Have we done this before? Regardless, let's do it again!
How do y'all currently feel about mobile(/tablet) gaming? Do you prefer playing games on a phone to playing on a dedicated handheld? Has the best of iOS impressed you more than the best of the 3DS/Vita/PSP? Is mobile really the place where the most interesting innovations in gaming are happening? Name names.
Bonus Question: Why is the gaming press collectively gaga over this stuff, when they never gave half a shit (collectively) about handhelds? Is pocket space really at such a premium?
I don't have any real experience with mobile gaming, as my $20 Virgin Mobile phone can't play anything besides really, really bad games. I have dicked around with a few games on a friend's phone... Angry Birds, um... some 2D RPGish game, some basic RTS game... nothing really grabbed me.
Anyway, I guess I just don't see that there are any killer aps out there that would make me feel like I need to get a better phone? Honestly it seems like the best stuff available is just ports of stuff made on dedicated gaming platforms (Phoenix Wright, Chrono Trigger, etc.) and well... I'd probably rather play most of that stuff with a digital pad anyway. And already have.
Dedicated handhelds all the way... if only for the buttons. Mobile games, at least a lot of the "popular" ones I see, always have ways to try and get players to spend more money. They're fun for short bursts but they're intended to be played forever if you want to unlock its content and since most won't play it that much, that's where the paid content comes in. I'm not joking when some games have you spending 90$+ on in-game currency packs. And the scary thing is that they must sell if several games do this. It's just terrible and unfun design.
This is why I prefer handhelds as the games are way more packed with content, offer pick up and play games and can also compete with console games if they want to. Not many mobile games can do this and remain fun. A few special exceptions on the iOS that I've played and enjoyed are Infinity Blade, Sword & Sworcery and Plants vs Zombies.
As for your bonus question... I wasn't aware the gaming press went gaga over this stuff all that much.
I hate dragging my finger across those screens. My fat digits get in the way of seeing stuff and simply don't have the precision that would benefit gaming on a tiny screen. Plus the whole skin-on-screen thing just feels so wrong. It ruins a lot of games that would otherwise be decent with stylus or buttons.
Still, I enjoyed Cut the Rope, Amazing Alex, and what little I played of Where's My Water. They're not up to the level of "real" games, but they're decent time wasters that are well worth a dollar. Otherwise most "gamey" apps just seem like randomized high score chases, which aren't my deal most of the time. I usually stick to crossword and slow puzzle type stuff.
I think that the gaming press is collectively gaga over phone crap because people can play on their phones, and then they aren't geeks like us. "Ugh, its not a Gameboy, its my iPhone 3G." That gaming stigma will probably never go away. I like (for you guys) that the 3DS is such a hit and Streetpasses and all of that stuff, but it will never be 100% embraced by the public. Cell phones, on the other hand, pretty much are. Even if you're reluctant to own one (like myself), you probably have one out of necessity. I don't have texting on my phone because I don't want to really use it, but I do have it so I don't tie up the work line, or in the event of an emergency driving home.
So yeah, "Stigma > Pocket Space." You can 'game' without being a 'gamer' and its 'fine.' Lame.
I've stopped even trying out iOS games, for most of the reasons that VofE mentioned. They are BUILT around making you spend money. A lot of them, such as Tiny Tower, don't even qualify as games as far as I'm concerned. They're skinner boxes with cute graphics, nothing more. They substitute gameplay with achievements and milestones. They substitute skill with upgrade purchases. Even if it's possible to advance in them without paying, I still don't want to have anything to do with them, because they still won't have gameplay. They'll just have grinding.
Not 100% of iOS games are like that, but the majority are. As for the more traditional, less loathsome games on there, they can be alright, but I haven't liked one enough to get over my distaste of obscuring the screen with my fingers.
iPhone games are fun when they're designed for the platform and they don't try to rip you off. Cut the Rope and Tiny Wings come to mind. I generally don't play too many of them though, since they're generally just time-wasters and I'd rather just play the ultimate time-wasting phone game: Twitter.
I think that the gaming press is collectively gaga over phone crap because people can play on their phones, and then they aren't geeks like us. "Ugh, its not a Gameboy, its my iPhone 3G."
