The Incident: 8‑Bit Gaming Fun on a Vertical Scale

Most video games designed today are more about flash and pretty looks than they are about function. Sure, they can be fun to play, but when updates need to be installed every hour to fix issues and you can’t run it without a maxed-out Mac Pro, it becomes an exercise in futility.

Sometimes it’s best to harken back to the old days when games were fun and graphics weren’t particularly groundbreaking, but you could lose yourself for hours while sitting in front of a glowing screen.

The Incident is one of those games.Already a hit on the iOS platform, The Incident is now available on the Mac App Store, for just a few dollars. So is there a reason to play the game on the Mac over your iPhone or iPad? Hit the jump to find out.

The Premise

You’re an average guy, walking down the street, when all of a sudden something falls out of the sky. Why would that happen? Then another thing falls and another, until you realize that the only way to find out the source of this problem is to climb to the top of the pile and discover who is responsible for The Incident.

See what I did there?

Each level gets progressively more difficult, and taller to boot. The longer you play, the closer you get to discovering that true identity.

What Makes It Fun

Well first, there’s the graphics. This is 8-bit gaming all the way (although you could make the argument for 16-bit), and its reflected in not just the visuals, but the sounds as well. This game feels like it could’ve been built for the Super Nintendo, and there’s nothing wrong with that at all.

Piles of fun

Piles of fun

Alright, so there’s the nostalgia that you get while playing the game, but is there any more substance to it? Yes, as a matter of fact.

Just check out that screenshot above. See the Smart Car? The couch? The Mini Cooper? All sorts of seemingly random objects come pouring from the sky, including the legendary Herman Miller Aeron chair, and even a Mac Pro. It becomes fun to not only avoid the objects, but see what they are as well.

Collect Them All

The other goal of the game – as far as I can tell anyways, since there is no implicit set of directions – is to catch the balloons floating up from the ground. Each set of balloons carries something with them, whether it’s a coin to collect to gain extra lives, or a skull & crossbones to take a life away.

Catch balloons and other extras as you go

Catch balloons and other extras as you go

Another neat component of the game is the physics of it all. Not everything that comes down from the sky is the weight of a car. For example, a mattress dropping down has a bit of bounce to it, as does a pillow or a beach ball. It’s the little details like this that make the difference between a fun game and a killer one.

Change It Up

If the storyline isn’t your thing, there’s another option as well: Survival mode. For this, the goal is to hang on and keep moving up, trying to get as high as possible before you die.

Keep it going for more fun

Keep it going for more fun

In Survival mode, the odd objects seem to multiply. Now a rainbow is something to avoid, as is modern art or simple ice chest. I’m not sure how many different objects there are in the game, but it’s got to be a large number, which just makes the experience more enjoyable.

Choose your poison

Choose your poison


Mac gaming used to be an uphill battle, but it seems like today, there are hundreds of Mac games to choose from. At $2.99, it’s tough to say no to The Incident. Not only is it fun to play, but the difficulty level is just about right – not too hard, and not too easy that you can just breeze through the game. I’ve been playing it off and on for a few days now, and I’m only at Level 3. Not too bad, in my book.

If there’s anything negative about the game to say, it’s about the size. The game seems to be very similar in size to the iPhone version, and takes up just a small amount of real estate on the desktop. This can be seen as a positive or a negative, depending on your perspective.

On the plus, you don’t have to worry about switching resolutions for a full screen version, and it fits in the corner of the screen nicely for “multitasking.” On the minus, it seems like having it larger would make for more interesting gameplay, and maybe even make it look more 8-bit, just because of the exaggerated proportions.

If you’re a fan of retro games and you’ve got $3 laying around, go ahead and pick up The Incident for your Mac. Not only is it worth the entrance fee, it’s worth your time as well.


Dodge falling objects while simultaneously try climbing up to the top to save yourself.