This afternoon Dare Obasanjo tweeted a link with a comment that caught my eye, "The rise of software as entertainment instead of productivity - http://kickingbear.com/blog/archives/67". A quick warning before you follow that link: there are plenty of words in there NSFW. Expletives aside it triggered an interesting thought.
Guy English is the author of above linked blog entry and a developer for Tapulous, makers of the iPhone hit game Tap Tap Revenge. As Dare’s tweet suggests Guy’s post is about entertainment software. Guy calls it “Pop Software”.
Interestingly, Guy immediately belittles the terms “Software” and “Applications” suggesting that entertainment is found in “Apps”:
"Apps" is fun. It's fun to say, it sounds unthreatening, it's a word sufficiently abbreviated that it takes on a life of its own without dragging to the forefront of peoples minds the more sterile and technical sounding "application". Apps are not Applications – they are their own things. They are smaller. They are more fun. Apps are treats atop your technological sundae. They are not potential time sinks. They are neither burden nor investment. They each represent a nugget of fun, of fleeting amusement. Apps are gobbled up in the millions by people who would never rush so willy nilly to buy desktop software. Apps are Pop Software writ large in blinking neon lights.
All of this reminded me of “Snack Apps”. I think I first heard the term used by Peter Marcu. Snack Apps are small apps that do one thing or don’t really do anything… but entertain. As a software engineer (with all the importance that title implies) it is easy to dismiss Snack Apps.
But would happen if one was take Snack Apps seriously? That’s what Dare and Guy got me thinking about.