For better or worse, Google+ Games are here. For my part, it’s definitely better. In the several days since I got access, I’ve become far better at Angry Birds than I ever expected I’d become.
Not everyone has access yet though, and many of you who do will have gotten it more recently, so I thought I’d give you a guided tour of the new section.
Finding the Games
First, you should know how to find these new games. Upon gaining access to them, Google changes the interface of your main Stream display. The 4 icons up top for Home, Photos, Profile, and Circles are joined by a new one for Games.
Once there, you’ll see something much like the top image with featured games, and your Games Stream.
The Games Stream & Notifications
The Games Stream is noteworthy – you may be wondering where all the Facebook-like game spam goes. The Game Stream is the answer; it will not be found in your regular conversation streams.
This goes for both games-related stuff from your friends and things you yourself post when you get prompted to Share stuff in Angry Birds or Bejeweled Blitz or whatever you happen to be playing.
The Game Notifications screen is similar to the Games Stream but shows specifically those shares that are directed at you personally.
Notifications are a handy feature and keeping them separate will keep the non-gamers really happy. They’re also easier to find, which is cause for the gamers to be happy too. And I find I do want to see them. Google+ games seem to be pretty heavy on the leaderboard mechanic, far more so than is true on Facebook.
As a result, I and many of my friends have found the Google+ games to be a lot more engaging and fun. (And yes, that is our own Daynah and Kien Tran topping the Angry Birds teamwork-6 level leaderboard, at least among my friends!)
One thing that’s worth noting; Leaderboards are not built in to Google+. Angry Birds makes extensive use of them, as does Bejeweled Blitz, and likely others I haven’t tried yet. But these games do take advantage of Google+ messaging to drive the message home; in Angry Birds, when you beat someone’s score on a level you can Brag about it to them which sends them a Notification (see above) letting them know they’ve been taken down a notch.
The Games List
So what games are available? This list may be badly out of date soon, but at launch there are 16 to choose from.
- Diamond Dash
- Bubble Island
- Angry Birds
- Bejeweled Blitz (Beta)
- Wild Ones
- Sudoku Puzzles
- City of Wonder
- Collapse! Blast
- Zynga Poker
- Dragons of Atlantis
- Crime City
- Monster World
- Dragon Age Legends
- Zombie Lane