Mobile is a Valid Platform

Mobile gaming shouldn't be getting the cold shoulder by some. It's just as valid a platform to enjoy new and traditional experiences on.

Why so many ruffled feathers about mobile gaming?

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The only difference I see in the mobile game space is the non-traditional way to interact with the game. A puzzle game like Tetris is no different from Candy Crush. Sonic the Hedgehog still plays the same on my son’s Kindle, as does Pac-Man. For Pete’s sake, Final Fantasy is available in mobile stores… if that’s not a game, I don’t know what is.

Mobile games are often compared to traditional experiences like the home console and PC. Some people like to think mobile games aren’t considered in the same as “regular” games. I can’t say my opinions were all that different, until I had a son. My son has really only been exposed to the mobile gaming library.

When I think of mobile games, I think of the popular puzzler Candy Crush.

Candy Crush is a matching game like Bejeweled, but instead of lining up jewels, you have candy. The lack of a traditional controller is a barrier for some mobile games, like twin stick shooters; that’s often difficult for me. What I don’t think of are all the titles that are actually available on the mobile platform. Again, games like Final Fantasy, Sonic the Hedgehog, even Pac-Man and Frogger are available for download.

When people look back at the history of gaming to see where it started, we look back at games like Pac-Man, Frogger, and Pong. These games are what started a pop-culture phenomenon. Without these basic building blocks, we wouldn’t have our Grand Theft Auto V’s of the world, much less Gone Home or even Zelda.

You sure you’re parenting right, then?

My almost 4-year-old son has never played Mario, one of the classic games to cut your teeth on; he’s only seen runs via YouTube. As a passionate gamer who wants so badly to share a big part of my life with my son, I find it imperative to let him experience the same games I did as a child.

The only problem with that is the ability to own every platform or an emulator. An emulator allows you to play versions of older games such as Asteroids, Mario, even Contra. We own an Xbox 360 with a Kinect, MobiGo’s, and a Kindle Fire. My son has taken to the Kindle Fire. This very fact makes me squeal with joy on the inside.

Before my son fell in love with Pac-Man and Angry Birds Go!, a racing simulator, his first experience with games was with the Kinect. Double Fine always makes fun games, and Happy Action Theatre, now Kinect Party, is no different. Some of my fondest moments are in that game.

The family favorite is the lava game–the same one you played as you were a kid when you couldn’t touch the ground. This game shows whatever room you’re playing in fill up with lava. You play by jumping around, flinging your arms, which results in the occasional fire-ball–something I’ve never experienced with a controller and never will.

Much like mobile games, the Kinect is a different experience all together.

As the screen projects your image while you interact with virtual objects, the sense of immersion is some times unbelievable. But with only cameras involved, there are no controller–only motion. Mobile games offer a different way to play as well… with touch.

Mobile games don’t have a traditional approach when it comes to controlling a character on-screen. It’s all touch based, even if there are virtual directional sticks are in the bottom corners of your screen. It all feels foreign to those who have only grown up with the traditional controller. My son, however, has known no different.

A controller free future…?

When he thinks of games, he thinks of using his hands on the screen, to wave and move around to interact with the game. I once attempted to give him the controller to stroll around in Minecraft with no success. He eventually just asked, “Daddo, can I just touch the TV to make him go?” That answer is of course a no, and that’s when it hit me. Games are games, it doesn’t matter the platform. He would prefer this experience by using touch, and on a mobile device.

In conclusion, with major titles like The Sims, Infinity Blade, The Cave, and XCOM coming to the mobile space, I don’t see a need for distinction between mobile vs. traditional games.

If all we’re debating about a new way to control our characters, then how did we ever evolve past the singular joystick? How did we ever come up with Virtual Reality? Why did the Gameboy evolve into the 3DS? Are some folks simply not accepting change, or is there more to why mobile games are classified separate from our traditional experiences? Comment below and let me know.

@Coatedpolecat


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Author
Coatedpolecat
I'm a stay at home dad who writes about video games. I enjoy my family, video games, and music.