Opinion: iPhone – A new handheld gaming platform?

supermonkeyball41

I bought my iPhone about 6 months ago, thinking it would be a glorified iPod. Little did I know it would be a device which would go about replacing everything I have.

My iPhone is now my Phone, MP3 player, Dictionary, Web browser, E-mailer, MSN Messenger and now it wants to replace my Nintendo DS and Sony PSP. I never thought this would be possible untill I played Super Monkey Ball on the iPhone.

Super Monkey Ball started something very good. Its the first time a game has been developed for a mobile phone and actually felt like a handheld console game. Like everyone who has the iPhone, I purchased SMB and I love it. The controls are terrible, there is no saving of your in game progress, but its just nice to own it. To show your friends, to gloat to all those people who have a Nokia or HTC phone. For the first time I actually have a phone which can play games just like a Nintendo or a PSP. I can receive updates for the game for any bugs found and I can voice my opinion about the game, good or bad via the App Store.

I never knew how important the App Store was until I used it and I find it the best way to browse and buy new games, and the reviews are helpful too. The first generation games such as Cro-Mag and Moto-Chaser showed the iPhone had the potential to compete with the handhelds graphically, but the playability seems to be dragged from a 90’s PC racing game. Basic, difficult to control and boring. Ironically these two games are always in the top ten paid apps, despite being awful. It could be the price of 59p which is enticing people to buy them. It could also be the fact that they are featured in Apple’s iPhone TV Ad campaign. Either way, everyone seems to be buying them, myself included.

With the Nintendo or PSP, a game costs £30. You have to goto the shop or buy it online and then once you find out its a turkey, eBay it and think of the time you have just wasted. With the iPhone, you browse the store, buy a game, download it, play it, delete it, all within minutes. I think this is the future of buying games, but it could also be the end of any dedicated games shop left on the planet. Just like the demise of the Japanese import shops in the late 90’s.

I love my iPhone. Its convergence at its very best. I never though it would be possible to bring out a handheld gaming platform which has no buttons, joypad or analogue stick. It is possible and thanks to the iPhone, the next Nintendo handheld will so much more interesting.

Note: Super Monkey Ball – Version 1.02 now has better controls and your progress is saved. Thank You SEGA.

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