Play this game about your old games to find new games.
There’s an old saying: “You never truly know someone until you dangle their video games over a raging fire.” Well, something like that, anyway; that’s the version that a small team from Norman, Oklahoma must have had in mind when they created Crunch Magic. Waylon Flinn, founder of the website, describes it as “Pandora for games,” though I don’t remember Pandora ever threatening to destroy my favorite songs as a test of my devotion.
Here’s how it works: visitors to the site log in with their Steam accounts, allowing Crunch Magic to peek at their game library. Users earn Zelda-style hearts for answering a handful of basic questions about their personality. Then, with an ominous warning of “This is going to hurt!” the site pulls a few games from your personal Steam library and slowly lowers them into an inferno – unless you save them by sacrificing your newly earned hearts. It’s a simple system, but it can create some gut-wrenching choices. At one point, I died (yes, you can die in this personality quiz) because I couldn’t stand to see Deus Ex go up in flames.
Completing each of the meta-game’s three levels earns you a larger heart meter and a handful of recommended games (with links to their page on the Steam store, if you want to investigate further). The first two batches of games represent the most popular games from all users, while the final payoff is a set of games chosen specifically to fit your personality. For those curious, this list is compiled by using established psychology practices to find games that were saved by other players with similar personality profiles to your own.
The site was created on the principle that great games are great because they resonate with us on a personal level. “Most games are made to appeal to everyone,” says the site description. “Because of that they feel like they were made for no one in particular. We’re tired of the same old trash. We want to find games made just for us.”
If you feel like putting your taste in games to a trial by fire, you can head over to the beta version of the site to give it a go. Just remember to use those hearts sparingly – you’ll need them.