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GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 48: The Future of Mobile Gaming

Tim Spaeth's picture

3DS! PSP! Smartphones! Which represents the true future of mobile gaming? Plus: Our most anticipated titles of 2011, and you'll struggle to hold back tears as Richard becomes a man. (NOTE: We recorded this episode before the big PSP2/NGP announcement—you'll marvel at the semi-accuracy of our predictions!) Featuring Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, Mike Bracken, Richard Naik, and Tim "The Timely Producer" Spaeth.

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Platform(s): 3DS   Android   Nintendo DS   PSP   iPhone   iPad  
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Top Mobile Games?

Is there some way we could get a list of the GC crew's top recommendations of iPhone/Android games?

The Android app market, at least, is a mess, and finding good games is rough. It'd be much appreciated if you guys could share maybe your top 5 or top 10 games for iPhone and/or Android. I'd love to do more gaming on my Droid.


I listened to your segment about iPhone/Cellphone gaming...and here's stuff I didn't hear (that are all dealbreakers):

Touch Screen Input: While certain games like Plants vs. Zombies may benefit from a touch screen input method, games like "NOVA" and basically any game that requires on-screen buttons are downright terrible to play. Try playing ANY of those games for any significant amount of time and tell me your experience would NOT have benefited A LOT with the addition of physical buttons.

You won't. And that's why the "best" iOS/Android/etc. games are those puzzle, "tap heavy" titles.

iTunes: I'm not a Mac fan...but even if I was, I think it's pretty ridiculous that you HAVE to use some "inbetween" software to manage your device, transfer games/files, etc. - Now you may say "iTunes isn't necessary" if you're on the go, but have fun updating your apps, restoring your apps after an OS upgrade, etc. -- because you CAN'T.

With the DS and PSP if you want to play a game, just pop in a new cartridge/UMD and memory card w/ your save and viola, you're good to go. There is NEVER a account-powered inbetween service keeping your content from the device.

Puzzle, trial and error and pattern games! There's more to gaming than these types of games. While they are okay once in a while I would blow my brains out if I had to constantly play this crap. But that's what the vast majority of iPod games are. PvZ? Trial and error. Angry Birds? Trial and error. Tap Tap Revenge? Pattern. Doodle Jump? Trial and error. etc.

Where's the Monster Hunter game? Where's the Peace Walker game? Where's the real Grand Theft Auto game (not Chinatown)? Where's the 3D platformer ala Mario 64? Where's the Civilization game (not a crappy spinoff)? The iOS device is just a bad platform for games outside of that niche, repetitive genre.

Apple must approve everything. In the podcast you mention "Crack Baby Nanny" or something like that. How do you like knowing that a 3rd party (Apple) basically dictates what games get to be on a device and can, at any time, pull it from the marketplace completely. With Nintendo and Sony, they may have some problems with the nature of games if they go beyond "M" rated or if they are coded in a way that they'd damage the systems...but they don't monitor actual game content like Apple does.

Games are constantly updated/fixed/changes: If you bought Super Mario Land when the orig. GameBoy came out you would find that the Super Mario Land cartridges released years later played exactly the same. With iOS/Android games, games and apps are in a constant state of "updating"...so if you want to play a game you bought a year ago and since then you've upgraded your OS or switched devices altogether, you may not be able to play it at all until you update it. And what happens if the game is no longer available through iTunes? *gulp*

Can't trade/sell games...ever: You talk about your relative/friend having Doodle Jump on his device...but you fail to mention a glaring problem in that scenario. Why couldn't he just take the game out for 5 minutes, hand it to you and let you play it on your device? Because you CAN'T. There's no way to transfer games at all. Once you buy it, it's yours forever. You might say "it's only a $1" but many of the more polished games are $5.99, $9.99 and some Square Enix games are $12.99 and above! And apps can go way above $25 if you get into apps for very technical purposes (like remote log-in, GPS, etc.).

Not all devices are created equally: You bring up earlier in the podcast about Nintendo's neverending "refinement" of its hardware. What you don't mention about iOS games is that what games you play is highly dependent on your hardware. Like for me, I have a 2nd Gen iPod Touch purchased in April 2010. I wanted to play "Infinity Blade" which is THE game everyone has been raving about due to its use of the Unreal Engine. Unfortunately, I cannot play that or even the "Citadel Demo" because appaently MY iPod Touch lacked special GPU hardware that was only found in the 32GB & 64GB versions and the iPhone 3rd Gen devices. So my 8GB iPod Touch which the "best version" (on paper) up until last Fall already is obsolete. I can play the crappier 2D games out there...but if I want to play the newer, fancier 3D games, I need to have the latest iPod Touch and eventually probably an iPhone also (iPod Touches are always lacking in hardware compared to the phone models). Gaming hardware shouldn't have to be updated annually just so you can play the latest games. That sees to much like PC gaming!

Meanwhile, a Nintendo DS from 2004 can play Nintendo DS games from 2011 NO PROBLEM.

TL;DR - Your argument FOR gaming on iDevices is a joke. I can respect that for specific types of games in certain situations (gaming when you literally have 5 minutes to play and just a phone nearby) it's not a bad solution. But to say iOS/Android games are even close to legit handheld systems is laughable.

And I'm sure you all are singing a different tune now that Sony's PSP2/NGP has been revealed. THAT is the future of portable gaming. That's a friggin' console system in your hands.

Walter Murch's argument

Walter Murch's argument against 3D:


Good podcast, Poor Richard... ;)

I think the discussion about the price point of the games is the kicker, although I think the 3DS is going to be marketed to the under 15 crowd, so it might not matter. Super Shoveltech, super shovelware. I think this will be a step backward for Nintendo and a chance for Sony to take the lead.

I particularly liked the gypsy swing intermission and of course the Tic Tac Dough theme! Tim Spaeth=Wink Martindale?


Meh-it's not a big deal.

Meh-it's not a big deal. Like I said I rarely do mobile gaming anyway.

I read Murch's letter and he's spot-on. When I'm looking at a 3-D image it just feels like I'm straining harder to keep up. I guess my eyes are just more sensitive to it than most.

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