News Article

Soapbox: Mobile And Tablet Gaming Is Creating A Generation Of Talentless Players

Posted by Damien McFerran

Touchscreens are all very well, but Damien McFerran wants his pad back

As much as dedicated console players hate to admit it, smartphone and tablet gaming has really taken off of late. Companies like GungHo interactive are reaching the kind of audience and generating the kind of revenue that their more established rivals can only dream of, and titles like Angry Birds have now achieved the kind of mainstream appeal that was previously the sole preserve of Mario and Sonic. Mobile gaming may have had a painful birth — anyone who remembers the terrible pre-iPhone days will attest to that — but now it's a massive industry which threatens to eclipse home and portable console market.

Of course, it should be noted that gaming is gaming, irrespective of the hardware it takes place on. Back in the '80s, we all played our games on home computers like the ZX Spectrum and C64, platforms which were designed primarily as work machines, not entertainment devices — yet the games we enjoyed on those systems are just as valid as any console release from the period. It could be argued that the same thing is happening now; iPhones and iPads are merely a new delivery method for a brave new era.

Gaming is wonderful because it's a largely inclusive pastime, despite what preconceptions outsiders have regarding teenage boys locking themselves in their rooms for hours on end. With this in mind, hardware itself should never be a barrier to enjoyment — if someone likes to play Farmville through their web browser and they have fun doing so, then who are we to spoil their entertainment? Gamers should celebrate the fact that their hobby is now bigger than ever, thanks in no small part to the rise of tablets and smartphones.

However, as someone who dabbles in both the "dedicated" gaming sector and the mobile one, I've noticed a worrying trend which makes me question if mainstream appeal is really beneficial for the industry as a whole. I love to watch my kids mess about on gaming hardware. My son is hopelessly addicted to Pikmin 3, but also likes to hop onto the family iPod Touch for a quick game of Candy Crush Saga or Angry Birds Star Wars. Whilst observing the way in which he plays these games, I've seen a big difference in his level of immersion and the resultant satisfaction he gains. Games like Pikmin 3 require more complex inputs from the player — you're moving cursors around with analogue sticks, precisely hurling Pikmin at enemies and generally putting your digits to good use. My son is five, and although he found the Wii U game somewhat testing initially, he has since mastered the controls and parades around each environment with a sense of purpose. He feels that he has genuinely accomplished something when he finishes a mission or defeats a particular tough enemy, and that's because his own skill has allowed him to get to that stage. The same thing applies when he plays New Super Mario Bros. U, or Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed.

When he hops onto the iPod, his style of play is somewhat different. Because it's such a simple and intuitive interface, he grasps the gameplay much quicker. Swiping and tapping come naturally, and he's never flummoxed about what to do next. However, with simplicity often comes a lack of depth, and that leads swiftly to boredom — he becomes disillusioned with the best games the App Store can offer and moves from one game to the next after just a handful of minutes. This is a situation which could be related to the fact that he's forbidden from spending additional cash on in-app purchases — one of the most unwelcome trends introduced since the rise of mobile gaming. Some titles on iOS are little more than exercises in tapping the display and spending money — GREE's Modern War is a particularly illuminating example, where the player is asked to do little more than tap enemies to kill them and is built in such a manner than you have to feed it cash to keep playing.

Of course, not all mobile games are shallow, coin-guzzling bore-fests. Games like Super Hexagon, New Star Soccer and Ridiculous Fishing are fantastic, and make excellent use of the host hardware to create an experience which is perfectly suited to a touchscreen and ideal for short-burst mobile play. However, it makes me slightly sad to think that an entire generation is growing up learning little more than to prod their chubby, chocolate-covered fingers at a screen. When I was a kid, I spent weeks perfecting the joypad motion for the Dragon Punch in the SNES version of Street Fighter II purely so I could unleash it with uncanny consistency next time my friends came over for a classic Ryu vs Ken showdown. This cycle would repeat whenever a new Capcom fighting game was released, but with a different character as the focus — culminating in the demonic Akuma's Raging Demon Super Combo, which would leave many a player cursing at their lack of dexterity.

Will my young son ever experience the allure of memorising move lists and feeling that satisfying pay-off as the complex button combination you've been practising for hours finally clicks on the joypad, resulting in fisticuff fireworks on-screen? Certainly not on the iOS port of Street Fighter IV, which is a good approximation of Capcom's seminal brawler but is undone by imprecise and inaccurate touchscreen controls which make a seasoned veteran feel like they're fighting with one arm tied behind their back. Touchscreens are fantastic, don't get me wrong — they offer an interface method which simply cannot be replicated with a traditional controller and insure a level of accessibility which is vitally important for casual players. But that works both ways — joypads are downright essential for some of gaming's most rewarding genres, and those genres are under threat because so many of the world's young gamers will most likely never get to appreciate them, purely because they're being raised on a hardware platform which has no physical buttons and no D-pad.

I'm keen to prevent such a future in my household; as well as enjoying all the Wii U has to offer, I've been exposing my son to the likes of the SNES, Mega Drive and Game Boy, and once past that initial confusion about which button does what, he finds these relics from a bygone age to be more fascinating and engaging than anything the iPod can supply. I'll still ensure he can experience the best that smartphone and tablet gaming has to offer, of course — as I've said already, there are plenty of games which simply would not be as enjoyable if they weren't on a touchscreen-based device. However, not every gamer in the world is getting this balanced perspective right now, and there's a good chance that many will grow up having never picked up a joypad. That's good for accessibility and growth — barriers to entry are also barriers to profitability, and games companies like making money, lest we forget — but it arguably brings down the level of sophistication, too. Some will say that hardcore gamers are only a very small sector of what is now a massive market, but let's remember that it was hardcore players which made Street Fighter II into a cultural phenomenon worth millions of dollars, and it will be hardcore players which stick with video games long after casual iPad users have moved onto the other forms of entertainment.

Can you truly have hardcore games on a touchscreen device, games which demand precision, ultimate control and super-fast reflexes, all based on the instant feedback afforded by a physical controller? As much as I love gaming on my phone, I'm not sure that's ever going to happen — which is probably why so many dedicated players are so negative about Apple and Google in general. That negativity can also be seen as fear — fear that the pastime which once celebrated skill and technique is being dumbed down to cater for people who consider Candy Crush Saga to be the pinnacle of interactive entertainment.

What are your thoughts on smartphone and tablet gaming? (424 votes)

You don't need as much skill to play tablet and smartphone games


A different kind of skill is needed for touchscreen games, and they're the future of gaming


I don't have an opinion either way, games are games to me, regardless of platform


Please login to vote in this poll.

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User Comments (138)



Rafie said:

Great article, Damo! I definitely agree. I wish Super Street Fighter 4 would come to the Wii U. That would be really awesome!



Matthew94 said:

>Can you truly have hardcore games on a touchscreen device, games which demand precision, ultimate control and super-fast reflexes, all based on the instant feedback afforded by a physical controller?

Is this a joke? Controllers aren't precise at all. I mean, sure, relative to touchscreens they are but compared to a mouse they are a joke for any game requiring precision.

Street fighter is also a terrible example as most higher end players don't use controllers, they use fight pads.

>A different kind of skill is needed for touchscreen games, and they're the future of gaming

That last bit is just poisoning the well. People might agree with the first part but most won't with the second. Way to "win" the arguement.

It's like having a poll.

Nintendo is the best
Each console has merits, and being racist is great.



Gamercake said:

The day that Mario appears on an iPad will spell doom for the entire industry. Let's hope that never happens.



AlexSora89 said:

THIS time - contrary to the defense of region-locking - I COMPLETELY agree with Damian. Well said, bro! Well said.

@ Gamercake:
I couldn't say it better myself.



Peach64 said:

I don't really get this thing where console gamers seem to hate mobile games. I know it's true, I can see it for myself in the comments here, but I don't get it.

There are some amazing IOS games out there. I'm not talking about the ports of console stuff, but games built with those devices in mind. I remember playing Angry Birds for the first time, before it was 'big' and it reminded me of playing games for the first time, that simple idea that you just want to keep having another go of to beat your score. Something like Tiny Wings requires you to get the hang of the controls just as much as any 8-bit platformer did, if not more. Jetpack Joyride, Year Walk, New Star Soccer, Ridiculous Fishing, none of these games would be better with a controller.

I think people just need to open their mind up to the idea of having new ways to play. A little ironic on a Nintendo community. Too much focus on 'my favourite console game that was designed around buttons sucks on a device without buttons'.



Gamercake said:

The good thing about the Wii U is that it offers both forms of gaming, with a touch-screen AND buttons and analog sticks.

@AlexSora89 thanks



Datasun_7 said:

Well to be fair a moderate amount of modern AAA games are dummed down, and are a lot easier. I don't think it is just tablet mobile are creating talentless players, I don't think you can just throw the blame at mobiles and tablets



DrKarl said:

"Can you truly have hardcore games on a touchscreen device, games which demand precision, ultimate control and super-fast reflexes, all based on the instant feedback afforded by a physical controller?"

