iGame, therefore iAm

iPhone Gaming

The iPhone, as a games console, often gets ignored or dismissed. It’s a little sad to see some gaming pundits so closed minded about such an exciting platform, but as an Editor at Pocket Gamer, it’s just quite frustrating to have the device that pays your bills be described as “not a real gaming platform” by some feckless nerd in a ‘Don’t make me go Zelda on you’ t-shirt.

The smart phone might not actually have the physical attributes you might associate with a gaming device, and the battery life leaves a little something to be desired (about five hours, to be precise), but its the portability and always-in-your-pocket nature that it makes it such a compelling platform.

Have you ever tried to fit a DS in your pocket? It’s about as comfortable and unobtrusive as moving a wardrobe on the London Underground. In fact, since getting my iPod Touch late last year, I think I’ve picked up my DS about three times and once was as an impromptu torch when I dropped a chocolate button under my sofa.

There is, and I can’t stress this enough, a truck load of utter horse-doodie on the App Store. Last month, Steve Jobs paraded onto the stage in Cupertino and presented a slide that showed the iPhone’s gaming library as cresting above the 50,000 mark, as if quantity suddenly murdered quality and took its place.

But hey, even if 45,000 of those games are utter crap, I mean absolutely retched and insidiously awful affronts to the very gaming culture we hold dear, that leaves a good five grand that are worth checking out.

Ozone is a jaw droppingly beautiful maze game where you play as a bubble, Sword & Poker is an RPG where you deck fantasy beasties with straights and flushes, Angry Birds has you flinging feathered friends at green pigs, and Space Miner is a mix of Asteroids and Diablo-esque loot whoring. I bet you didn’t even know you wanted that genre mash-up until you just read it.

And there’s Words with Friends, a casual scrabble by email platform in which I have so many games concurrently running that administrating triple letter score words has become a second occupation. There’s NOVA, a first person shooter that takes so many cues from Halo that you’d swear its a scathingly smart parody, instead of an embarrassing ripoff.

Plants vs Zombies and Broken Sword, two PC ports that made the portable transition in absolute style
Plants vs Zombies and Broken Sword, two PC ports that made the portable transition in absolute style

It’s not about the size of the games, the tiny download sizes and bottom-scraping prices have taken care of that, nor the complexity, an absolute lack of buttons or controllers will certainly hamper your creative genes; it’s about the way you play them.

The DS and PSP, with their sprawling RPGs and engrossing adventures, might be perfect for lengthy commutes and giant trips, but iPhone rules the roost in five, ten minute bursts. Its timewasting games will have you craving for the next advert break, gruelling tube journey or any free moment you can spare.







2 responses to “iGame, therefore iAm”

  1. The Rook avatar
    The Rook

    I have yet to play anything on any of the iPod series, although having the iPhone would make more sense for always having it with you. It would certainly make bus journeys more enjoyable.

    Liked the title of this blog.

  2. Danny avatar

    I find myself playing ports of games from other consoles most on my iPhone.

    It’s a little sad, really. While I love playing Final Fantasy, Peggle and Monkey Island on the go, big games developers should pay more attention to the iPod/Pad/Phone. I think Square-Enix have set the bar with Chaos Rings. Let’s hope Sega and Capcom follow suit and focus on original content rather than ports that don’t suit the system (Sonic) and using franchise names to sell dumbed-down games (Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Metal Gear).

    Whilst I really think it’s wonderful that the system has led to a new generation of bedroom-coders raking in small fortunes, many touchscreen gimmicks start to wear thin with so many clones of games flooding the market.

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