Ruby Blast: Digging Deeper into Match 3 Arcade Games
We’re just getting started on social arcade games here at Zynga, and the possibilities are endless. For designers like me, raised on quarters and Donkey Kong, arcade truly feels like home. We wanted to bring the nostalgia and fun of arcade games to the Web – its fast-paced play seemed perfect for an online experience. And, as it turns out, Zynga players agree.
Our initial arcade titles, Bubble Safari and Zynga Slingo, are two of our most popular games. Bubble Safari, in true Mark Turmell fashion, is on fire. Players have popped a mind-boggling 115 billion bubbles to-date.
It’s because of this that I couldn’t be more proud to reveal the newest addition to the Zynga arcade family: Ruby Blast, our most fast-paced, visually stunning social arcade game to-date.
Ruby Blast, at a base level, is a matching game; players match gems to clear the board. But our teams in the Seattle and China studios wouldn’t settle for creating another basic match 3 game. After personally working on a number of casual games, including Bubble Town and Minesweeper – along with a team that has everything from Halo and Gears of War to anime feature films on their resumes – we wanted to innovate on the elements we love about familiar gameplay and create a whole new way to experience the category. Our mission has always been to connect the world through games. As play continues to become a bigger part of everyone’s lives, we’re committed to making casual and accessible games that connect everyone from grandparents and college students to families gathered around the dinner table.
In Ruby Blast we’ve introduced new gameplay that, on the surface, is designed to look and feel simple. Players match gems as they dig downward through mines and encounter power-ups that create unexpected surprises and propel gameplay in exciting new ways. However, as players master the game, levels of complexity begin to surface. You’ll learn things like saving power-ups for just the right moment, and how to spread matches from the top of the board to the bottom to dig deeper while filling the power-up meters.
Discovery is better with friends, and throughout Ruby Blast social elements appear in surprising ways. We’ve added Friend Gems – where Facebook friends appear on a player’s leaderboard to drill through layers of rock, helping to boost scores and uncover treasures. Match 3 gameplay yields a naturally competitive race, so we’ve included the challenge to beat your friends to the top of the leaderboard. And coming later this year, players on Zynga.com will be able to challenge friends in a head-to-head race.
In Ruby Blast, we’re hoping to deliver a game that’s relevant to players no matter their skill level. It’s entertainment that easily fits into their life. It’s a game that can deliver minutes or hours of enjoyment. It’s also a game that we think brings a new level of depth* to the category. We hope that you and the people you're connected to give Ruby Blast a try – just don't be surprised if you see your grandma picks it up and kicks your butt on the weekly leaderboard.
*See what I did there?