That’s not a picture of Jamie wondering who farted, it’s just visual proof that, despite fears to the contrary, Megara Entertainment’s Fabled Lands iPhone game is far from being totally JPRG in style. In fact the app has hundreds of pictures with a range of styles reflecting the various locations, all aimed at giving a respectful facelift to the old ’90s incarnation of the books.
Wait – back up a sec. Did I say “iPhone”? I did indeed, because Mikael Louys’s team have done the conversion work so that you can play the game without needing to buy an iPad. You ask me, I’m still going to tell you to buy an iPad, but Mikael wanted to make it easy for you. The game will run on an iPod Touch too, so you don’t even need a fancy phone.
Mikael reports that the FL app has shot up to #63 in the main USA roleplaying rankings on iTunes. This is no mean feat, given that it has been on sale for barely 36 hours. I know I will be asked two questions. First, “How can one or two sales make any difference to FL’s future fortunes?” Well, as I’ve explained before, getting a high ranking on iTunes makes a game more visible, which leads to more people being aware of it and hence more copies sold. This is why early sales are so important, to boost that ranking quickly up and reach escape velocity.
Which leads to the other question: “How will buying an iPhone app lead to new Fabled Lands books?” Because no entertainment business these days can survive by selling one product. Marvel don’t make money by just selling comic books, they create properties that are multi-stranded and you support those properties whether you buy the comic, the DVD or just the Iron Man lunchbox. Fabled Lands LLP makes just as much revenue from sales of the FL app as from sales of the new edition print books, meaning that a sale of either of those is another tick in the column that may convince the FL board to fund new gamebooks.
But who cares about all that business stuff? The fact is that Megara have produced a brilliant reinvention of the first FL book as a 2D roleplaying game, in living color with atmospheric music, and you get at least 20 hours of gameplay for about $5. It’s a no brainer, even for old Jamie the Orc there.