What does this sentence mean? Can you rephrase it please?

There are plenty of "hard core" games on ios devices: Agricola, Eclipse, Magic 2013 & 2014, Summoner Wars, Battle Academy, King of Dragon Pass, Starbase Orion just to name a few.

However, the titles I listed are not "twitch" games. Is that what you are saying, hardcore twitch gaming?

If that's the case, this fall the new version of ios will add native support for controllers. I'm sure that Capcom (SF IV), Square (FF tactics) and Aspyr (KOTOR) will update their titles to support the controllers. Won't that make this article mute?



ejamer said:

Although a fine read, I think putting blame on the medium isn't fair. Tablet and touch screen games can be very interesting, intelligent titles.

Gaming classics like Baldur's Gate are great on iOS, and newer titles like XCOM are also available in mobile form. Not every experience will translate well over to a touch-based interface, but it's totally possible to have games that require skill and talent to progress.

Did Wii destroy gaming by making things more accessible? No, although there clearly were examples of bad games released on the platform in an effort to chase the expanded audience. How is tablet/mobile gaming different?

It's the games that matter, not the platform.



tchaten said:

Yea iOS gaming is a bit of a mess - no depth to the games and the in-app purchases create gimped games that aren't fun.

Perhaps these new "Made for iPad/iPhone" Game Controllers that are Apple sanctioned will change some of that, but I think even having a real controller still won't fix the core problem of that marketplace for gaming.



sinalefa said:

Skill does not mean a game must have super complex commands, only done with a gamepad. I love phone games like Where's my Water? and Cut the Rope. Those require you to think and be fast with your fingers.

I guess Damien is referring to cow clickers, where you only click and then wait a few hours to click again. But of course you cannot generalize the whole tablet gaming scene.



Yorumi said:

I think mobile is creating gamers with zero attention span. However, I think in general gaming has been massively dumbed down to appease the entitlement generation. The 'gimmie everything without any effort' crowd or the 'I just want to watch a movie' type of person. The industry as a whole is a mess and one needs to look no farther than comments on the internet to see how screwed up things are.



Gioku said:

I've made sure that my little sister has been able to play difficult games since she was little, and she's probably better at games now than I was at her age.



idork99 said:

Haha! This is a great article!

I wanted to vote for "you don't need skills" but settled for "games are games." You said it right when comparing the C64 to the iPad. The youngsters are growing with this tech and I'm sure it'll be nostalgic once they become adults. And yes, as much as I hate to admit, there are some games that benefit more from touch input (something that I can argue Nintendo made made mainstream with DS). Plants vs Zombies was originally a PC game converted to everything. When played on an iPad, I feel that the game controls great because of the huge touchscreen.

I also agree that the iPad/smartphones could never replace dedicative hardcore gaming systems. And that's because of UI. Smartphones/tablets were made for using your finger for easy interaction. There's just so many things you can do with a finger and a screen. Now get those same fingers, along with both thumbs, and see how many more things you can do with a gaming controller.

And as far as jumping from one app to another with today's youth, that's another problem itself. Besides boredom, I feel that children today do not know how to practice patience. It's funny that you can ask any 3-5 year old child today how to navigate an OS but most of those same children do not know how to tie their shoe . We only have technology to blame: we live in an age of instant gratification and the kids will never benefit from it. Hence, most will never appreciate Street Fighter since their attention span won't allow them to learn the moves. Plus, they'll be like,"what are all these buttons for?!"



World said:

"Smart" gaming is not for me, but I don't know if it's better or worse. Just...different.

At the very least, it doesn't fundamentally bother me if games are less challenging. Sure, it's fun to beat Ganon and Bowser. But, for me at least, a lot of that satisfaction comes from topping off a really great experience, not being deft with buttons. Personally, I've never equated fun with challenge and have never cared about gaming "talent." I want people to play with me and have fun; I don't care if they're some video game Olympian.

But if these experiences are coming up more shallow than Game & Watch in its prime (and it sounds like they are), then I agree with you entirely.



KingBoo01 said:

I may be growing up in a generation of casual gamers, but not all people are talentless. Even though like half of our school is glued to the the latest angry birds game, there are a few kids who still know what a real game is. Smash Bros, Street fighter, Mario, and Pokemon. That's what I grew up with, and what still play today. Console gaming is not going away. Nintendo and Sony are not going. And I still play those classics, and every generation, there will be people that still play the older classics. Heck, I still get out my old Gameboy to play Pokemon Red, or Bonk's adventure.



rafaelluik said:

You're being biased and confusing consoles and games themselves.
The question is What are your thoughts on smartphone and tablet gaming?

My thoughts are that obviously it doesn't differ from consoles in any way, the same games can be launched in both. It's just physical buttons vs touch at the moment. I don't see how touch is less precise than buttons, touch buttons can mimic physical buttons and you can use an attachable/wireless/bluetooth joystick in your smart device if you want too... So games are games, regardless of platform. There are easy games on consoles and on smartphones, you can't blame the developers for that nor the people who are buying/playing/supporting what they want.



Zausimo said:

Putting aside any bias in the article that may irk you, the main point is valid. The current generation of gaming is more interested in low investment in skills and more emphasis on instant gratification, and the majority of iOS gaming attributes towards that (not all, mind you).

You can even argue that console trends with a high degree of cutscenes are also to blame, with companies focusing more on creating a movie-like experience than developing a deep and rewarding gameplay system. There are too many corridor shooters and auto-healing games out there that are facilitating story completion rather than gameplay immersion. Mastering the game is no longer a priority.

Both these types of games and smart phone / tablet gaming are essential pieces of the gaming landscape, you just have to think of the bigger picture this is all painting (which we won't really know its true impact for some time).

All in all, this was probably one of my favorite reads on NL in some time, thank you Damo!



Tylr said:

Smartphone and Tablet gaming just disgusts me to be honest, no buttons( and dumbed down gameplay is the beginning of the crash of the game industry in my opinion.



theblackdragon said:

It's not that the people playing these games are 'talentless' or that the games themselves don't require 'talent' or 'skill' to play, it's that the skills being honed aren't ones you'd be able to apply to a title outside the same genre. It's not easy to find games that cross over from touchscreen-only to touch-and-button-input with ease. Look at Ghost Trick — that came out for iOS a year or two ago iirc. I tried the demo for iPhone after having played the hell out of the DS title; i felt it controlled quite well and I'm sure if that had been the only way I'd ever played it, I would have been just as thrilled with the game as I had been on the DS.

You're comparing your son's experience while playing Angry Birds and Candy Crush to Street Fighter and Pikmin 3, and those aren't fair comparisons at all. You'd be better served comparing his experience playing Angry Birds to something like World of Goo, NightSky, or perhaps even Pushmo — it is at heart a physics-based puzzle game, and they wind up boring all of us after a while. As for Candy Crush, I'd compare it to Bejeweled, Columns, or maybe even Tetris Attack; I can't play any of them for an extended period of time without getting sleepy, and yet they're all still fun games that do take an amount of learning and skill to play successfully or puzzle through mentally. I personally stop and play something else while I'm waiting for my batteries to recharge for those titles, but would I go so far to pooh-pooh them in favor of a full-fledged console title? Absolutely not. They have their place, and it's no skin off my nose what someone else chooses to play anyway.

I don't like it when people choose to continue parroting the same tired 'hardcore vs. casual' nonsense that's been polluting the waters for years now, and I'm saddened to see that happening here for the nth time. We are all gamers, no matter what any one side of the argument has to say about it, and we should either embrace one another and what we all bring to the table or leave each other alone. Changing forms of input and a glut of short-play games on a device not even sold for the purpose of gaming in the first place is something I find myself absolutely unable to fear.



ledreppe said:

At first I feared smartphone and tablet gaming would destroy my preferred gaming on traditional consoles, but I can see the two cohabiting peacefully.



MegaWatts said:

I think you're making a very smart move by introducing your son to traditional/retro games while he's still young, Damo. I think one of the problems of touchscreen/mobile gaming is that it rarely bridges the gap between the two; for example give my girlfriend (who's a casual gamer that has dabbled with core games at times) a mobile game like Where's My Water? and she'll put me to shame at it. But often when we try to play a core game or a first-person shooter, she finds it quite frustrating, the controls typically being the barrier to enjoyment. I'm not 100% on her full background when it comes to plying games growing up, but I imagine she spent a lot less time doing it than me. As a result, it's easy to see where the frustration comes from, and I imagine there's perhaps an expectation that the controls should be as simple as they are on a touch screen. Not only that, but as you astutely note, it's very easy to pick up and play a touch game usually; this isn't usually the case with a joypad game, unless you're very familiar with the type of game and control setup. In this regard, I think lots of people don't realise that for core games you do need to usually put the time in to get better at them.



Tasuki said:

Great article!!!

I agree that it takes different skills for the mobile gaming. I know alot of people who will play games like Angry Birds, or browser games like Farmville but will not touch a 360, Wii U or PS. It kinda reminds me of the days when I was a kid with PC gamers and console gamers. The same kind of thing applies here.



