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Our New Mobile Overlords

Joe Riska | 11 Jul 2012 09:00
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Mobile Gaming is new, portable, bite-sized, cheap and easily accessible.

Of course gamers hate it.

Whether you like it or not, mobile gaming is here and it is going to stay that way for the foreseeable future.

If history is any indication, this is to be expected. Every time the barriers of entry into the world of gaming are lowered, or a new console gets announced, there is a combination of brief excitement and cautious optimism followed the inevitable, immediate backlash from many who believe themselves firmly entrenched in the "gaming scene." Every console generation has its war between systems (if you're still arguing about the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, though, just stop - seriously), new innovations are treated as jokes (although we were totally right about the Nintendo U-Force) and predictions are wildly made about what the new technology can and will do. Then there are the computer gamers who twiddle their thumbs and wait for consoles to catch up to their superior builds and grumble about getting inferior ports of console games (which admittedly has some merit). Then, there are the handheld gamers who have long made do with less powerful machines and have traditionally preferred shorter playtimes. There have also been periods of waxing and waning public interest for all these traditional platforms for the past 30 years, but this is the first time a new challenger has threatened to impede on all platforms of gaming and *gasp* perhaps get new people into playing videogames.

Enter: mobile gaming. Whether you like it or not, mobile gaming is here and it is going to stay that way for the foreseeable future. Many of us do not really see the appeal of iPhone games, or even owning an iPad when we could spend hundreds of hours in Tamriel or Azeroth and shooting our friends in a game of Call of Duty or Battlefield on our massive monitors and even bigger televisions, but there are a ton of people out there who do. The fact is that the people who see the appeal are right to do so.

The fact of the matter is that portability and instant gratification are the name of the game today. We want what we want and we want it delivered right now! There is no better example of that kind of cultural shift in thinking than the smart phone. Able to access the internet at the push of a button and resting right in our pockets nearly every waking hour of the day, the smart phone is many people's most important possession for maintaining a connection with the rest of the world. Whether a person wants to update Twitter, Foursquare, Facebook, find directions, listen to music, or set an alarm clock - we now have one device that can take care of all of that and it fits in our pocket as the ultimate utilitarian tech device. It's only natural that because we spend so much time with our phones, we are going to want to play games on them - and that's where the problem starts.

Cellphone applications barely existed five years ago. In fact, it wasn't that long ago that people thought the idea of sending a text message from your phone was a stupid idea when you can use a phone to, you know, actually talk to people.

To go from next to no knowledge of programming for phones to what we can do on them today should be celebrated, but there are still some very rough patches out there.

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