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OLDTV review - Fun game or psych test?


For: iPhone   Also on: iPad
Summary Review Screens Videos Articles Tips  

Messing with your mind

Product: OLDTV | Format: iPhone | Genre: Casual | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
 
OLDTV is a game that makes you doubt the very nature of the response you're having to it.

Is it actually fun, or are you simply being compelled to interact with it by some deep seated psychological factor?

In other words, are you playing OLDTV, or is it playing you?

Stroop waffle

I realise I might have given you the impression that OLDTV is rather clever or high-minded. It's really not. But it is quite effective at what it does.

Despite its clever presentation (more on which later), this a very simple and familiar game indeed. Essentially, OLDTV is a Stroop test - that well-established psychological exercise whereby a colour is written out phonetically while the colour of that lettering varies.

The idea is to identify the actual colour rather than the spelled out colour, but the dissonance between the two can be surprisingly challenging for our puny monkey brains.



Do not adjust your television set

OLDTV makes the Stroop process easy to execute - in theory at least. The colour-words pop up, and you tap the right side of the screen if the colour matches the word, and the left side of the screen if it doesn't.

Where it diverges is in the way it mixes things up. After a while, OLDTV will invert your controls, change the colour of the background, or reverse the text itself.

Given the fact that you're playing against a timer, the combined stress of the situation can lead to prolonged brain-freezes and inadvertent button presses. As a result, playing OLDTV can make you feel rather like the subject of an experiment.

It's an effect that's smartly enhanced by the game's presentation, which gives the screen the look of an old CRT monitor. Add in the sound of an old modem when you link up to a new set of levels, and there's a certain sense that you're part of some spooky soviet thought experiment.



Fitting the profile

There's some loose premise about a genius child switching through the world's TV channels that didn't really make a lot of sense to me, but it doesn't really matter.

At heart, it's another brutally punishing, against-the-clock high score chaser with simple tappy controls.

What I still haven't managed to conclude, despite numerous runs and a fair amount of admiration for the game's presentation, is whether OLDTV is any fun or not.

Perhaps you'll need to test it out for yourself. Or rather, perhaps you should have it test you out.
 
OLDTV review - Fun game or psych test?
Reviewer photo
Jon Mundy | 10 August 2018
Part Stroop test, part high-score chaser, OLDTV is certainly a brain tickler with a striking aesthetic. Whether it's any fun or not is a trickier question to answer
 
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