MarioFan1985 said:

By growing up in the NES/SNES era, I have to say that gaming is like an art. It does take skill to know how to beat it. Nowadays, I'm quite disappointed in the video game industry as a whole (not just the cell phone games), because you can play the game on the easiest difficulty and you can still see the game's ending, or there's a lot more interactive cutscenes than there's real gameplay. Seriously back in my day you had to play the game on the normal or hard difficulty in order to see the game's ending and there's only several seconds of cutscenes. Those cell phone games are just like...I would like to say slot machines for children. There really is no great skill involved in them and that's why there so popular.



Mayhem said:

It really depends if you're into playing thinking games or reflex games. The former isn't really going to be an issue if you're playing on a touch screen, a pad, a joystick, or waving a Wii remote around. The latter? I'll stick to my arcade stick and joypad thanks.

The more serious concern is that the freemium model of gaming is going to infiltrate and infect mainstream console games, and that IS what worries me. There was a panel at San Diego Comic-Con that discussed this in some detail, and opinion was heavily divided whether it would be a good thing or not.



element187 said:

Touch screen gaming on smart phones and tablets will eventually stagnate because the lack of buttons. there is only a finite number of ways to interact with your software.... when gameplay stagnates it begins to get boring.

I don't think dedicated gaming systems have anything to fear from mobile gaming once the stagnation sets in. I thought I was going to leave dedicated gaming for mobile gaming, that lasted about 6 months before I started missing my console gaming.... eventually people will desire a more involved experience.

I think even the direction Sony is going in will stagnate before too long... Beyond Two Souls is no longer a video game but a movie that occasionally asks you to press buttons from time to time... eventually people are going to grow tired of that and will want to get back to fun gameplay.

For the record I still play some mobile games. Addicted as ever to tower defense/strategy.



element187 said:

"Well to be fair a moderate amount of modern AAA games are dummed down"

@Datasun_7 exactly why I have no desire to get a playstation or xbox(by the way it isn't a moderate amount its just about every single AAA title has been dumbed down on difficulty). Developers are making games so darn easy that anyone can finish them. They found out that when they make games easier, more people are willing to buy them.... this is why Call of Duty has auto-aim assisting and health regeneration. It makes even the worst first person shooter players feel like they are good, when in reality its the computer thats assisting them.

These AAA developers seem to be moving in a direction that is just terrible for the industry. Less about gameplay more about cinematic adventures. Naughty Dog can tell a great story, but the gameplay is where they fall flat because we been there done that before, as far as 3rd person shooting games go..... I guess NIntendo has spoiled me and I demand new gameplay mechanics in everything I play.



Auracle said:

Wow. Playing Pikmin 3 and Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed at 5? @Damo, you're raising him right.



Nintenjoe64 said:

I hope the trend continues until everyone's skill disappears and I am the greatest player on earth!!!!

Probably only a week or two away anyway!



Nintenjoe64 said:

My nephew (12) and niece (8) have been well raised and they don't like mobile/tablet games as much as real games.

He's a PS3 owner but his favourite games of all time are Mario 64 and Mario Sunshine. Her favourite game of all time is Wind Waker.



aaronsullivan said:

"Mobile games" are not one kind of game. There is a huge array of games that range from insanely difficult and punishing to duh-push-here-and-pay-up. It's a tumultuous place for marketing as no one model is winning out. Zynga is collapsing, what works with free-to-play models changes from month to month. Traditional pay-to-play games are having similar struggles on other platforms with that model thanking its developers with layoffs and bankruptcies,

I'm just saying it's WAY more complex than mobile is bad because all games are easy, dedicated console is good because games are challenging. WAY more complex.



ricklongo said:

I don't think console gaming will ever truly go away. If anything, the biggest threat to consoles is something like the PC, which is a multi-purpose machine that also happens to run games incredibly well. In fact, the PC made me skip the N64/PS/Dreamcast generation of consoles entirely. The only reason I came back was to experience console-exclusive games (namely, Nintendo first-party titles). I don't see a hardcore afficionado giving up consoles to play on tablets (although they likely will own tablets as well as consoles), whereas I definitely know of hardcore gamers that have become PC-only players.

Tablets and smartphones are also valid ways to experience gaming, but in my opinion they are fundamentally different, and should cater to a different kind of gamer. My mother, who never saw video games with good eyes, is often playing quick sessions of Angry Birds or Solitaire on her iPhone. Mainly, I think the untapped gaming market tablets and smartphones allow is one that is out of reach for consoles anyway.

In my opinion, all of them can coexist peacefully. The "tablets are the future of gaming" talk is just blabber from the same kind of experts that suggest Nintendo should go third-party. They miss the mark entirely into what makes consoles special.



SCAR said:

I think there are some good things on there, but once you need buttons or joysticks for games like Sreet Fighter, Geometry Wars, Dead Space, you can count me out.

In other words, only games that don't try to mimic buttons with a touchscreen.

I sold an iPad 2 when they were fairly new and got a used 3DS with some of the money, because all I was doing was playing games on the thing.



Dogpigfish said:

Home consoles offer something different, but some people can't tell or don't care. Entertainment is expensive these days with subscriptions and annual device releases. People are having to restrain their budgets, knowing that it's either increased cable cost or home game console with Netflix. You'll have to pay a little more for an enhanced experience. I think the next generation will see growth in game consoles largely due to retirement aging. For now, expect huge growth in technology spending on junk as the competitive landscape continues to get bigger.



DreamOn said:

Mobile games are just mobile games no need to be hating. Console supporters can find ways to gain the interest of these new gamers and make bridges and not segregate them.



PanurgeJr said:

Games are games; I have a number of great games on my phone right now. The problem is that most of them are not designed specifically for touchscreen input (Cut the Rope is an excellent example of one that is, not only in its mechanic, but portrait orientation); they appear to be designed independently of the platform, then shoehorned onto it, and there isn't a single one of those games that wouldn't be helped by being on a traditional handheld or console. I have them on my phone because there's no other way to play them. Of course, I don't fault developers for developing where there are players, and most of these games wouldn't exist if mobile weren't an option, so complaining that they are on mobile is a bit disingenuous.



rmeyer said:

Play Mechcraft on iPad or iPhone and you won't think the next generation of gaming is not challenging



DePapier said:

I don't even consider smartphone gaming, period. I got my 3DS for on-the-go gaming, and already too many games to play on it. I stick to the place where I'm assured of quality.



SCAR said:

I think these kind of games would be more appealing on Wii U or 3DS. They both have touchscreens and buttons.
It's just interesting too, because DS came out right before smartphones became popular. I'm thinking that perhaps they saw this whole thing all too well beforehand, which is why they were so successful with DS.



AVahne said:

Meh, I just want more games to have gamepad support. My iPega PG-9017 is pretty lonely, since it only has Dead Trigger and Shadowgun to play with. Though, I WILL be getting a MOGA Power Series Pocket later this year which will hopefully have more games support than my iPega and I'm still waiting on my Kickstarter-backed PhoneJoy Play.
I recommend anyone whose serious about mobile gaming to at least look into one of those gamepads. They'll all hold your phone, though they each have differences:
1) MOGA Power Series Pocket has mini analog sticks like the Vita, but are clicky and have the entire button-set of a modern console controller including analog triggers (I think they're analog). It'll also hold your phone in a way that's reminiscent of the GBA SP or maybe DS and holds phones up to the Galaxy Note 2. It arrives in the fall.
2) PhoneJoy Play uses circle pads like the 3DS and also includes the full button-set, but it doesn't have analog triggers. It DOES have analog buttons like PS2 and PS3 controllers though. It has a unique holding mechanism where you pull it in half and place your phone in the middle, sort of like a GBA, PSP, or Vita. It's a Kickstarter project, though it's been delayed and has no definite release date.
3) And finally there's the iPega PG-9017. It's...pretty much a China-made Frankenstein made with the designs and parts of two other gamepads: the Gametel and the Nyko Playpad. It's the cheapest mobile gamepad on the market though, and you can get it anywhere online for $20-25, maybe lower. Build quality is surprisingly decent for a cheapo Chinese ripoff.
Oh, and AVOID THE ORIGINAL MOGA POCKET. One of the absolute WORST gamepads ever created.



StarDust4Ever said:

People don't realise that the quick response times needed by most console games are impossible or frustrating on a touch device. So many of the games are of the puzzler variety (the boring type that don't rely on fast impulses) or strategy games, or reimaginations of the classic point-and-click RPG, only with fancy graphics and cheesy vocals. And don't get me started on recurring charges. Pay real $$$ for armor in a MMORPG. That freakking ruins the game for everyone except those with deep pocketbooks. I have no problem with pay once DLC, but any game which exchanges real world cash for consumables that need to be purchased again and again... Uggg!



Midnight3DS said:

It's just entertainment, with something for everyone. Nobody cares what you've played or accomplished, except yoursef.



