Saturday, August 29, 2015

Mobile Gaming (or A Vast Portrait of Desolation)

When the Nintendo Entertainment System was first released it set in motion a chain of events that has changed the world in ways people probably never thought possible when they were jumping that little plumber around a magical world filled with walking mushrooms and turtles for some reason. Since then, video game history has been a long and winding road that has climbed ever upward with dozens of side roads that led to horribly disappointing dead ends (i.e. Virtual Boy or Sega Dreamcast). Now the video game industry has gone from kind of a neat thing into a billions of dollars a year industry that is home to state-of-the-art technology.

Now that there's a smartphone in virtually every pocket, it only makes sense that gaming shifts from strictly console or PC gaming to mobile games. Years ago, when smart phone gaming was pretty new and the apps being released were fairly original and ground breaking for what they were, things were good. But fast forward to now, and while many think that mobile gaming is the future of the industry, all it realy is a vast, desolate landscape of unoriginal crap that parades itself as free but will really end up charging you far more than any console game ever could. 

So let's get down to brass tacks and talk about why mobile gaming should rot in hell:

Free vs. Paid Apps: This is the bigges issue for me with mobile gaming. There are very, very few truly free games that are out there. There are some great games out there for free, but when you actually get into them you realize you can only fully enjoy these games if you shell out money for in-app purchases. The farther you get into the game, the more money you could end up spending. In the end, you could end up paying double or triple what it would cost to just go to the store and buy a console game. 

Then there's the paid apps. On principle, I won't pay for a game on my phone because it's on my phone and can realy only be so good. The few that I have broken down and purchased were certainly not worth even the few bucks I spent. Game duration takes a major hit with mobile gaming because of the limitations of the device. So you end up paying $5 for a game and beat it in a few hours.

Lack of Originality: Like I said before, when mobile gaming first really got started, games were fun, simple, and entertaining enough to while away the hours. Games like Angry Birds became a template for a never-ending barrage of basically the exact same game with a different theme. Any game that comes out now that gets a lot of buzz spawns thousands of apps that are essentially the same. While, really, this is true for console or PC gaming as well, mobile gaming is far worse because these games are much less complex and, thus, easier to develop quickly and cheaply. So really, you just end up playing a variation of the same three or four games over and over and over again. 

Wacky Controlls: One of the fastest way to kill a game is give it complicated or semi- to non-functional contols. Even console games can run into this pitfall (which still boggles my mind, but that's a diffrent discussion). Sacrificing the standard gaming controller can be a major hurdle to get past. Even the most well developed games can have wonky controls sometimes. You can be cruising along in a game and all the sudden you lose control of everything and it all goes down hill from there. 

There's a remedy to that issue with is the bluetooth controller than can be purchased like the Moga Pro (pictured). The makes racing or FPS games - among others - much easier to play, and even downright enjoyable. However, the issue I encountered with this solution was that even games that claim to be compatible with a bluetooth controller are sometimes not and if you can get them to recognize the controller, most of the features don't work. When you try to resolve the issue the developer tells you it's the controllers fault and the controller manufacturer tells you it's the developers fault. To top it all of, they aren't exactly cheap.

So here's what I propose, mobile gaming: jump up your own ass and die. You're a half-cocked scheme for people to make quick, easy money while providing a sub-par product that isn't worth the time and effor developers and users put into you. You're the mentally challenged cousin of an industry that is, in itself, only surviving by hyping big named titles to keep their consoles alive. You're making things worse and you just need to stop. 

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