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Confessions of a Hardcore Mobile Gamer

Say "mobile gaming" and think Candy Crush or Pokemon Go? This is slightly wrong, as many, like myself, hardcore game on tablets and phones.

When you think of hardcore gamers, you don't picture them using an iPad.

When most people think of hardcore gamers, they think of individuals devoting all their free time in massive gaming sessions, finishing the latest AAA title with religious like fervor. However, more importantly to this article, what is the platform which is commonly thought of as the hardcore gamer's prime choice?

Rightfully so, the standard hardcore gamer uses one of four choices: a PC (Macs are very rare in this category), Xbox, Playstation, or Nintendo. For a millennial like myself, this is very true. I spend dozens of hours every week jamming away on my Xbox One.

I just recently bought myself an EA Access account and I'm enjoying killing Rebels aplenty for free with Star Wars: Battlefront. However, over the past year, I've noticed myself going more and more towards my iPad when looking for that gaming fix. I originally bought an iPad all the way back in 2010 or 2011 when the first generation came out. I bought it to use instead of a Gameboy or PSP (both of which I owned at one time or another). It was a good choice, as every tablet or iPad user can attest to. It just does way more than play games. However, ever since then, whether it was my first iPad, my phone, or my most recent iPad Air purchase, I've used it to play games.

It started just as a replacement for a Gameboy. But it's grown bigger than that

Ever since the release of the 1st Infinity Blade, games on the iOS device have really gained in quality. Titles coming out now such as the previously named series, the Dead Trigger series, and many more mobile exclusive games have delighted both me and millions of other users across the globe.

However, I've found that I'm playing Madden Mobile instead of buying Madden 17. I had my first taste of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic not on an Xbox or through Steam, but on my iPad. I've played just as many hours of FIFA games on my iPad as I have on my Xbox. I even withheld altogether a purchase of the newest installment of the Guitar Hero franchise and instead waited for the iOS version to reduce in price to $9.99 and play it happily, without the guitar controller and just using touch. Now, instead of on long car rides and commutes, I am playing PES Club Manager as much as I am playing FIFA 16 career mode (I haven't felt the need to spring for FIFA 17, mostly due to my completely irrational fear of playing a FIFA game without Leo Messi on the cover. I'm a Barça fan, so go figure). I find it peculiar, but not as surprising it it once might have been.

Mobile Games have evolved and improved in quality at a similar pace with the hardware they are consumed on

I think it probably has to do simply with the amount of time, effort, and money being invested in games for iOS and Android (and others I suppose, but these are the big names where the vast majority of the money is). Comparing games released today, such as Galaxy on Fire 3: Manticore, with mobile games that originally released, and you notice many things.

One of these is obvious: the quality of the graphics. Unlike in the beginning, the processing power of modern smartphones and tablets allows game developers to push the graphics of their games to almost comparable levels with modern AAA games. I could easily see the aforementioned GoF game coming out for the Xbox 360 just a couple of years ago and be considered of pretty decent graphical detail.

Another important innovation is the evolution of mobile game production. For instance; there are more and more games that utilize full cutscenes, dozens of voice over artists, and have a dozen or more people on the development teams.

Much more money is invested and time spent in the making of mobile games than was the norm at the beginning of the decade. Just like the phones and tablets that power them, mobile games have come a long way from simple and low resolution puzzlers, to full quality AAA level immersive entertainment that can be played just as religiously as the latest and greatest installment of Grand Theft Auto. They even have many classic GTA games ported to app stores!

Published Jan. 18th 2017

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