Sanqet said:

ios is good for some things anyone remember the ds games touch detective 1&2 both great games both on ios for about £5 each and they play just as well as the ds originals i tried finding them for the ds after an article on here about a third game getting made for the 3ds and the cheapest was on amazon for about £25 so to find them on app store for that price was great ios gaming is not all bad its the same as any other console some good games some bad ones and as for being to simple remember where nintendo started with the game & watch you can't get anymore simple than that and look how good they are now ios is just getting started we will just have to wait to see if it just a fad or its here to stay



Yoshi3DS said:

The difference between playing on a phone and a real console is astounding in my opinion. even if i was playing ocarina of time, or mariokart 64, its just not the same, i wouldn't enjoy it.



coolvw93 said:

I personally do not like to play iOS games at all. The games just aren't fun for me. They aren't that hard and lose my attention. If I want to game on the go, that's what I got my 3DS for.



bezerker99 said:

Parent buys their kid a smart phone. Kid seems content playing smart phone games. Parents see the cost of these smart phone games starting at the low cost of $0.99. Thus parents see no need in buying a separate handheld gaming device or console and forking over $39.99+ for each game. The parent doesn't cares if the kid isn't honing their videogame skills. All they care about is getting that kid graduated and hopefully into college. Saving money is what it's all about in this awful economy. Just my 2 cents. Good article, Damo-bro.



unrandomsam said:

Anyone who can finish Gunstar Heroes or Any of the Metal Slug games decently on iOS with touchscreen controls will be much better with real controls. (It is much harder because you cannot pull of stuff that you normally can when you are surrounded so you have to have a good strategy the whole game to make sure that doesn't happen).



Obito_Sigma said:

As of the minute I write this comment, only 4% of the voters think that tablets and all that crap are the future of gaming. That is true how I am against Apple and sometimes Google. That's why I use Firefox and Bing as my search engine. I was born a year or two before the rise of the sixth generation of gaming. However, my first gaming device was a Game Boy Color. Therefore, I know a lot of folks my age who plays on Apple devices.

Everyone has an Apple, even my own siblings. Throughout my three years of Middle School, I found EVERY DAY somebody playing such a simple and mind-addicting game such as Subway Surfing or Jetpack Joy Ride. I have the music in my head, and it sucks. An endless loop of the same music every day, all the time. It's a good thing that they sucked at Nintendo games when I let some of them play my DS a few years back.



unrandomsam said:

iOS is getting real controls as of iOS7.

Android already has them (USB otg + 360 pad works for most of the proper games).

Xperia Play + emulators gives a better selection of stuff than the eshop that I want. (I hardly ever use it though because it is such a terrible phone).

Normal console games have the difficulty dumbed down completely anyway.

(It is nonsense to think modern kids couldn't play NES kind of difficulty. There is nothing inherently superior about kid's in that time and actually being able to finish games).

If anything modern games are catering to adults who never played games at all as kids. (Kid's are still learning and willing to put the time in to get good at stuff).

My friend finished the Zelda 2 : Adventure of Link as a 9 year old. (And I know he did because his dad was much further on than him but he finished it first whilst his dad was stuck on the part that requires real dexterity).

I finished games that are considered extremely difficult at the same age.



Klinny said:

I don't think the controls of touchscreen devices offer much in the way of depth or precision. However, I do think there is a potential for games that require skill on the touchscreen market, although they would require a different skillset than that of a console game which demands precision controls. There are many RPG and Strategy games that are challenging on a different level; you need to plan attacks effectively, use resources wisely, solve puzzles or find creative solutions to problems, etc.

When I was a kid, I would play games like Myst, Zork, etc. with my family in addition to games like Mario, Rock'N'Roll Racing, etc. For me, solving a particularly difficult puzzle offered the same sense of achievement as pulling off a tricky stunt in a regular game.

Anyways, I do believe that touchscreen gaming has the potential to offer a deep experience, if the game caters to the strengths of the technology. Unfortunately, as mentioned in the article, many touchscreen developers take advantage of the mainstream market to produce addictive gameplay that encourages users to pay extra in order to advance.



UnseatingKDawg said:

They can bring as many games as they want to tablets and phones and media players. While there are some good ones, many will never beat a console or dedicated handheld's games - that's the way I feel about it.



Bikeage said:

Maybe this guy's 5 year old should be spending more time playing with other kids and getting dirty outside than staring at a screen.



GuSolarFlare said:

games are games to me, regardless of platform as long as they are made with their respective platforms in mind there's no use for a complex fighting game like street fighter in a tablet(without modifications or accessories to help) but there are some games that simply won't feel right on a dedicated videogame(things like those social games where you tap like a fool just to wait a notification saying everything is ready for you to go tapping again!, hope someone finds a better example because everything else can be done in most videogames nowadays). I like those casual games on my phone for moments when I can't play my videogames, like now that my 3DS' R button is broken and my other videogames are somehow unplayable, or when I'm not home and the situation forces me to wait a long time(a really common and recurring situation since 3DS, not sure about the XL though, and pockets don't normally mix well)
edit I really like these bold characters but if it's anoying let me know so I can stop



sleepinglion said:

You nailed it with this article. I shared it via Facebook as you've put into words what I've struggled to say about tablet/smartphone gaming for so long.



unrandomsam said:

For Arcade style games I would rather use verticle orientation if it makes sense. Which would be much easier with an ipad turning it around than turning a tv on its side.

Metal Slug 3 and Blazing Star both support the icade. (Arcade style controls for ipad).

Meganoid with touchscreen plays like Mutant Mudds but more fun. Suppose it is better with the icade.

What I didn't realise until quite recently is Fruit Ninja is a rip off of a 5 second warioware touched game. (That is boring after 15 seconds but great for the first 5).



Ren said:

Thanks a million for this article, it's a wonderful read and makes perfectly comprehensive points from both sides.
I agree mostly and also think that this will change a little over time. The games mentioned are indeed pretty dumbed down especially with that tiny screen in mind but I think there will soon be a more solid place for gaming on those devices.
I think the industry is slowly merging mobile and home devices and I can't even imagine how apple would NOT soon release a device that will quickly allow you to send your mobile interface to a screen and sync it all including a better input device for more settled in gaming. It seems like it'd be in instant coup if there was an apple TV thing that could grab your mobile signal and also allow sync with a controller and/or keyboard. then it would allow apps to be deeper and more varied and act as the ultimate mobile computer. there must be something like it on the way, but who knows.
Nintendo has done a good job with the WiiU in that regard and is blazing a rough trail but not really good enough to compete where it should right now. Such a big shift happening right now, it'll be neat to see who's standing tallest a year from now and I can see a mobile device being right up there much as I lament the crappy shallow games.

Those crappy little games are kind of another genre, though. I think more of the deeper games will come when the interface options open up more and they will. Right now theres money to be made and it's pushing the tech forward fast which is good for the industry in general.



Captain_Balko said:

I'm scared for the future of gaming. I've tried gaming on the iPad, downloaded a bunch of games and tried them all out. Each held my attention for a short while before becoming redundant and turning me away. Although the fact that our new generation is growing up on games that require zero skill and can barely justify the label "interactive", and the very real possibility that gaming companies will pander to them instead of what many consider "true" gamers that play on dedicated platforms worries me to no end, it doesn't truly scare me.

What does, you may ask? Microtransactions... shudder

Suppose you live in a cold and bleak future where every time you die in a game of Mario, you're given the option to buy lives for 1.00$ a piece (or 100 for 50$), or maybe a power up for 0.50$, or to skip the level that you died at for 3.00$. And there are no more 1 up mushrooms anywhere, none in ? Blocks, and no reward for collecting 100 coins. The only option after a game over is to pay for more lives or wait a day for one.

Suppose we lived in a world where there were no rupees in the Legend of Zelda. All items must be bought at a shop with your real money. Want a shield? That'll cost you 2.50$. Have fun beating the first temple without one. And what about Smash Bros? Oh god, you say, NOT SMASH BROS! Yes, Smash Bros too. Every character save a handful you receive at the start of the game requires money to buy. The secret characters can only be unlocked through your wallet. Oh the humanity!

This world could be a reality if we don't stop this horrible disease that the wretched "casuals" have brought upon us. If you do not want the future to unfold this way, heed my words. Don't put your money towards tablet and smartphone gaming. It doesn't matter if you're a Nintendo fan like me, a PS fan, or an Xbox fan. Support your dedicated gaming company, and boycott the use of microtransactions. Do this, and we might be able to save gaming.



Ren said:

development costs have got to recede a little before micro transaction will go away, and if the console games are any indication there will only be more to come on consoles. It's a scary prospect but the dev costs keep going up and we want more free games; not the best situation.



Mahe said:

You need more skill or easier games to play finger-touch games because the control response is so bad. A stylus is pretty much required for proper touch screen gaming.



unrandomsam said:

There is also another thing to consider :

The best phone games are much better than the majority of DS and Wii games.

(So much absolute junk which seems to be the kind of stuff that actually stocks for Nintendo devices for whatever reason).