I think you have something there. Or just stole it from back when I basically said the same thing on one of the podcasts. Handheld gaming was always kind of viewed as "teh kiddie" until Sony came along, and the press definitely backed Sony. For awhile. But PSP never really offered many compelling titles that didn't have better big brothers, and Vita is kind of dead in the water at the moment, so the gaming press abandoned that ship quickly. Where to turn to save handheld gaming from teh kiddies? Cell phones! Sure, it doesn't matter that 95% of what you find on cellphones is more teh kiddie than the type of stuff you find on Nintendo handhelds, because the phone itself is not teh kiddie, and that is what matters apparently. So phones became the new saviors of mature, adult handheld gaming somehow. You know, stuff like Angry Birds, Cut the Rope and Plants Vs. Zombies. Uber mature gaming.
I gotta admit I am one of them. I am gonna get hate for this, but, I haven't bought a 3DS yet mainly because I own an iPhone. To me (and I know I'm not alone on this) dedicated handheld gaming has become irrelevant. Much like the Sega Dreamcast in 2000 it has no place in the industry anymore. It has its fans, but it's not as profitable as it was and I'm sure that will only decline in the future. I wouldn't be surprised if after the 3DS/Vita era handheld systems stop existing period.
Of course stuff like Mario 3D Land is of much better quality than anything you find on your phone, and I very much enjoyed the times I got to play a 3DS but is it really worth it? If you want to buy that system for example, it's $200 to get the system + one game. On your phone the games are like 1 dollar. The phone itself is expensive, but you're gonna buy it anyway because well, it's a phone. It's also something that you take with you wherever you go without question. That combined with the fact that handhelds seem to want to become like consoles (the Vita especially) makes them irrelevant technology. Mario 3D Land is so good, it's not something you can fully appreciate in your doctor's waiting room, Angry Birds is. I was never a big handheld guy but now with all the cool smart phone stuff I'd rather just spend my gaming money on console stuff exclusively. At home I play my awesome top-tier HD games, and when I'm not home I play quick stuff like Angry Birds or Fruit Ninja. It's a perfect balance and I dont need anything else
I don't have a phone that can play games, but even if I did, I wouldn't buy any. I'm not into games to be time-wasters, which is the reason I never play browser games. And most of the mobile games I've seen/heard of seem like browser games.
I don't play any games on my phone and if I ever get a tablet, I doubt I'll play many games on it, especially since all the good ones seem to be iOS only and I'm not going to pay twice as much to get an iPad. My brother has an iPad that was given to him for work since he develops iOS apps and he let me try a couple games on it and I hate not having real sticks and buttons.
Much like the Sega Dreamcast in 2000 it has no place in the industry anymore. It has its fans, but it's not as profitable as it was and I'm sure that will only decline in the future. I wouldn't be surprised if after the 3DS/Vita era handheld systems stop existing period.
You have seen 3DS sales numbers, right? It's not only not dying, but it's actually pacing with the DS nowadays. It's not even remotely comparable to the Dreamcast. It's probably a more profitable venture than home consoles, at least for Nintendo and the few others who understand how to sell games on a handheld.
I should've worded that differently. I didn't mean the 3DS was on par with the Dreamcast failure-wise, I wasn't even talking about the 3DS particularly, I just think that as mobile gaming continues to grow traditional handhelds will decline. Maybe Nintendo will prevail, but the concept of having a portable gaming system is looking more and more futile (thus my comparison with the Dreamcast). Because devices that do other, more important things than play games have the capacity to run amazing games too, so what's the point?
You can say iOS games are crap all you want, and you might be right, but people buy them and I can understand why. Maybe owning a handheld system is no question to some hardcore gamers, but to someone like me, just barely being able to live on my own (or to someone who enjoys gaming, but doesn't feel like spending that much money on the hobby), what systems not to buy seems obvious.
Give me a dedicated portable game system any day of the week. Most mobile gaming is decent at best (though I really enjoyed Where's My Water), but they nickel and dime you to death. For example, Cut the Rope Experiments just added new challenges...if you pay for them. Like, $0.99 for 20 of them, and there are 150 levels.
I think the press is so gaga over it because of the media bias with anything Apple. Seriously. "Pull down notifications! iMessenger! Pinch to zoom!" All stuff that other OSes or phones had done before the iPhone did it, but...all of a sudden, it's the best thing ever! Kind of like how the gaming media has a slanted bias against Nintendo, the tech world has one for Apple.