The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutras community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.
“As long as Indies don't open new markets, we may well be in a ‘bubble’. But there are huge untapped markets out there. I see far too few Indies going for them and far too many building yet another rendition of Zombie Post-Apocalypse. Game developers should be setting the next trend that will hit the market in 5 years, not trailing behind everyone else like a bunch of Linuses dragging our security blankets behind us.”
Gamasutra community member Judy Tyrer commenting on the recent Gamasutra expert blog post “The Glorious Lie of the Indie Bubble”
Speaking of huge untapped markets, the independent game development community just got a big boost in its relevance late in 2013 with the emergence of the new independent mobile apps developer Zuan Xin Lucky Dragon. I believe I am qualified to say this because I am a real world beneficiary of this heretofore unknown Las Vegas company that has in one brush stroke created and taken leadership of the mobile Chinese gambling expert apps segment.
My story is the story of a mobile game app developer become casino gambling addict subsequently recovered by way of an amazing mobile game app. You see, I like casino gambling, much too much. The game of baccarat with its trillions of possible shoes is my favorite just as it is with so many of my fellow Chinese. Baccarat in the casinos in California and Nevada became my diversion of choice from the rigorous grind of independent mobile game app design and development.
Assessing myself smarter than the average gambler, I arrogantly but unsuccessfully determined to unmask this simple yet mysterious game, losing way too much money along the way. The casino dealers and pit bosses always smile when someone like me shows up, like judo masters the casino bosses turn whatever genius I think I possess against me.
Someone told me that we Chinese will bet more than a trillion dollars on baccarat this year, somebody else said that that number was more like five trillion dollars. The game is so big that there is a hotel on the drawing board in Macau called Louis XIII that will have a gigantic diamond sparkling atop its front.
Anyway, thank goodness the day came when I luckily realized that I was addicted to the game. It was hard, to image myself an addict, a junkie, a loser. But thankfully there was a new app that I happened across and that helped me escape my addiction.
When I finally realized I was a far worse baccarat player than even the most superstitious gambler, I went right to the app stores in search of a mobile baccarat app to improve my play. I found a freemium app on Google Play called Zuan Xin Lucky Dragon Baccarat. With an intriguing name like that, and some very cool screenshots, this free install grabbed my attention and so I installed it post haste.
Right away, there is this disclaimer that makes it very clear that you are not supposed to turn on this app in the casino, and that really intrigued me in an odd sort of way. Might really be something there, I thought.
And what I found within were seven apps inside of the app, two practice apps, three different baccarat games, and two baccarat simulators, yes, Zuan Xin Lucky Dragon Baccarat was a veritable baccarat apps platform. When I read the “About App” section and then checked out the terse company website, I realized that I was holding in my right hand the known validated solution to the game that I loved.
After all of the countless hours that I had tried in vain to understand baccarat, the secrets of the game were now revealed, this was a sentient moment in my life. I played with all four of the free apps and bought the three premium apps inside for a couple dollars apiece. Game play was enjoyable and relaxing because the three baccarat games inside the app waited for me, the app let me think, insisted that I think.
The simulators within the app showed me over and over again at various rates of speed what the solution to baccarat looked like, Zuan Xin metaphorically calls it “the Four Vivid Ritual Bonfires”, and strangely, the more I watched these bonfires the more I wanted to watch them. And the ultra high speed simulator ran dozens of shoes of baccarat in a matter of minutes and logged them too, shoes that take roughly an hour to play in a real world casino.
It must have been after a few hours that something began to change in my brain, I still loved the game but I was becoming less fixated on it, kind of like how things go after you get to really know a person, the relationship is deeper and more complex but much more realistic. Zuan Xin Lucky Dragon Baccarat taught me why the game of baccarat is so difficult yet so compelling.
By the third day of my immersion, I came to really understand the solution to the game, and at that moment, my obsession just vanished. When I went to the casino the next afternoon, I played for a few hours and left the table quite satisfied, having won a modest amount in the baccarat room and treating myself afterwards to a nice dinner with my winnings.
I am no longer a baccarat addict and all of my friends are now onto this amazing app too. Zuan Xin Lucky Dragon Baccarat though just launched deserves honorable mention for the most significant mobile game app of 2013 because the enjoyment and tangible benefit it delivers to its users is as real as it gets.
Especially enjoyable were the two special baccarat games that I purchased inside, one based on eights and the other based on the famous Macau junkets that rake in millions of dollars a day in winnings for the casinos there. The junket game rewarded me with eight character shareable codes that I could text message to my friends so that they could unlock the three purchasable apps for free after installing the app onto their own Android smartphones. Having been set free from my obsession with the game, I was more than delighted to spread the good news. In the free baccarat game, when I successfully achieved a new level of honor I received more of these curious codes and I noticed that I would be deluged with hundreds of them if I could achieve the highest honor Baccarat Grand Master.
The many varied and interesting screens found throughout can be taken onto your smartphone for further study and for sharing with other baccarat players.
What is most important in my mind is that Zuan Xin Lucky Dragon Baccarat gives clear testimony to the unlimited potential of the mobile apps revolution and the constructive innovation that Google and Apple have brought to life to deliver this promise to the smartphones of every person everywhere.
As for me, I still enjoy a game of baccarat now and then, but I can finally play other casino games too including the most venerable Chinese game Pai Gow that we play with a special set of dominoes. And now I can actually enjoy choosing to go to a casino knowing that I will have much more fun with no worries about losing too much money that I cannot afford to lose.
Zuan Xin Lucky Dragon Baccarat according to the recent company news releases is also coming very soon to the iPhone and that is very good news for the millions of baccarat players in mainland China. The iPhone version may be somewhat different but the essential attributes of this honorable app should be there.
I cannot promise that every baccarat player will improve and every baccarat addict will be cured, but what is certain is that this app will irreversibly change for the better the relationship of every user with this undisputed queen of the casino gambling games. Yes, Zuan Xin Lucky Dragon Baccarat surely deserves honorable mention for most significant mobile game app of 2013.