NightmareXIV said:

Playing iPad games only, and no console games for days or weeks makes me feel like I'm 3, and my parents bought me a game system to help me "learn" without fear of pinching my fingers between joysticks.

What I'm saying is he's right you won't believe how many times some little kid who only ever used tablets his whole life has come on to Super Smash Bros Brawl Online, and I didn't know they were little kids at first so naturally I wiped the floor with them.



NightmareXIV said:

Until they changed their taunt phrases between matches to things they could whine at me with....

....unfortunatley for them I'm not good at showing mercy on video games.



WYLD-WOO said:

Please........Can anyone name a good game on a mobile or tablet? I would rather get my old gameboy out and play that over the rubbish games out for my mobile or tablet.



GuSolarFlare said:

you just showed me a really twisted and horrible world where good games die because of a money machine..... I'd rather let gannon take over the world than to let this frightening image become true



unrandomsam said:

@Drop-Dead-Fred Super Hexagon / Meganoid / Stardash / Metal Slug 3 / Blazing Star / Raiden Legacy / R-Type / After Burner Climax / Crazy Taxi / Jet Set Radio./ Another World./ Sonic CD / Sonic 1 / Dragon's Lair.

Thing is you can get all them for probably half the price of one 3DS retail game.

(Those are all on Android iOS has a better selection and the icade with Android I just use a 360 pad which is supported out of the box with an otg adapter).



unrandomsam said:

iOS has all the genesis games at 1/5th of the cost of the wii virtual console no 50hz versions. The ipad has the right aspect ratio. Only thing they didn't have up to now is joystick support (Which will be added to iOS 7).

I used to hate Apple because of everything costing a fortune when it didn't need to but then I remembered Nintendo is just the same. (And a already have an Android tablet with all that stuff that I need (Or thought I needed)).

There will be a break even point for classic games I want. (That I didn't buy for the Wii due to 50hz). With them costing on average 1/5th of the price per game. (And having the right aspect ratio on the ipad which the Wii U doesn't have).

Major fault is the gamepad support but that is going to be sorted out.



unrandomsam said:

Microsoft and Sony both make phones also they are not dedicated games companies. (And their phone parts are both doing particularly badly).

Most of the Humble Android bundle stuff has been proper games.
(That Niaclis charges £10 for if it puts them on 3DS).

The Cave works pretty well on tablets.



XCWarrior said:

Mobile gaming I'm starting to think might really shrink console gaming. Look at Wii U's struggles, and expect the same from PS4 and Xboner. I can't imagine they are going to be a huge success when parents can now hand their kid an ipad with free games on it.

Things will be getting interesting in 2014.



Slapshot said:

Great article Damo!

I do agree that there are very likely a lot of newcomers getting a, well, bad start into "gaming," especially in comparison to us older gamers who grew up in the golden age of this industry. Hopefully, Apple's recent decision to allow official controllers for its devices will rectify some of this.

Then again, there are some truly fantastic games on mobile devices as well. The experience is indeed different, and usually not as immerse or long-lasting, but still fantastic nonetheless.



BlueNitrous said:

I can say that my generation of gamers has grown up to be a generation of wusses. I'm 14, and I find my self having some trouble with the puzzles in retro Zelda titles, even though I should be used to them by now. My friends constantly ask for help when they play a game at my house, even If the answer is clear. One thing I do not struggle with is my reflexes, and I can swing out precise strokes and quick combos at a decent pace, and whenever I do, I feel very accomplished. This might be because of most games I play having a fast pace; but I doubt thats the only reason. I can already tell that games are getting easier and easier, and that isn't always something I want.
I do hope that mobile gaming wont overtake any type of console, because unlike most people my age, I MUCH prefer a controller and buttons to a touch screen only game.



JaxonH said:

@Matthew94 Really? PC elitist propaganda? Controllers are precise. Very precise. Up is up, down is down, and an analogue joystick translates to just as wide a range of 360 degree movement as a mouse. It could be argued controllers are even MORE precise than mouse and keyboard because a mouse and keyboard uses A, S, W and Z for directional movement, or whatever 4 keys they are. Controllers are built from the ground up FOR precision, for that very purpose. Mouse and keyboard were built for typing and cruising the net. Input has simply adopted these devices for use as controls. But I don't see how a mouse and 4 keys, and another 20 keys for crouch, aim, run, etc, are a more precise input method. Especially because you can't hit commands in rapid succession like you can with a controller, where each digit is literally resting over the inputs ready to press at a millisecond's notice, providing MORE PRECISE PLAY. Furthermore, more cutting edge controllers such as the Wiimote and Nunchuk setup, provide more precise play than any input device ever conceived. Because it maintains all the precision of a controller with exact button locations ready for pressing in the blink of an eye, blended with the quick response of wrist action that the mouse is praised for. Gyro-enabled controllers as well, such as the Wii U gamepad. The gamepad utilizes all the strengths of precision a controller can offer, with dual stick analogue input, 4 ready-access face buttons, and 4 secondary shoulder buttons, blended with the precision of stylus and touch screen, and the precision and quick response wrist action that gyro offers- like when aiming down a high powered scope with the right analogue stick, and when almost lined up, supplementing the precision of target by a slight tilt of the gamepad to utilize the gyro function. I know a lot of people prefer play on mouse/keyboard, and that's fine- I completely respect others' preferences...but to go parading preferences as facts, saying a controller is not precise at all compared to keyboard and mouse is not only arrogant, it's ignorant.



Zombie_Barioth said:

I would definitely agree that newcomers are getting a bad introduction into gaming, but not because theres something inherently wrong with mobile gaming. They're just learning different skills than we did.

The problem with mobile games is you can't just slap a game like COD on an ipad and call it a day. They need to be made from the ground up for mobile devices, unless they're a type of game that already works well with touch controls. Games like Infinity Blade and World of Goo are good examples.

I don't think mobile gaming will completely take over, but if gamepads become an established part of it I could see people opting to connect their device to a TV and gamepad and playing that way in place of a console. There'd be a place for both touch-based games and plug n' play games.



SSSocky said:

I'm not sure about this article. No doubt games with traditional controls cannot be played skillfully on tablets. However I would say there are many games on mobile devices requiring thought and skill without needing the dexterity of manipulating a gamepad. There are lots of adventure games (Monkey Island series, The Walking Dead etc.) and strategy games (Xcom, Frozen Synapse etc.) on these platforms. Not to mention stuff like Word games (e.g Letterpress) and most RPG's could easily be controlled via touchscreen.



kereke12 said:

Mobile games waste your battery, You want touch screen gaming get yourself a Wii U. Which is better.



takyon98 said:

i think tablet and smartphone gaming is a good way to start as a indie developer cause ive gotten a great games for less than a buck on the app store or google play



banacheck said:

Thats what i hate about the Wii U and the GamePad touchscreen, and thats why i got a Pro controller. It tells me the Wii U is more for casuals players, where as Sonys PS4 is aimed at someone like me. Take the new Devil May Cry game, some people love it i think its awful and aimed at casual games. Which will not want to learn the combo's etc, could you see them enjoying DMC3 on the hardest difficulty? no. And not only that thay dropped the fps from 60fps to 30fps, and it shows but a casual player wouldn't know the difference between the two.



Zodiak13 said:

I haven't found a good mobile game yet. I agree that those games are easy. I have 2 guys in my shop who play Angry Birds religiously and are always going on about there high scores. 2nd try after figuring out what to do I beat their high score on whatever level I was playing. Beat their high scores on the next 3 I played to. Unimpressive since I consider myself mainly an RPG gamer these days and I don't play any games like Angry Birds. Good article.



FriedSquid said:

Ha! The poll results are pretty typical opinion, especially for this site... If you want mobile games that test skill, there are puzzle games and many more, like tactical games, RPGs, etc., just look at Infinity Blade! Not to mention that there are official ports of games like Street Fighter, Mega Man, Final Fantasy, Sonic and more to the mobile devices. And certainly not EVERY game on mobile is money-eating. I've bought the Tetris game on my iPod and it doesnt ask for my money. Mostly, the only time you have apps deliberately forcing you to pay more money are the cheap, free ones. Yet, 83% of users on this site would blow $40 on the same Mario game over and over again.



WiiLovePeace said:

Games are games are games are games. A good game is a good game no matter what platform it's on. As for me Nintendo make the games that I enjoy the most, hence I'm a Nintendo fan. Although I haven't spent enough time with a touch-screen only device to judge them as I don't own any myself (I still have my good ol' brick phone with buttons for numbers). I don't really think about building skills when I'm playing games either, I just play them for the fun of playing them



NeoZuko said:

When I was five I was playing Atari games, when I was in third grade I was beating hard donkey NES games like crazy and arcade games like Double Dragon on one quarter, by the time I got to the SNES I was a pro. The games today are not nearly as hard. I was recently playing some 8-Bit Super Mario Bros. and Mega Man games and I was like "man this is hard." I'm a bit out of shape!! Sometimes I want that feeling of growth over mastering hard gameplay, but sometimes I want to relax into a game but still be challanged. I played The Last of Us on normal and found it just right if a tad too easy (I never ran out of bullets). But that was a game I wanted to enjoy the atmosphere and relax in it (relatively). But for a Mario game, I want challenge of the likes of SMB3, but not SMB Lost Worlds stupid hard. But I don't want way too easy NSMB either. It's a fine balance that Nintendo has been moving the scale towards easy for years now. I was excited to hear about hard DLC for Luigi in New Super Luigi U.



