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Why are mobile phone games shit?

Started by small_world, July 07, 2013, 12:38:49 PM

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small_world

WHY?!

Sure, there are a few that can take up a few hours, you can be lost or lonely and pull the thing from your pocket and bypass a few minutes of boredom.
But generally, there aren't many games on mobiles that you'd go out of your way to play.

I can accept that the mobile markets aren't as well funded as the console or PC markets, but there's no reason for Angry Birds to be the only game to really get any following.


All I keep thinking, is, if this had of been the late 80s, early 90s, then there would have been some AWESOME mobile games, just because there was inventiveness then.
It's similar in ways to the console market, in that game makers are pushing a graphical/realism agenda. Mobile game makers seem to be chasing after the console market, trying to make games that are similar to what already exists for consoles, even though the platform is completely different.

Wise up mobile game makers.
Show some inventiveness and lead the way. Do something with the platform and stop trying to invent control interfaces to enable a StreetFighter remake.


Thinking of some games that would really work.
Text based adventures. Very basic follow the story and make choices gaming. Something like Where in the world is Carmen San Diego would fucking just work.

Stats based games. Something like the management side of SWOS, lifted straight from the 94 game would just fucking work.

Settlers, again, something where its' just clicking on the screen and sliding your finger to control the camera... IT WOULD JUST FUCKING WORK!

I get that I've criticised game makers for trying to emulate existing games and then just listed 3 existing games, but they ckeep going after action games, where there are some real obvious game types they should be concentrating on...


What's going on?!!?1

madhair60

There are loads of great mobile phone games.  Is this post from 2009 or something?

Still Not George

Quote from: madhair60 on July 07, 2013, 12:40:19 PM
There are loads of great mobile phone games.  Is this post from 2009 or something?

Name 10.

(I use that number in particular because most people can name 5, but start to tail off around about 6-7 or so.)

Bearing in mind that any one of us could probably name 30 from the last console generation alone...

madhair60

Nah, what's great to me is probably not great to you.  Or there'll be a load of arguing about what constitutes being objectively "great".  Not arsed.  I'll just play games and have fun instead.

mcbpete

#4
Swords and Sworcery EP
BitTrip Beat
Eufloria
Minecraftt
Osmos
DRM (erm, that's death ray manta and not EAs favourite thing)
Stealth Bastard Deluxe
The Room
Super Hexagon
Aquaria
Crayon Physics Deluxe

Still Not George

Quote from: madhair60 on July 07, 2013, 12:59:49 PM
Nah, what's great to me is probably not great to you.  Or there'll be a load of arguing about what constitutes being objectively "great".

Therein lies the problem. Someone just posted a list of what are, to me, utterly shit games.

Thing is, though, I'd suggest we can both come up with a list of 10 games for other platforms in the same period that pretty much everyone will agree are fan-fucking-tastic. I mean, is there any real argument about whether Arkham Asylum or The Last Of Us are any definition of "great"?[nb]Except for Yahtzee, but slighting things is his job[/nb]

That's the problem with mobile phone games. They're only great if your expectations are attuned to the platform - which is to say, quite low. Not everyone is capable of that sort of adjustment.

MojoJojo

Gamedev Story (several of the other story games are pretty good too, but you'll just whinge if I include them)
Geodefense
Great Little War Game
Final Fantasy Dimensions
Kingdom Rush
Knights of Pen And Paper
OpenTTD
Space Miner
Talisman Prologue
X-Com Enemy Unknown

I'd struggle a lot more to do 30 mainstream games TBH.

madhair60

Quote from: Still Not George on July 07, 2013, 01:34:46 PM
Therein lies the problem. Someone just posted a list of what are, to me, utterly shit games.

Thing is, though, I'd suggest we can both come up with a list of 10 games for other platforms in the same period that pretty much everyone will agree are fan-fucking-tastic. I mean, is there any real argument about whether Arkham Asylum or The Last Of Us are any definition of "great"?[nb]Except for Yahtzee, but slighting things is his job[/nb]

That's the problem with mobile phone games. They're only great if your expectations are attuned to the platform - which is to say, quite low. Not everyone is capable of that sort of adjustment.

Yeah absolutely.  I mean, for the hell of it I did write a list of ios games I love:

Edge, Toki Tori, Canabalt, Fieldrunners, Final Fantasy Theatrythm, Beneath a Steel Sky, Broken Sword, Cut the Rope, The Walking Dead, Jetpack Joyride, Burnout Crash, Rayman Jungle Run, Sonic CD

but there's stuff on there anyone would take issue with.

