Unapologetically in love with iOS games

I love iOS games. Maybe more than I thought was humanly possible, but I bloody adore the little blighters. I’ve gone as far as to alphabetise the library so they have their own dedicated area to live. Look…

Above: Look carefully and you'll see the alphabetised, near OCD, organisation

Places I play iOS games: on the bus, traveling somewhere on a train, drunk in the back of a cab home so as to take my mind off the imminent explosion of vomit, in bed, on the toilet, on the sofa in between loading screens in console games, standing in queues and sat at my desk while writing this garbled intro paragraph. Basically, if I’m not sleeping there’s a good chance I’m playing games on my iPhone/iPad.

Going from not playing a game to absolutely playing one of about 50 I have on my device can be done in a shorter time than it took to read this sentence. And this is why I’ll always plump for iOS gaming ahead of the now cumbersome method of placing a cartridge into my 3DS – the games are there already, I just need to jab a grubby digit on the one I want. Lovely stuff.

But while I can understand that this way of gaming isn’t everyone’s cup of <insert hot beverage of your choice here> I simply can’t get enough.

I’ve thought long and hard about what it is that’s so appealing about iOS gaming for the past three minutes, and decided it’s far more than simply speed of access that keeps me hooked – the whole experience makes me whimsical for the Good Old Days™. Let me explain…

If your only knowledge of iOS gaming starts and finishes at Angry Birds, then you’re missing out. Sure, the avian flinging is a phenomenon that has become synonymous with iPhones, but dig into the App Store and you’ll unearth countless gems. 

Above: Chair's Infinity Blade is as triple A as iOS games get and it really is excellent

It reminds me of my Spectrum days as young boy. A time of innocence – when all games had an equal chance and bed wetting was the norm and not just cause for making an immediate doctor’s appointment. I digress. My uncle used to take me to computer, and sometimes charity shops, to look for games.

I’d spend ages flicking through the boxes of cassettes for nothing in particular, but would always come across something of interest. For example, one day I found bomb-raiding classic, Harrier Attack for 80p and spent hours playing it. I also spent £1 on the awful Yogi Bear, so my success rate was a bit of a mixed bag.

But it was listlessly combing shops for anything that would run on my Spectrum that added to the overall experience of gaming and that ultimately got me hooked.

Fast forward to the Sega Megadrive (I promise, there is a point to all this) and even though I’m reading games magazines my next purchases are based on word of mouth from my school chums rather than relying on the incessant in-your-face, LOOK AT ME, advertising of today’s big hitters. 

Above: Forgot to say I can also play while riding a bike

Besides the App Store’s Game of the Week recommendations I still use the tried and tested methods of old – flicking through the game section until something tickles my fancy or listening to my co-workers/random folk on Twitter for advice.

The genuine thrill of finding something new to pour countless hours into has deserted me in recent years. Now we’re told what we’re supposed to like before we’ve even had a chance to play it for ourselves. There’s no doubting we’re in a purple patch of great games, but there are very few surprises these days.

Sure, we still get hidden classics sent in for preview/review but the iOS platform recaptures a time when I don’t fully know what I’m getting until I’ve paid the paltry fee and played it first hand. If it’s a load of old tripe <cough> Unpleasant Horse <cough> then it’s gone, deleted, whacked and I move onto the next. It’s a little bit like a tapas menu of various flavours.

Essentially, this is a love letter to iOS games. I unashamedly adore them to bits. OK, so maybe I don’t like the crap ones as much, but the whole experience of stumbling across something truly brilliant is worth the occasional rubbish one. I’ve even been playing Grand Prix Story while I’ve typed this out. You need never have spare time in your life with the numerous wonders that await.    




  • rxb - November 11, 2011 12:03 p.m.

    Finally the real reason we have not had a podcast for ages.....
  • 510BrotherPanda - November 11, 2011 9:53 a.m.

    FOR SHAME, NATHAN. That bicycle helmet is not properly fastened. put that much faith in your afro to save you from a crash... Also, [insert obligatory Matt Cundy "girls' games" quip]
  • Shinn - November 11, 2011 6:39 a.m.

    I read somewhere that scribblenauts is on ios now too, so that's a huge bonus.
  • cj12297 - November 15, 2011 5:30 a.m.

    It is. And it's awesome.
  • THEBIGJ3 - November 11, 2011 6 a.m.

    In my mind one of the greatest games EVER released for iPhone (or ever, on anything, to be honest) is Secret Of Mana. Plays fantastically on iPhone (I have 3GS) and even has added extra tweeks such as 4 'shortcut-key' type buttons on the interface. Everything else is perfectly true to the original. I remember having SUCH a hard time trying to track a copy of this down a few years ago. Makes me very happy to know there is now a copy in my pocket, at all times!
  • ultimatepunchrod - November 11, 2011 5:24 a.m.

    I respect what you're saying here, but I disagree. I think iOS (effing lower case BS) games are not really worth the time they take to install and I've played some of the big ones. A lot of stuff by Gameloft (you know, rip offs of everything you really want to play) is pretty decent, but there's absolutely no depth to them at all. Before anyone says they don't want depth in a portable game they should look at how much they love Pokemon. Regardless of how you feel about those games, they are still extremely deep and fun. To be fair, I haven't played Infinity Blade, and I hear it's good, but usually games that actually cost money on smart phones are not worth even the $5 price of admission. That's why I don't want dedicated gaming handhelds to go away. Oh well, no one will read this whole thing.
  • Nathan_Irvine - November 11, 2011 8:16 a.m.

    I read the whole thing! My love comes from the entire experience of iOS games. I know it's not for everyone's tastes but I love finding games and trying them for myself. As for the depth, it's never really about that for me although I've spent an ungodly amount of hours on Grand Prix Story, Jetpack Joyride and Plants vs. Zombies. Get the right puzzle game, like Drop7, Bejeweled 2 or Zookeeper DX, and you've got entertainment for days. Still, it's each to their own.
  • MidianGTX - November 11, 2011 5:08 a.m.

    M to P? You don't love 'em enough bro! I'm expecting something a little more like this: On the whole though, I agree. If you can see past the incredibly few games that manage to creep into the media limelight (Angry Birds), there are a ton more fantastic titles worth owning. If however you're a Call of Duty fan and only buy what television tells you (did I just say that?), you might come to the wrong conclusion that iOS is lacking in quality.
  • chrisbarker1980 - November 11, 2011 4:36 a.m.

    This all very well and good Mr Irvine, but where oh where is the podcast? If someone brought out a podcast iOS game would that help? Now get on ya bike and get recording!
  • KidKatana - November 11, 2011 5:02 a.m.

    Amen to that. Get on the case, or prepare for an onslaught of disgruntled commentors assailing your offices and dragging you all the the recording studio.

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