DeltaPeng said:

Some games work better w touchscreen n others w buttons. I find buttons are better for more precise control, but touchscreen is better for menu or muliple choice type selections. I think the DS systems are incredible for merging the two, and the dual screens lend themselves well to this as well (stylus for precise touch controls, dual screen to prevent visual impairment from touch input).



kurtasbestos said:

@JaxonH Very well said. I can think of many, many games that I've played over the years that require precision and fast reflexes that would be just plain aggravating with a mouse and/or keyboard.



erv said:

sigh... will people ever learn that this interaction model is just different? Different is good. It has potential. The app store has some great games. And yes, lots and lots of crappy ones. It's a jungle, and usually lacks the immersion of any thing even remotely close to nintendo fun.

But that doesn't make it a bad gaming platform at its core. It's just different, and sadly often badly executed. Now play tiny troopers and enjoy the quality.



gingerbeardman said:

There are deep and engaging games on mobile, much as there are shallow and boring games on consoles. Our job is to pick the better games, those we'll enjoy playing, and let the poor ones die off.

There are many one button games on a range of platforms - GBA, Wii, smart phones - that define the concept of minimal control that are supremely deep. MaBoShi being my favourite on console, and Cut the Rope being my favourite on mobile.

As for pre-iPhone gaming, I had some real greats on my old Sony Ericsson phone. Tower Bloxx was a fantastic one button block stacking puzzle game. Vijay Singh 3D was a superb 3D polygonal golf game that is up there with the greatest simulation-style golf games of all time in my experience, somewhere between Microprose Golf and Links 2004. Both of those received sequels (Vijay was renamed Real Golf) with better graphics on modern smart phones, but their core gameplay remained unchanged.

So, my point: platform doesn't matter. Our own choice of game does. We should choose wisely, as the future of gaming will be defined by us.



TheAdza said:

While I am not a big fan on tablet style touchscreen games, the mark its leaving on the industry as a whole, or the shallowness of most of the stuff available, I believe it has a place. For someone like myself, who isn't the most capable of gamers when it comes to twitch inputs and memorising moves lists and the like, games like turn based RPGs and strategy games have been my choice of game styles, while still enjoying the easy modes of most platformers and racers and action games, nearly all genres except for 1st person shooters. I just can't do it. I can't move and look around and aim and shoot in a 3D space without a point of reference like 3rd person games and/or a lock on feature. It's just beyond my ability. Most Mario games kick my butt. DKC games really kick my butt. I am so glad now that we have features like the super guide. Now this lack of skill isn't from being brought up on tablet or phone games. I grew up on Sega and Nintendo. I just could never play as well as others. Now I think I can get a lot of enjoyment out of games these days more than I used to growing up. But being not so good at some games hasn't steered me toward smartphone gaming. It steered me toward my first DS, and more casual kind of games such as Space Channel 5, Eyetoy, DDR, Buzz, Singstar, etc over the years. And right now I feel more at home with Nintendo consoles than any other, with Sony home consoles close behind. I tried Kinect on the 360. I have nothing nice to say about Microsoft console gaming so I won't say anything at all.

I guess my point is, while some get pleasure and satisfaction from having their skilled tested, others like myself can be put off when no matter how hard I try I just can't do something, it's beyond my ability, and therefore give up on the game because all progress through said game hinges on being able to dial up the correct sequence of button presses at the correct time or else. It doesn't make me any less a gamer than anyone else. Obviously I am less skilled, but if someone gets enjoyment out of swiping a screen as opposed to dpad and button pressing, who is anyone to tell them that its wrong? Certainly not me. And not the author of this piece.



Trikeboy said:

I just downloaded the Jurassic Park episode 1 on my iPad today and have finished it within an hour. The game is just tapping and swipping at the screen. You have to be fast but OMG, it was not engaging. Telltale's revival of Monkey Island was so good and entertaining but that was a seriously dumbed down game. Jurassic Park on the SNES was better.



chiptoon said:

Since it seems relevant to the discussion - you should all give Fleet of One a go.

disclaimer: I designed it. I think it takes a certain amount of skill. But the nature of the touch screen means that controls had to be kept very simple. Would love to know what any of you think about it.



JulienIsTheMan said:

I'm actually a child of this generation, and I absolutely HATE touch screen games on mobile. Mostly, I play all kinds of Nintendo games, Minecraft and I bought Civ 5 yesterday. I think if you're going to call yourself a gamer, don't say it because you play Minecraft PE and played one or two console games in your life... Believe me, people do that, especially tween girls in my school.



Matthew94 said:

@JaxonH The accuracy of a mouse cannot be argued with, it's pure fact. Prepare to get destroyed.

Do you ever wonder why twitch shooters like Quake and Tribes never came to consoles? It's because people couldn't handle them with controllers.

Seriously, you can use a controller on PC. Download those games, they're free. You wouldn't get a single kill with a controller.

With a controller you simply push the analogue stick in the direction and you have to wait, that's a huge delay. With the mouse you have instant feedback, at any speed and you move the mouse to exactly where you need it. This is the crux of the argument. The controller is not 1:1 feedback, you have to hold it and wait, with the mouse the arm provides all the movement and there is no delay, YOU set the rate of movement, not the controller.

This is why modern games on console have auto-aim, have no vertical gameplay and are extremely slow. Arena shooters nearly died off because console kids couldn't handle them.

You complain about buttons. If you put your hand in the traditional WASD area, you have 21 buttons that can be accessed easily (going from q - r), more if you include 5,t,g,v which are easily accessed.

On a 360 controller you have 16 buttons total.

No, it is your ignorance that is embarrassing

MS was going to have cross platform play but in a contest between the best console players and medicore PC players, the console players got wrecked every time..

Also, the Wiimote is not more accurate. The thing has delay and tracking issues. You also only have about 7 buttons for easy access (A,B, Down,+,- and the 2 on the Nunchuck), the rest you have to stretch your hand to access.

So there you have it. Controllers have their place, with games like driving games and third person shooters that don't require accuracy.

But don't go around spouting poopoodoodoocacapoodles like a controller is more accurate, you'll just look like a fool.



unrandomsam said:

@LzQuacker Well seen as both Microsoft and Sony are fairly into the whole phone thing. Nintendo is the only one out of the three who is not in the phone market at all. (Sony phones are utter garbage though for their main function - I have an Xperia Play it is quite good for the games that were made specifically for it has physical controls etc. It is a useless phone though)

(MIcrosoft wants Windows Phone to succeed / Sony wants its Xperia Line to do well).

Sony has Playstation Mobile and the Xperia Play (Which it hates).

Microsoft has some fairly good internally developed stuff on Windows Phone.

The Harvest is a pretty good game on Windows Phone.

If you don't want to support this at all the only option is NIntendo.



kyuubikid213 said:

I just prefer buttons over a pure touch experience because I can be more precise with those. Every controller I've ever held has been kind enough to realize my hands grow over time and having an actual button to press while giving my hands something substantial to hold on to makes it enjoyable to play a game.

Touch screens on the other hand can't tell where I want to place my big, fat, meaty fingers. My hands are pretty average in size and my fingers aren't fat, but more precise inputs (and small touch icons) are hard for me to do. And other times if I don't swipe in juuuust the right way, the device won't recognize I wanted to jump and I plummet to my doom.

I like the Wii U and 3DS setup. I have a stylus for precise inputs and buttons so I don't have to bother with some nonsense.

On an unrelated note, I find analog sticks just as accurate as a mouse or a stylus. Don't know how one is better than the other. I do just as well in Kid Icarus when I use buttons over the stylus. I still do well in Black Ops II when I use the GamePad versus the Wiimote. And I have a few PC shooters (Team Fortress 2) and I do alright on those...



AJWolfTill said:

I have little respect for the app game industry, but there are products I enjoy (cut the rope, alchemy and Nightjar). Regarding true gaming experiences, Didn't the ios version of The world ends with you actually get better reviews than the Ds version? Also I haven't played the IOS version but Ghost trick and the first phoenix Wright are on the appstore, both great games which should work fine with touch input alone.



crazyj2312 said:

I don't think mobile gaming is the sole cause of many gamers not getting skills for hardcore gaming. There are a decent number of hardcore games on the app store. The thing is gaming as a whole has gotten a lot more "user friendly" to get more people to play. The downside is that a lot of the games dedicated to delivering the kind of gaming experience everyone is so used to are being shafted or ignored in favor of what's popular in the crowd of casual gamers. That isn't the casual gamer's fault; spending two dollars to play an app store game isn't going to trample on the market and leave a bloody note saying "so long to hardcore gaming". It's just that the mainstream is changing to satisfy those short term consumers rather than the long term, relegating the once dominant hardcore players to the back seat and into a niche.

