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How to master a ‘Satisfying’ game in Hyper-Casual

Satisfying videos are a fantastic way to kickstart your ideation process. However, it is incredibly difficult to articulate, let alone pinpoint, what exactly makes them so satisfying.

One can easily spend hours on end infinitely browsing through satisfying videos on YouTube, Instagram, and Tik Tok. Youtube channels like ‘Oddlysatisfying’ boast 1.9 million subscribers. ‘Ifyouhigh’s Instagram account has a mouth watering 5.7 million followers which includes such luminaries as Rihanna, Drake, and Dua Lipa. Videos under the #satisfying hashtag on Tik Tok have been viewed 105 billion times. Yes, you read that right, billion! The trend has become a massive phenomenon which is hard to explain. One thing is for sure though, it’s not going anywhere.

The trend has been adapted into the Hyper-Casual space with incredible results. One only needs to look at the successes of Tie Dye, Soap Cutting, and Coda’s very own Pot Master. This article will provide you with a guide on where to find them, what to look out for, and how they can be adapted into gameplay.

Where to find satisfying videos

Out of the three platforms, I would recommend concentrating on Instagram and Tik Tok. This is because YouTube videos are much longer than its respective counterparts. Often in the form of compilations, they can last up to an hour and the process of sifting through huge amounts of content all at once can leave one faced with the paradox of choice. Combining so many different pieces of satisfying footage also has the effect of cannibalizing each other. Moreover, their satisfying effect will start to dwindle as the compilation progresses.

Whilst searching on YouTube, one also has to be careful of simply judging by views and likes. It is not apparent what exactly was liked within a compilation and different videos can be found in multiple compilations. This data can often skew perceptions as is not a reliable source to go by. Furthermore, it is much harder to identify and then save the specific piece of footage you are after on YouTube. The way Instagram and Tik Tok presents each video as a post, is far more digestible and easier to organise into a library. 

The #oddlysatisfying hashtag on Tik Tok would be my go-to place for actively searching for satisfying videos. Following specific hashtags and accounts passively on Instagram represents the most time-efficient way to search for satisfying footage. I would recommend merging this strategy with your personal Instagram account to avoid missing out on hidden gems, thereby embedding the process into your day to day scrolling. Thus, not ever having to think about the search process again. You never know when that Eureka! moment will come. 

Instagram and Tik Tok's best accounts and hashtags to follow for finding satisfying videos:

How to identify a ‘satisfying’ video

So what makes satisfying videos so damn, oddly satisfying? The answer escapes most people, however, they have a distinct pattern and a set of recurring themes. 

Satisfying videos can be set anywhere. They are often snippets of the mundane, day to day practices in people’s home or work that often go unnoticed or one would never be able to witness. Chopping food, house decorating, and factory machines at work are just some of the many scenarios. These are all relatable practices but it is rare that one is exposed, let alone presented to them, in such a digestible and perfectly choreographed formula. It is within this context that this list below represents a key set of themes, anyone of which can make for a satisfying video:

  • Slicing 
  • Cumulating 
  • Soothing
  • Perfection
  • Mesmerising 
  • Repetition
  • Sound
  • Squishy 
  • Friction
  • Pace

How to adapt satisfying videos into gameplay

By using this list of themes as a reference as to what makes for a satisfying video, I would then recommend grading the perceived satisfaction level of the theme from 1 to 5. This way, one can clearly identify what it is about the video that has allowed it to amass its huge number of views and likes. Being able to justify ‘the why’ may save one countless days’ worth of prototyping. Once having done that, a clear pattern will emerge that will gradually explain the phenomena. 

Now for the hard part: understanding why a video is satisfying is one thing, pairing a satisfying video with an appropriate game mechanic and objective, is a whole other story. It may take a few iterations but it can be done. Take Coda’s very own Brick Builder for example:

Gameplay footage from level two on Brick Builder - a Coda Platform game

From watching the gameplay video from level two, one can attribute the success of the game to some of the key themes I mentioned earlier in the list. Those being: 

  • Cumulating - the growing size of the toilet paper.
  • Pace - the changing nature of the roll as it increases in size.
  • Soothing - the seamless and smooth nature of the toilet roll ending at the finish line.

Now take at some of these videos by 3D artists Arben Vllasaliu and Linus Dahlgren, who go under the handles ‘arbenl1berateme’ and ‘linus_dahlgren_’ respectively on social media:

By watching these clips, one can see the overlapping themes mentioned previously and just some of the areas where inspiration for a hit game can be found. More specifically, check out ‘Perfect Time!’ - currently ranked in the top 10 on the iOS App Store. ‘Perfect Time!’ has managed to translate the soothing, mesmerising, and repetitive elements which make arbenl1berateme’s videos so successful into a game. The similarities are uncanny:

Can you tell the difference? 🙂

Ideation is not an exact science and remember, inspiration is all around you. Don’t constrain yourself to these best practices - but they might just be the best place to start. In fact, you might be in for a chance to win up to $10,000 and a publishing contract with Coda. All you have to do is spot a trending satisfying video and if you have a game idea to accompany it, head over to Coda’s Viral Concept Challenge to submit your game brief. Best of luck!