iPhone Gaming: Play to your Strengths
The majority of comments I’ve seen related to iPhone gaming is the lack of physical gamepad controls. True the iPhone does not have physical gamepad controls, but the accel/touch based controls should not be underestimated, they have great potential for certain game genres.
Every Controller has a Weakness
No one controller type fits all game genres, take PC vs consoles for example. Console gamers can argue all they want, but a gamepad will never give you the level of precision a mouse will for RTS or FPS gaming.
Case in point, in Shadowrun they had to nerf the PC gamers to keep the playing field even between Xbox and PC players, this is exactly why developers do not like mixing console with PC gamers, even though technically there is no reason they can’t, it’s really just a matter of fairness.
On the flip side, a keyboard will never give a gamer the level of control needed for racing/flight/fighting games.
Imagine for a moment if you were racing around a track with a variety of turns that range from light bends to sharp turns, with a gamepad joystick you could adjust your turns easily by moving the joystick less or more in the direction of the turn.
In contrast a keyboard has no middle ground, either you are doing a full turn or no turn at all, the closest you could get to adjusting your turn with a keyboard is by tapping the turn key, sounds fun doesn’t it?
Using a mouse for flight games is a complete joke, yes let me do my barrel roll to evade the enemy plane on my tail, oh wait I stopped midway in my loop because I ran out mouse pad space and had to lift/re-center my mouse, as a side bonus at least you’ll have an extra buff mouse arm after all that lifting you’ll be doing, check out my mouse arm ladies…
Play to your Strengths
Instead of focusing on what the iPhone can’t do and trying to force games to fit into the iPhone control scheme, why not instead focus on games that play to the iPhone’s strengths? The iPhone has proven itself as an excellent platform for racing and puzzle games, but what game genres are currently missing from the App Store that would be a perfect match for iPhone’s touch/accel control scheme?
- The RTS game genre has been confined mainly to PC/Mac gaming, simply because there has been no good substitute for the mouse, I’ve seen RTS games on the console before and it’s like watching a snail move, utterly boring. The iPhone is different though, the next closest control scheme that gives us the same level of precise control needed for RTS is touch screens.
- Sim City type games would also be a great addition to the iPhone gaming library, with it’s simple point/click gameplay, the transition to touch based gameplay would be painless. Sim City is nothing new in the world of mobile gaming, it’s most notable appearance has been on the Nintendo DS, which also sports a touch screen, but what makes it more exciting on the iPhone is the sharper/larger display and more capable hardware.
- After spending hours playing racing games on the iPhone, I’ve become a big believer of accelerometer based controls. Growing up I was a huge fan of the Star Wars flight simulator, Tie Fighter. I’d love to see a Tie Fighter style flight game make it’s way into the iPhone, the accelerometer controls would be a perfect fit for flight games, assuming the game allows you to calibrate the accelerometer controls, yea I’m looking at you Super Monkey Ball…
- Turn based strategy games such as Advanced Wars on the Nintendo DS have proven that this game genre can play on a mobile platform and do it well. On the other hand turn based strategy games on the PSP haven’t done as well, although they are fun, the controls aren’t exactly ideal, selecting a unit from a group isn’t as simple as it should be, you have to cycle through the group by pressing the D-pad repeatedly to select the desired unit, when all you’d have to do on a touch screen is simply tap on the unit you wanted to command, what a concept, I tap on the unit I want to control, rocket science I tell you.
What do you Think?
What type of games should come to the iPhone and what game genres have no business being on the iPhone?
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