I think that's what a lot of the 'hardcore gamers' are mad about, just the idea that the market has been put on easy mode.




This article is pure gold. This states ALL my problems with mobile games and the casual market. It's a necessary evil, mind you, cause casuals are where the AAA revenue comes from, but at the same time, it's dumbing down gaming. Now when I find a fellow person that says "I play games", the question is "Is he a gamer or a 'gamer'"?

If someone says they play games, but all they got to show for it are mobile apps and Candy Crush, it crushes me on the inside a tad. =/



Polaris said:

I will never pick the trash on iphone/android market such as angry birds over a real handheld of console games. Those little dinky minigame-style games are being sold for a little too much imo. They just don't match up to the quality and effort put into games on actual consoles in my opinion.



GreenDream said:

To me, a "casual gamer" is someone who only plays games for a few minutes/hours here and there, but not consistently. A "hardcore gamer" is anyone who consistently plays any games for at least several hours every week. A "nongamer" is someone who only occasionally plays games with their friends, but otherwise doesn't play them. The type of game is not important, if it's any type of game at all, they are a "gamer".

As for the specific type of game, I would consider a "casual game" one that can be taught how to play it within an hour, come back to it a week later, and still be no less worse for the wear. I would consider a "hardcore game" one that might take several hours to completely learn all the basic concepts, but might still offer insights that you did not know about weeks after your first play time, because you learned a great new trick, or new skill pattern. (From a first timer's perspective)

For example, Baldur's Gate can be considered "hardcore", because whether it is played on PC or tablet/phone, it is a complex game that cannot be learned within a few hours- you absolutely need many hours worth of play time to fully understand and enjoy it. On the other hand, Super Mario Bros. can be considered "casual", because even though you can certainly get better at the game and achieve amazing feats of skill, doing so is not necessary to learn how to fully play and enjoy the game within an hour. (From a first timer's perspective)

Regardless of the hardware or control scheme, I would say that "casual" or "hardcore" is defined not by platform, genre, or difficulty, but rather by time investment, goal planning, and game design patterns.



GreenDream said:

Granted, I do think a DS/3DS XL using either a pen stylus or a thumb stylus, depending on the game, does solve a lot of control scheme problems between the Game Boys, PSP's, PS Vita's, and tablet/phones. They don't rely on one single method of controls (Game Boy/PSP), get confused about what they really are (Vita), or haphazardly insert traditional control schemes into an untraditional interface (Tablet/Phone).

Using a variety of handheld tools, the DS/3DS gives the best of both worlds: digital and tactile. (With the 3DS adding analog that doesn't risk getting harmed when you've jogged/biked with it in your pocket for over 2 million steps, without needing a protective system case just to pocket it safely!)



GreenDream said:

Interestingly enough, the 2D/3D Mario Bros. series and Angry Birds series are both what I would consider "casual" titles. You can fully learn to play any of them within an hour, and be no less worse for the wear after a week of not playing. Whereas the Metroid series, Zelda series, Card Battler type games, or even Tower Defense games could be considered "hardcore" due to the considerable amount of time needed to fully understand and enjoy them. (From a first timer's perspective)



GreenDream said:

I'm not sure "talentless" is the best term to blanket upon mobile platforms... Certain popular so-called "core" series such as Call of Duty (casual posing as hardcore), Grand Theft Auto (schizophrenia fest), Wii Sports (arguably), God of Quicktime (War), and World of Warcraft (now, not in the past), are all "talentless" in that they require no significant skill to succeed, just time investment. However, their goal planning is no better than a tablet/phone game's, and their game design patterns do not promote a robust learning environment.

They all do what they do well, don't get me wrong, but good teachers of various talents they are not. And no, I don't consider running a Guild in the World of Warcraft of today a talent- though I definitely consider running a Dynamis / Hard Notorious Monster Linkshell in the old version of Final Fantasy 11 a talent.



Henmii said:

I don't know since I don't have a tablet or smart-phone, but I find it hard to believe that ALL the tablet/smart-phone games are easy-peasy!! There MUST be some harder games, that require a different skill (devious puzzles that flex your brain, instead of frantic button usage)!



SwerdMurd said:

it's a different beast. The challenge has always varied pretty considerably depending on game type as well.

These new games are games in name only. They're clever ways to allow people to engage with one another, while encouraging people to spend money on ways to improve or personalize their experience. Comparing them to Megaman is a waste of time... Idk, social games are precisely that - they're chat rooms w/ an assortment of tasks to complete and built-in "show off" trophycase-typed things. I think the issue people take is that they're called games, rather than entertainment products or something similar.



sdcazares1980 said:

As much as I prefer to play on consoles than on my iPhone, I'm picking up a sense of elitism, entitlement, and scapegoating in this article. It is really not our call on what games should be available. It is of course your opinion that you don't consider many of the mobile and tablet games to "produce talent", but even the generation before us complained about the video game generation that we are now as "lazy", "unproductive", "fat", "inactive", etc. History is somehow repeating itself, and we're sounding like old grandpas here.

But consider this: mobile and tablet gaming is much cheaper, and as long as that is the rule, then that's what most parents and even some budget-minded gamers would go for. It's a little unfair that you characterize them as "not being challenged enough" when they have enough challenges in their own lives as it is, being the majority of the time is OUTSIDE OF GAMING, GOD FORBID!

If the console generation is to survive, then there has to be enough demand and money for it. If not, well, it was fun while it lasted, but there is always mobile gaming.



Matthew94 said:

@JaxonH Great comeback, its fair to say I've won, don't feel bad. Like I said, controllers are fun but its a joke to say that they are precise.

That Microsoft experiment settled the debate years ago.



GreenDream said:

@Matthew94 Games that are more comfortable or more precise with a controller over keyboard + mouse:

most 2D platformers (especially Rayman Legends) with the exception of games like Trine, pretty much every 3D platformer ever (especially mascot / character titles), pretty much every racing or car battler game ever, pretty much every 3rd person action RPG ever, fast paced aiming puzzlers like Bust-A-Move (I DARE YOU to try playing Bust-A-Move precisely with a mouse)...

Need I go on? Keyboard + mouse is great, but it's less comfortable for a lot of things...



Matthew94 said:

@GreenDream Yeah, I said it was better for some things, racing games was mentioned. Analogue movement is a great boost to it but it's idiotic to say the mouse isn't more precise.

I just had a look at BAM, how could you not play that accurately with a mouse and keyboard? Use the mouse 99% of the time then use arrow keys when you need to line things to the exact pixel, just like in Peggle.

TPS, FPS, RTS, MOBA, Sim games like Theme Hospital, Games like Super Hexagon, Tower Defence, Adventure games, RPGs, ARPGs, MMOs, I could go on...

Saying a 3rd person RPG game is better on a controller is bull. Movement isn't key in that game, it's aiming and in some, item management. Those things are much better with a mouse. Ever wonder why the much better grid inventory has pretty much died off these days? Controllers.

Compare Morrowinds great inventory to oblivion and weep, that was the result of controllers.



GreenDream said:

@Matthew94 Agreed on your points, mouse + keyboard is better than a controller for many types of games. Especially many types of CRPG's and first person perspective games. Definitely a good point about Oblivion going downhill from Morrowind! As for BAM, I'm really bad at puzzle games xD



mjc0961 said:

@Matthew94 Actually I think you're missing a good part of your argument by conceding that racing games are better with a controller. You mentioned fight pads being better over controllers for fighting games, which is a valid point. For driving/car racing games, they make wheels to use in place of controllers for better accuracy and immersion. So for yet another genre, controllers are once again not the best option.

Controllers pretty much beat touch screens because they have actual physical inputs. Give me an analog stick over one of those awful touch screen slidey fake stick things any day, and give me buttons over tapping the screen. Touch screens are okay for games that don't require anything precise. Something like Professor Layton or Ace Attorney where you just scroll through text, then click stuff on the environment, then scroll through more text. But for anything that's action based in any way, I want at minimum a gamepad so I can actually push real buttons and use analog sticks in place of sloppy touch screen swipes and jabs that frequently fail to recognize your inputs.

And I hate it more on DS, 3DS, and Vita where they ruin games like Kirby's Mass Attack, Uncharted Golden Abyss, and LittleBigPlanet by forcing you to use inaccurate touch screen nonsense even though THERE'S BUTTONS RIGHT THERE LET ME USE THEM SO I HAVE SOME ACCURACY AAAAAUUUUUUGHHHH!!!



