|Developer||Godville Games Ltd.|
|Publisher||Godville Games Ltd.|
|Programmers||Mikhail Platov |
|Platforms||iOS, Android, Windows, Web|
|Release Date||May 10, 2010|
|Address||Unit 702, 7/F |
Bangkok Bank Building
No. 18 Bonham Strand West
Godville is a zero-player game created in 2010 by Godville Games Limited. Unless otherwise specified, this article applies to English-Language Godville.
The distinguishing aspect of Godville is the unique form of gameplay where the player does not have direct control of the character, known as a hero. Instead, the player can only influence the hero to do certain things. The benefit of this is that the hero is semi-autonomous, meaning the hero will quest and grow without influence of the player; the player does not need to actually play the game to advance.
The general concept of Godville is that a hero exists in an unspecified medieval time period. The hero conducts quests, fights monsters, gains gold coins, and uses those coins to buy equipment and other things, such as beer. The player is a God or goddess to which the hero is a religious follower. The hero sees various supernatural events caused by the player and those shape the spirituality of the hero. The hero then logs the perceived events and through that, the player sees the hero's activity.
At the start of playing, a god can influence a hero in one of three ways: encourage which can heal the hero, punish which can help the hero fight, and voice command which the hero may or may not follow. Influences have a varying degree of success which include the hero doing exactly what the god influences, the hero completely ignoring the influence, the hero reacting in a way the god did not intend, or nothing at all. For example, if a god encourages a hero, it can heal the hero, it can heal the monster the hero is fighting, or it can form a rainbow in a nearby field (aka nothing happening).
As a hero progresses, additional activities are opened up including fighting in the arena, gaining a pet, submitting new ideas for the game, fighting boss-monsters, constructing a temple, visiting dungeons, constructing an ark, and retirement.
Godville was created by Dmitry Kosinov and Mikhail Platov. Their goal was to create a video game that did not involve actual gameplay. They called this a zero-player game. The inspiration for Godville came from a game the two discovered in 2003 named Progress Quest. Progress Quest is a parody of EverQuest and other massively multiplayer online role-playing games.
After "slowly nurturing various ideas," said Kosinov, the pair began development of the game. They also took inspiration from the Terry Pratchett book Small Gods, which is a satirical look at religious institutions. In Small Gods, the power of a deity is defined by the number of people who actually believe in them. One of the Disc World's main deities experiences an unpleasant surprise when he realizes his herd now counts a single faithful monk. The last believer embarks upon an adventure to reform the church and save his god from becoming nothing more but a voice in the desert. The central theme of this philosophic fantasy-parody is "what happens when belief in God is replaced by mere religious ritual?". Godville also draws inspiration from Pratchett's books for content - for example the multi-legged luggage appears in many of the stories as the company of a talentless wizard. If you like Godville's humor there's a good chance you'll enjoy the works of the late author.
The first version of Godville began gameplay on November 21, 2007 and was entirely in Russian. That version is now referred to as Russian Godville or OriGV (ORIginal GodVille). It was only playable on a web browser at www.godville.net. A few months later, the pair was approached to create an English-language version and, with the help of volunteer translators, www.godvillegame.com came online on May 10, 2010.
The name Godville was chosen for two reasons: because it explains the idea of the game and it sounds good in both English and Russian. While the -ville may appear to be inspired from Zynga's Farmville, Cityville, and a host of other similarly named games, it is not. In fact, the first version of Godville, in 2007, predates the release of Farmville which was released in 2009.
By July 2010, after three years of release, an iOS version was being finalized for launch. Up to this point, the game had been free to play and without advertising. In other words, there was no profit model. "Godville has never been ad-supported and we hope it will never be" said Platov in 2010 to GamePro.com.
However, increasing popularity of the game and related increasing server demands necessitated some form of income. The game added a donations button, and while that did offset some operational costs, it was not enough. Eventually, god power charges were offered, which to this day, account for the vast majority of income to the game.
With the income from charges, the development team hired an extra person to handle the android app which went live on March 17, 2011.
It is believed that Kosinov, Platov, and the unknown android app employee all have full time jobs apart from Godville. "And as for balancing work and life, our formula is very simple: all time left after work and family goes to Godville." said Platov in 2010.
|1UpNerd||81 out of 100|
|App Crawlr||88 out of 100|
|Best Apps Market||8 out of 10|
Godville has received generally positive reviews. It has received praise for its humor and the longevity at which people play the game. Unlike most game apps that people play for a few weeks, reports of people playing Godville for years is not uncommon.
As of November 24, 2014, Godville averaged 4 stars on the iTunes store with 5678 ratings, about 4.25 stars on the Google Play Store with 15,070 reviews, and about 4.5 stars on the Windows Phone site with 146 reviews.
Reviewers have described it as:
- "Not playing videogames has never been this much fun” - Jim Sterling, GamesRadar (iPhone Game of the Day)
- "This game has made me laugh more than any other I've played in recent memory" - GamePro (App Store Games of the Week)
- "Ultimately, GodVille is a fun, funny, incredibly clever little game" - Destructoid
- "'Godville' is the Only iOS Game I've Played for Nearly Four Years Straight" --Eli Hodapp, toucharcade.com
- Godville – Indie app of the day, Joe Hindy, Android Authority, November 7, 2014.
- If You Don’t Have Time To Play iOS Games, Play Godville, The Appening, July 4, 2014.
- Godville: Z(ero) P(layer) G(ame) mastery!, Tipa, West Karana, June 21, 2014.
- ‘Godville’ is the Only iOS Game I’ve Played For Nearly Four Years Straight, Eli Hodapp, Touch Arcade, April 8, 2014.
- Godville, Lucy Jovowitch, Game Axes, March 28, 2014.
- Godville, a hassle free RPG game for Windows Phone 8, George Ponder, Windows Central, August 8, 2013.
- Review: Godville Game App, Denzel, Fresh-Thoughts, March 14, 2013.
- Playing Godville, Jen Kirchner, September 21, 2011,
- Godville: Zero Players and Millions of Laughs, plannedbanter, Planned Banter, September 6, 2011,
- Godville: A Game That Involves Literally No Effort At All, Jennifer Allen, 148 Apps, July 11, 2011.
- Hidden Pearls: GodVille – Massively-multiplayer Zero-player Game (Doubt It You Even Knew This Concept Could Exist at all!), Chick Geek Games, May 7, 2011,
- Interview with the developers of Godville for Android, the game that basically plays itself., AndrewH, Droid Gamers, April 7, 2011.
- Godville handing out blessings on Android, Will Wilson, Pocket Gamer, March 21, 2011.
- Buttonless Incredible iPhone and iPad Games and the Stories Behind Them, Ryan Rigney, pages 103-105, 2011.
- Godville A Zero-Player Game, Ian Bogost, Bogost.com, December 2, 2010.
- The Friday Game: EpicWin And Godville, Chris Donlan, Edge Online, August 27, 2010.
- Masters of the playerless MMO, Ryan Rigney (GamePro), PC World, August 24, 2010.
- iPhone game of the day: Godville, Jim_Sterling, Games Radar, August 21, 2010.
- Godville review, Tracy Yonemoto, App Safari, August 9, 2010.
- Godville: The best game you don’t have to play, RupertG, Dice of Doom, July 31, 2010.
- Free App of the Day: Godville, Destructoid, July 22, 2010.