I first heard of it earlier this week when Mark Zuckerberg posted on Facebook that it “is one of the most fun and addictive Facebook games I’ve played in a while.” I clicked on it and spent the next two hours trying to pick songs faster than my friends.
At a simple level Song Pop is clearly the result of these guys looking at Draw Something and swapping drawing with picking songs. Much of the user interface is very similar.
But it’s actually a much better implementation of simulated synchronous gameplay than I’ve seen yet in a launched game.
That’s the magic, that’s why Song Pop is growing so fast.
When you play Song Pop, you start hearing a clip of a song. You select the song name or artist as quickly as you can from four choices (my fastest has been 1.1 seconds). You get points for choosing correctly, choosing quickly, and for getting a bunch in a row correct.
You win if you get more points than the person you’re playing against. They’ve played against the same song clips either before or after you.
But that isn’t what’s great about it. The reason why I’ve kept playing this game for hours is that it the app feels like you’re playing against the person in real time. It increases anxiety to choose quickly because you see their choices happen in real time (to you).
Song Pop records the other person’s game and then plays it back against you as you play. So you see when and what they’ve chosen as you’re hurrying to make your own choice.
It’s so realistic that the first few games I played I thought I was actually playing the person in real time.
This is also what Draw Something Does, but Song Pop does it much better. Or perhaps it’s just a better use case to show off simulated synchronous gameplay.
Clearly people enjoy playing games against other people instead of just interacting with software. But that usually means asynchronous play where you do something and then later someone else does something. The various scrabble games are good examples of these.
But it’s so much more exciting to be trying to rush to be faster than your friend in what appears to be a real time game.
And what makes Song Pop so great is that even once you understand that it’s simulated, it’s still great fun.