JaxonH said:

@Matthew94 I've already made my point, there's no point repeating it- I can't win a debate against your preferences. Controllers are as accurate as your skill allows. I'm not trying to say they're better, or more precise (the example given previously was simply food for thought, to demonstrate the types of precision offered in current gen controllers)- I'm simply stating that controllers are not these wildly imprecise input devices that you would have everyone believe they are. The keyboard can't be argued for, it's the mouse that I assume you advocate, am I right? Ok, it's only logical that the precision attained through a mouse would increase as the range of movement input increases, whereas a controller's joystick has a much smaller range of movement to translate in-game (and therefore much smaller degrees of movement are used as opposed to a mouse with low sensitivity). Yes, I'll give you that- it's science and cannot be argued. However, if you consider the fact that all games offer sensitivity options (well, most anyways), the ratio of input movement to in-game output movement can vary widely depending on the individual's preferences. The more highly skilled a player is, the higher the sensitivity can be set, along with a faster response time. Another point I'd like to bring to your attention is analogue vs digital. You mentioned that racing games are one genre that generally would play better on a controller. But I'd like to remind you that it's not only racing games that use analogue input. Many games of a variety of genres use analogue input for directional movement, via the left analogue joystick. With mouse and keyboard, this is not possible using simple keys for movement. So there are games on both sides of the fence which benefit from each control method. I think it boils down to this: Yes, certain games will definitely benefit from a mouse/keyboard setup, but others will benefit from a controller (ex Would Skyward Sword have worked with a mouse and keyboard?). And while technically you may be right (for certain games anyways), I think generally speaking even if the controllers are less precise the amount is negligible.



Matthew94 said:


>says he won't repeat himself
>repeats himself

Also dude, use paragraphs, I just skimmed that wall 'o text. If you seriously think that the difference between a mouse and controller is negligible then you are downright ignorant.

Watch a minute of this and retract your statement. From the ridiculously fast aiming, to the speed of the player running around and the instant weapon switching between 9 guns, you can easily see how much better the M&K is. There is no way in hell you could do this on a controller.



JaxonH said:

Ok, now it seems like you're getting angry that I won't accept your opinion as fact. You commented "what, no comeback". The fact I did not want to repeat myself was my explanation as to why that was. I expounded upon my previous statement- I did not repeat it. You're missing the entire point.

I just pointed out entire genres of games where controllers hold their own against a mouse and keyboard, and one where it wouldn't even be POSSIBLE on a mouse and keyboard, and you completely ignored every bit of it, and instead threw insults at my writing habits.

There was no need to show the video. Obviously, shooters are the crux of your argument. And of course you pick the video of the professional to make your point. I could find videos of professionals using controllers as well, but I'm not going to because I will secede the point on shooters. But shooters aren't the only kind of games we play, as I made very clear above.

The biggest drawback to the argument that mouse and keyboard is more precise is the fact you only have four directional inputs. Four. And you're telling me that's more precise than full 360 degree anologue control? Really? Oh but wait, shooters can be played faster. So that must not matter, right?

Precision is the act of being spot on- the ability for the user's inputs to translate perfectly to intended in-game movement. Platformers don't benefit from mouse and keyboard- as a matter of fact, 3D platformers using analogue input for directional movement would be greatly hindered. Racing games would be greatly hindered. And the ones that wouldn't would be no better off.

Games like Nano Assault Neo would be crippled with mouse and keyboard, Skyward Sword would be broken completely, and games like Super Mario Galaxy or Bayonetta would be clumsy at best. I can list MANY more games where the mouse/keyboard would fail to provide the level of precision given by a controller, but I think my point is clear. Again, I will secede the point on shooters. But there is so much more to gaming than that.

This is a debate that has been argued for years, and still rages on today, with a split right down the middle between PC and console gamers. Are you trying to tell me they should hold the noise, you've finally won this age-old argument? I think not.

In my first post I told you that parading your preferences as fact was not only arrogant, it's ignorant, and I stand by that. You can use my own words all you want back at me- it adds nothing to your argument. You can even get mad and insult me, if that's what you want to do. I'm growing tired of arguing a point I can't win. I've seceded the point on shooters (and perhaps even games like X-Com for example), but you refuse to acknowledge when the mouse and keyboard's shortcomings are on display.

You refuse to accept that four directional keys ARE NOT more precise than 360 degree analogue input. You refuse to acknowledge the advances made in motion gaming (dismissing it with tracking issues, even though WiiMotion Plus fixed the problem, or didn't you get the memo?), and refuse to recognize what gyro controls bring to the table as far as precision (a skilled player could be just as precise with motion OR gyro as a mouse and keyboard). Discussing this further will neither benefit you nor me. Let's move on.



Matthew94 said:

@JaxonH You obviously no nothing if you think Quake players use high sensitivity. They use low sensitivity and large arm movements to be able to get much more control over shots. This is impossible on controllers as there is only 1 turning speed.

>You refuse to accept that four directional keys ARE NOT more precise than 360 degree analogue input.

No I didn't, I said it's better at some genres, I agreed with your racing example. I disagreed with some of your examples as it's just as good in some games.

>dismissing it with tracking issues, even though WiiMotion Plus fixed the problem, or didn't you get the memo

Except M+ still has issues and will often go out of sync, need to be set down and recalibrated.

>a skilled player could be just as precise with motion OR gyro as a mouse and keyboard

That's why you see all the Pro CS players using gyro controls


All you need to do is look at the Pro PC scene where you can use a controller as well as KB&M to see that KB&M is outright better.

You're hilariously ignorant.



JaxonH said:

@Matthew94 Ok, well thank you for at least responding to my points that time, even if I don't agree with it. You can't dismiss Wiimote/Nunchuk just because it will occasionally need to be recalibrated (I played through Metroid Prime 3 and can't remember recalibrating once). And just because a control setup is not POPULAR, doesn't make it's precision any less valid. Perhaps we will start seeing more pro players using motion and/or gyro in the coming years...? And perhaps I am a bit ignorant of the mouse and keyboard, but no more than you're ignorant of current gen controllers. Let's leave it at that.



Darkness3131 said:

I do play mobile games, and I think there is a spot for them, but I think there is a prominent part of me that still likes the feel of a controller.



valcoholic said:

mobile games may create that generation because they appeal to people who wouldn't play otherwise. but in the end, they'll create some new hardcore gamers as well. the market we are speaking about is not about tens of millions, but about hundreds of millions of people. of course most of them will suck at gaming as common people do. but if there's only 5% of players who start thinking getting more into gaming after starting on a tablet device, then there are gonna be enough great gamers sooner or later who grew up with mobile devices.

PLUS not every touch device game is necessarily a bad game. There are really (I mean really) good and original games out there. just because every idiot is alowed to publish a game there, it doesn't mean everything has to be bad. Check out Osmos for iOS for example. I'd totally buy the first game on the WiiU eShop that is delivering such a nice experience. Or Sword & Sworcery EP.
The only thing mobile games are really lacking is a proper orientation for what's hot and what's not. There are a bunch of websites for that, but none of these are really into what would be a console-like gaming experience on a mobile device. I'd love to see something like that coming up.

The point is, mobile devices got their strengths and weaknesses as every platform does. There actually are Genres that are more fun to play on a tablet, than a home console. For example Telltale's The Walking Dead. The way this game works and how it's focused on interactive storytelling is perfect for playing it on a tablet before going to bed or when you're on vacation somewhere. It's like the 21st century version of reading books. While all games that are ports of console games coming with virtual buttons are total crap.



mamp said:

Actually I believe even console games are making a generation of talentless players. I understand the input controls aren't as simple as the ones on tablets but it takes more than controls in order for something to be complex. Consoles nowadays are trying so hard to get anyone to play any of their games that they make games too easy to the point that anyone can just pick it up and play. I believe talent takes a lot of work and it has some challenge to it that console games nowadays don't offer. I'd love to hear anyone say that games are harder now than what they used to be in the old days but you'll hardly hear that because we all know it's not true.



Mauhiho said:

I really hate mobile games. Boring, not challaging and most of all.. just stupid.
I have a few on my iPhone (I only got that phone because I want to make fast pictures with its camera lol) but I barely play them. My iPhone is blocked from buying anything new in the store but I don't honestly don't care about that haha. Maybe its for the better.



Ralizah said:

Touchscreens are great at enhancing gameplay, but by and large I don't enjoy using them as my primary means of control. One of the best things about the 3DS is that it has de-emphasized the importance of touch control due to the introduction of 3D as the console's innovation. We'll thankfully never get another fully-touch controlled Kirby or Zelda game again!



thuggie1 said:

to be honest i think in the end most people see how bad half of these tablet games are, the android and ios game designers ether just copy old games and new one as well or they make little puzzle games with very little charm.
also to say that it allows indie games reconsecration is a farce, the stores are not geared towards gaming most of the time they make the tablets crash/ over heat every 5 min, they drain the batteries very quikly and there is less originality in most of the games titles than the need for speed franchises, but i may add need for speed is more fun to play. they have real bad control systems and most are designed to take money off you.
take that candy crush saga they make the game the unforgiving every five levels or so that most people i know will pay up to £25 to get past them also you have to pay to advance through stages and they say it free to play.

i think all these tablet games are is 3rd rate trash there to bleed the bank balance and there free games have as much charm as looking at a brick

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