I bet you read the title of this post and thought, “Well, duh…It’s like writing about Angry Birds, right? We’ve ALL played these games, what’s the point in wasting a blog post?” Well, why not? And why don’t we ask why this game has mass appeal?
I have now played Diner Dash on three systems. My first taste of this game was when I first got my third generation iPod Touch in 2010. I had been searching for something else to play on it that was easy and fun. Diner Dash was free, so I downloaded it from the Apple app store. Then, having an Android tablet, I always wonder how a game I’m used to playing on a tiny screen would translate to a tablet. Recently, I found Diner Dash: Sizzle and Serve for the Nintendo DS as I was also curious to see what the differences were.
The first time I played Diner Dash, a time management game, I instantly got sucked into restauranteuse / waitress Flo’s world; a young woman who was forced into the corporate office cubicle, and found her method of escape when a dilapidated restaurant came up for sale. The game sets you up with Flo in her little diner, waiting two sets of tables. She seats, takes the orders, and buses tables, all in quick succession, so that she will keep her customers happy, and will get paid a tip that goes into a jar used towards making improvements to her restaurant. With more money, and bigger customer base, she can renovate the restaurant, add more tables (and therefore accommodate more customers), and eventually get a coffee machine that she can use to appease cranky waiting customers. Eventually, she is able to open franchises and different types of restaurants.
The gameplay is easy enough, and consists of dragging and dropping customers to their tables, and tapping on screen to get Flo to move where she needs to go. Where the challenge comes in is how fast you can move Flo, as well as having the ability to keep her customers happy, efficiently. The customers vary and get more complex as you level up – babies, courting couples, tables of 6 or more…a harsh restaurant critic…they all present their own challenges for Flo, but if done right, you can help Flo achieve a lucrative business.
Having played the iOS, Android and Nintendo DS versions of Diner Dash, I can say there are subtle differences between each. To start, I was an expert at the iOS version and working with its tiny screen. So when I played the game on my Android tablet, I couldn’t believe how much easier I found the controls and that even though magnification isn’t completely necessary with this game, I found I enjoyed the lack of eye strain playing on my tablet. I think the worst experience of Diner Dash had to have been the Nintendo DS version (sorry, Nintendo…). In the iOS and Android versions, you can see the line-up of people ready to be seated to the left, and the dining room to the right. On the DS, we have to scroll left or right to see either the line-up of people or the dining room – you can’t see both at once. That extra scrolling may not be a big deal for some, but I found that lack of visualization made me forget those customers waiting for a table. As well, the extra clicking back and forth took my time away from serving customers within the game and therefore a potential loss of income in tips. I am not sure why Nintendo configured the game like that, but they could have handled that better.
So, why do people like Diner Dash? Well, it’s on Windows and Mac, PlayStation Portable, Xbox 360, Wii, PS3, as well as the other three I’ve played this game on, so it’s very accessible. It’s cheap, easy to play and definitely a time-waster. What could be better?
Publisher: Play First