Six Months of iPhone Gaming
It’s been six months since I first got an iPhone. I’d not had much interest in Apple products previously, being unimpressed by their design, frustrated by a succession of faulty iPods and repulsed by the trendy iOS crowd with their haircuts and snazzy trousers. Even still, I was happy to accept the offer of a free upgrade to a 4S earlier this year and have been enjoying smartphoning and well-kept hair ever since.
I had hoped to use my new phone as a gaming device, but a mix of video game snobbery, a love of home consoles and the arrival of the PS Vita in February resulted in my black rectangle being neglected as a gaming platform. I did make an effort in those first few days, downloading and even paying for Game Dev Story. Unfortunately, I never got past the screen where you christen your game, and thus Timesplitters 4 remains but a dream.
I tried Metal Gear Solid Touch Lite-on Fun, which was absolutely riveting and thankfully free. The first few levels of Ghost Trick also came without charge but remain un-played, as has Sonic Racing. I tried Jukebeat, a rhythmical reminder of time wasted in Akihabara arcades, but I quickly packed it in, concerned that I might end up with a finger through the screen during a vigorous tapping session. Fruit Ninja was going for free a couple of weeks back and it was certainly fun while it lasted: two or three extended sessions spread over a quiet weekend.
I'm not a complete cheapskate, having made a couple of 69p purchases since January. I spent my coppers on Grand Theft Auto 3, curious to see what it looked like running on a handheld, but I was content to abandon it once the high quality of the transfer had been established. Burnout Crash cost less than a loaf of bread, or 70p's worth of mushrooms, and may yet get a look-in on a future train journey. Draw Something is the only game-like app that I have put any significant time into - I enjoyed a month of grotesque scribblings of celebrities and colourful phalluses, but I haven’t touched it since.
|Game Dev Story (I think)|
Although I have not played many iOS games, I have been using my iPhone for other gaming related activities. Being able to check my trophies on the go via the PlayStation App was fun for a while and the Mass Effect 3 Datapad taught me all about Asari reproduction and humanity's rise to prominence in the galaxy, though it failed to explain how Miranda gets into that jumpsuit. It has also been my podcast player, providing company on those days when I must plough through the pile of paperwork on my desk. I had stopped listening to video game podcasts two and a half years ago, having decided that they were all a bit shit, but I have since rediscovered the 8-4 cast, started listening to Shack News' Weekend Confirmed as well as the Eurogamer show. When I'm feeling particularly narcissistic, I'll listen to myself on the Critical Gamer podcast and laugh at my own jokes.
I have also found plenty of non-gaming uses for my iMachine. Twitter is my main distraction, as I feel compelled to check it every twenty minutes for witty retorts and mentions. The quality of the camera means that I'm now much more likely to post pictures of video games, alcohol, or games with alcohol; sometimes I'll even tweet a picture of a dog driving a car. The Japanese dictionary Kotoba is a brilliant piece of software and there is always something entertaining on the BBC iPlayer.
Although I haven't played as many games on my iPhone as I thought I would, I have been won over by the 4S and convinced of its merits as a multimedia device. If I’m looking to indulge in portable gaming, it’ll be on my game-dedicated Vita or 3DS XS. However, when I want to catch up on a podcast or find out what the weather is like in Nairobi, then I’ll be reaching for my iPhone.