Still Not George

Quote from: MojoJojo on July 07, 2013, 01:35:31 PM
Gamedev Story (several of the other story games are pretty good too, but you'll just whinge if I include them)

Well, yeah, they're the same game. But GDS is pretty much the only thing in your list I'd call an unqualified "great".

I mean, XCOM:EU? Really? You can't see a problem with including that in a list of "great mobile phone games"?

I don't know. Obviously they're constrained by their hardware, though I do agree that you need to develop a different mentality when you play mobile games.
But hardware limitation is a great incentive to come up with innovative and clever game-design, as opposed to releasing the same basic gameplay every single time like what comes out of the triple-A space.

I think Super Hexagon, Rayman Jungle Run and Ridiculous Fishing are genius. And that's because those games take advantage of the platform and its limitations, and because of that do something simple and unique, that in of itself, is incredibly addictive, fun and satisfying. I really respect that.

That said, I've not really had any meaningful experiences from mobile gaming like I've had from games on PC or consoles. 

I hear a lot of people got something out of Swords and Sworcery, but I found it relatively soulless. It had a nice art-style and a great soundtrack, but I never, EVER enjoyed playing the damn thing. Never could work up the urge to finish it, and I tried playing through it twice.

MojoJojo

You obviously haven't played many of the Kairosoft games if you think they're all the same - there are a lot of similar ones true, but things like Ninja Village are pretty different GDS.

I'm guessing the problem with XCOM:EU is that you've decided on some completely arbitrary definition of mobile game to suit your purpose.

mcbpete

Actually the best mobile game I've played to date has to be Chrono Trigger via the SNESoid emulator (not the official mobile Chrono Trigger release apparently that's shite). The controls are perfect (or to be more specific, the turn based battle system mean the controls can afford to be a little slow) and the save/load state feature make it perfect bite size gaming whilst on the move - I've missed countless tube stops as a result of being engrossed in it.

But yeah, Square RPGs via emulation have been my favourites to date

onthebeach

I've looked for games on my tablet for ages and the vast majority have been playable for a few hours at most, some for about 30 seconds. So many absolutely awful games.

But I'm totally gonna try out some games mentioned here to see if I can change my perception. New Star Soccer is the most playable game I've found so far, I still go back to it now and again.

alan nagsworth

Mobile phone games are fucking great son, get 2 kno. Here are my favourite iPhone games. Bold text for absolute essentials:

PUZZLE:

CrossFingers

Zen Bound - Wrap rope around 3D wooden objects and try to cover as much of them as possible. Blissful headphones experience, wonderful tilt interface (and I usually hate tilt-based games), the perfect puzzler.

Colorbind

Cut The Rope

Hellsing's Fire - Colourful with a smart sense of humour and a unique premise. Tons of fun.

To-Fu

NightSky

ARCADE:

Jetpack Joyride

Ski Safari - Probably the best endless runner in terms of challenges and updates, as well as having a great mix of pick-up-and-play endurance runs and difficult missions to beat.

Tiny Wings - Absolutely gorgeous little work of art, this one. Kind of similar to the above but with individual levels as opposed to endless runners.

Beat Sneak Bandit - The coolest musical arcade game going, daddio! Excellent electronic jazz soundtrack to compliment the infectious rhythm-based gameplay. Myh one gripe with this game is it's too short. Once you get into it, it's very hard to put down and you end up completing it pretty quickly.

Monsters Ate My Condo

Sword & Sworcery LP - One of the most anticipated mobile games, wasn't it? Fucking beautiful and unique in every way, just stunning really. Can't recommend it highly enough.

STUPID RETRO CHIPGAME FUN:

Realistic Summer Sports Simulator - This is the epitome of ludicrous. Deceptively simple-looking track-and-field style minigames that are damn near fucking impossible and each have their own special way of playing that is deliciously off the wall. Whether or not you actually get good at it and master the controls, it's always hilariously frustrating to play.

Enviro-Bear 2000

McPixel - Another absurd and nonsensical game, this had something of a cult following before it made the leap to mobile gaming. You're a brainless detective trying to solve one-scene puzzles by tapping objects and hoping for them to yield the best results. Almost all of them result in large scale destruction, absolutely none of it makes any sense, and the winning combinations are so bizarre that they're easily to forget, giving it great replay value.

