Saturday, March 9, 2013

Mobile Gaming

In the year 2000 I had just graduated high school and was just entering the big world of post secondary employment. On my off hours I do spent countless hours on my computer playing games. In fact, until 2007 or so I played mostly computer games and just the occasional PS3 title. What can I say, I was addicted to Quakeworld and World of Warcraft. I've never been a big mobile gamer, except maybe the Sega Game Gear way back when. Until recently I figured that mobile gaming has been a dieing industry.

Now don't get me wrong I realize that mindless games like Angry Birds, Cut the Rope, Where's My Water, Canabalt, Contre Jour and Temple Run have revolutionized mobile gaming. I agree that those, and many other games are great for wasting time, and even better at draining your phones battery, but to me, they are missing elements of what made gaming on the computer and consoles so emersive. I can definitely be entertained by typical phone games, sometimes I even feel a certain amount of satisfaction when I beat a level or get a high score. Do these games emerse me in a place where I forget the troubles of the outside world, making me want to play non stop? No, they don't as I can put the game down and probably not care about picking it up again until the next time I have nothing better to do. So I guess the big question is, can mobile games be better than this?

They can and are, if you know what to look for. Finding decent mobile games isn't as simple as looking at the highest rated games in the online store. Most of the really good games are featured and reviewed on separate sites, and aren't developed by the more popular mobile games authors. I think some of the best mobile games, are ones that were originally designed to be computer games, but have since been updated and ported to us for use on touch screen devices. Nostalgic games like Another World, Prince of Persia and Broken Sword: Secret of the Templars are perfect examples of immersive, story driven strategy games, that were designed for adults that wanted to sit and enjoy a game for several hours at a time.

My point in all this jabber is to make it clear that mobile gaming has become a time waster, when it should have a similar experience to a PC or console. The developers need to play to the devices strong features and make games with simple controls, good stories, strategy, and quality sound. I don't think people typically expect mobile game graphics to be amazing, and they shouldn't as graphics mean nothing when a game is well developed. I look forward to more old school game ports and developers willing to take a chance with creative, immersive game experiences that don't involve repetitive, short levels with no story.

Ian

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