the game that plays itself

  1. I’ve always been curious what an actual erotic game would look like; one handled by a skilled author with deft abilities to build compelling characters. I’m not talking erotic as in porn (or even this example of cheesecake heavy graphics on what would seem to be a basic but well targeted F2P game), but rather the game version of movies like Secretary, Henry and June, or Last Tango in Paris. It would seem that it is a remarkably difficult aspect of human culture and literature to employ in a game, either video or analog.

    Most attempts I’ve seen seem to lean heavily on the players, run highly conservative when it comes to interaction between players, and hide actual encounters behind mechanics or ellipsis (the equivalent of a pan across the fireplace and fade out). White Wolf’s Strange, Dead Love was full of trivia about vampire physiology and essays on handling sex in gaming without offending people, but little support for actual erotic scenes. Other games seem to aim at the young adult teenage drama, with love triangles and heady angst, where playing the pursuit is more important than presenting the passion.

    The other side of the coin would be games that fall under “adult novelties”: dice and books that used to be called marital aides. I will studiously ignore a few curios from the cabinet best left forgotten — we’ll just call them fatal failures. My criteria is that of a skilled author making a *good* erotic game.

    It is a thorny topic, but I would think it could be handled well if a center line of a well crafted game were made that faced the erotic dead on and presented itself unflinchingly.

    Although if it is rolling dice on a table, I’m only playing it with my wife. But then again, maybe there’s the niche.

    • jefftyjeffjeff

      I know Anthony Valterra produced the OGL Book of Erotic Fantasy about a decade ago. You can find that on RPGnow.com if you’re curious. I haven’t done any research or thinking about this topic, but now that I am, I’d guess there’s just not perceived to be an audience for it. And every time sometimes tries a closer swerve (Like BoEF or White Wolf’s SDL) it doesn’t sell well enough to change that perception.

      I suspect that the interest difference scale is similar to the gap between fans of Secretary, Henry and June, or Last Tango in Paris and fans of Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Terminator.

  2. Evade Conquer

    This game has evolved into players making numerous alternate account and hitting them for coins and credits daily. (Up to 10 times) This has unbalanced the game and forces new players and old to believe that they can catch up if they buy gems. WRONG The alts are better than buying gems and you can not keep up with players who are making alts to build up their main toon. So do not waste your time going there. Tynon makes no attempt to solve the alt problem because he raises their revenue by players buying gems in hope to catch up, which they will never do. The person they are trying to defeat, simply create more alts to offset it. Tynon evades the subject of alts, and have never tried to stop this aspect of cheating on their game. They have a rule against it, but do nothing to enforce the rule.

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