30 Second Life

Super Mega Worm - RAMPAGE MOTHERFUCKERS. EAT EVERY LIVING THING AND DESTROY EVERYTHING ELSE. FUCK THE WORLD ROOAARRGGHHHH

King Of Tennis

Brave Man

Utter Shit

Touch-screen controls limit fat-handed twats like me to games that don't require quick reactions or dexterity.

Mister Six

Seconding alan's recommendation of Ski Safari. Beautifully simple controls (tap screen to make your skier jump; hold to make him flip) but a plethora of complicating gameplay factors and unlockables to keep things fresh, plus multiple ways of besting yourself/friends (top score for each slope, furthest distance, highest rank, completing unique 'stunts' to get stars that unlock goodies).

And the micropayments are minimal, unobtrusive and only necessary if you are the kind of idiot who'd rather put in a cheat code to unlock everything rather than just play the damn game.

Ghost Trick is also perfect for touch-screen, and a beautifully designed and written game in its own right.

The only mobile game that has me still playing after a looong time is Bejeweled. Basically because you can play it without overthinking (meaning I can listen to podcasts at the same time), and it tickles that itch in my brain that Tetris used to scratch.

glitch

Quote from: Still Not George on July 07, 2013, 12:49:34 PM
Name 10.

(I use that number in particular because most people can name 5, but start to tail off around about 6-7 or so.)

Bearing in mind that any one of us could probably name 30 from the last console generation alone...

Do they have to be platform exclusives?

For the iPhone:

- Warhammer Quest
- Infinity Blade 1/2
- XCOM
- Frozen Synapse
- Draw Something
- Fight Night Champion
- Ghost Trick
- Great Little War Game
- Plague Inc
- Starbase Orion

Noodle Lizard

Speak for yourself, my mum's new Nokia's got Snake 2 on it!!

Replies From View

Limbo is on iOS now, and I've nothing to complain about there.  I guess with all of these things they work better on the bigger screen of tablets, but apparently Limbo works on phones too, as do the classic Sonic games.  I just can't be arsed to do them on a tiny screen.

On my phone I've allowed the various versions of Temple Run to eat up my time.  On my tablet as well as the above I've enjoyed Plants vs. Zombies, Sim City and the first two classic Monkey Island games.  My interest in computer games pretty much ended when 2D platformers and puzzle games gave way to the 3D Doom-types.  So I'm quite enjoying the way mobile games have a limited and retro feel to them.

Hollow

The controls...touchscreens are useless.

Mister Six

Quote from: Hollow on July 09, 2013, 11:13:01 PM
The controls...touchscreens are useless.

Useless are replicating big consoles, but perfect for more streamlined, less cumbersome games. Ghost Trick is perfect on the iPhone, for example. Intuitive and easy to play, but complex through clever design and compelling through clever writing.

If you can strip off SNG's usual smug self-righteousness, he has a point of sorts. But it's not about players lowering their expectations of what a touchscreen game can achieve, it's about designers adapting to a completely different set of strengths and weaknesses regarding player input, and crafting a game accordingly. There's no inherent reason a phone or tablet game can't have the intricate, moving story and characterisation of The Last of Us, and gameplay that is different to, but just as satisfying in its own way as, Arkham Asylum.

(I mean, everyone spaffs over Silent Hill 2, but only because of its story and characters - the actual gameplay is bobbins.)

Hollow

There's nothing like the point of contact on a pad...click...you know you've done something.

I'd contest that people love silent hill 2 for the atmosphere firstly...of which the music is a huge part...story over gameplay? Yes I suppose you'd be right...I would still take a clunky mess like sh2 over all the downpours of this world though.

Acceptable

Lots of board game adaptations on mobile devices are really cracking. They take out all the tedious paper management (and, you know, socialising) and really let the mechanics of the game shine through. Also they're much cheaper than the box versions and unlike a lot of mobile games they're actual games as opposed to a piece of software where a thing collects a second thing then you wait for fifteen hours.

These games are all available on Android since I'm not bloody Croesus, so can't afford an official Apple product to spunk away my money on.*

In the flesh Neuroshima Hex is unplayably slow but on a tablet becomes a quick turn based strategy game about position and improvisation. Has a multiplayer mode so you can pass it round the table or single player against a devious AI if you're, for example, trapped in an airport for hours on end. Worth forking out for the DLC with the plant creatures if you're at all interested in game design; it really shows off how a handful of rules can encapsulate clever asymmetric goals (yeah fuck you, Firaxis). 10/10

Elder Sign: Omens. Roll some dice, roll some dice, roll some dice, tumble screaming into the void...roll some dice. The actual game at the heart of this is kind of dull, just basic risk management, but it's very very pretty and oozes tons of atmosphere. If you want to waste some time in a Lovecraftian adventure it's enjoyably laid-back. Again, can be played as a group or alone and once again manages to offer DLC 'Old Ones' that don't seem like a total rip-off. 10/10

Catan This game is Settlers of Catan. 10/10


* Although iOS devices do get a much wider range of amazing board games like Agricola and the ludicrously expensive space empire game Eclipse.

Hollow

I'm a huge danmaku fan...and although they are gimped by all recognition on the ipad...the controls do make me feel like a living god...they rip all the skill out of the games though...but the controls are fluid..responsive and with a dab of chalk dust on the old fingers...reliable...so I take back my previous comments...

New comment : touchscreens are usless at pretending to be control pads.

Mister Six

Quote from: Hollow on July 10, 2013, 04:05:37 AM
I'd contest that people love silent hill 2 for the atmosphere firstly...of which the music is a huge part...story over gameplay? Yes I suppose you'd be right...I would still take a clunky mess like sh2 over all the downpours of this world though.

Sure, that too. Atmosphere is a tougher sell on an iPhone but doable if you're clever about it. There are ASCII flash games that are tremendously atmospheric, for crying out loud!

Oh and I love SH2 as well, but it ain't for the gameplay.

glitch

Quote from: Hollow on July 10, 2013, 04:05:37 AM
There's nothing like the point of contact on a pad...click...you know you've done something.

And yet touchscreen is much better for gestures. Try playing something like Infinity Blade 1/2 with a joypad or mouse (which in some ways would be close to controls for say, Tiger Woods Golf Whatever or Black & White). It wouldn't work.

Quote from: Acceptable on July 10, 2013, 04:08:07 AM
In the flesh Neuroshima Hex is unplayably slow but on a tablet becomes a quick turn based strategy game about position and improvisation. Has a multiplayer mode so you can pass it round the table or single player against a devious AI if you're, for example, trapped in an airport for hours on end. Worth forking out for the DLC with the plant creatures if you're at all interested in game design; it really shows off how a handful of rules can encapsulate clever asymmetric goals (yeah fuck you, Firaxis). 10/10

Elder Sign: Omens. Roll some dice, roll some dice, roll some dice, tumble screaming into the void...roll some dice. The actual game at the heart of this is kind of dull, just basic risk management, but it's very very pretty and oozes tons of atmosphere. If you want to waste some time in a Lovecraftian adventure it's enjoyably laid-back. Again, can be played as a group or alone and once again manages to offer DLC 'Old Ones' that don't seem like a total rip-off. 10/10

Catan This game is Settlers of Catan. 10/10


* Although iOS devices do get a much wider range of amazing board games like Agricola and the ludicrously expensive space empire game Eclipse.

Cheers for these, going to have a look!

Jerzy Bondov

Another good board game to get on your phone or tablet is Tigris & Euphrates. I'm a bit addicted to it. You put tiles down on this board, and so do the other players, and you get some points. I think that's a fair description. It's only two quid. Loads of other Reiner Knizia board games are on iOS and Android.

If you're on Android you can also get Androminion, an unofficial but very good version of the deck-building card game Dominion. It's got shit graphics but it's free and has all the expansions. I don't remember if it has any sort of tutorial mode but if you're already into Dominion it's great.

Hollow

Quote from: glitch on July 10, 2013, 02:31:22 PM
And yet touchscreen is much better for gestures. Try playing something like Infinity Blade 1/2 with a joypad or mouse (which in some ways would be close to controls for say, Tiger Woods Golf Whatever or Black & White). It wouldn't work.

No, it could have proper controls for the field movement...and now for the actual gameplay, Punch-out...the obvious inspiration for infinity blade has worked brilliantly with pad controls for years, i personally think it would be more playable..but that's me.

glitch

Except if you add "field movement" to Infinity Blade 1/2, it'd change the game from what it is to just another hack and slash 3rd person game. The gesture controls work perfectly for it, particularly with parrying.

In theory, when touch gesture controls are done well, they could allow for higher accuracy than a gamepad - after all, most console shooters have varying degrees of auto-aim to accommodate for the fact they're not as good as keyboard and mice. You're also ignoring the fact that... adding a controller to a mobile platform. Really? I know they exist but for your average mobile game, which is just killing time before/on a bus, it would seem a bit much to have to carry additional hardware round with you.

I really like the controls for Fight Night Champion, particularly as they're a refined version of the pretty inspired controls for the console franchise.