Games, like any form of entertainment, are subjective. One man’s epic is another man’s tedium. In days past, there was never a huge amount of options to choose from; one routinely found oneself stuck playing Pong, like it or not. These days, the gaming industry is massive, and covers a whole load of different platforms, from Playstations and Switches to Xboxes and DSes. But the major gaming platform to emerge in the last five years has come from left field; for better or worse, it’s the smartphone.
Smartphone gaming is currently being taken very seriously by all the major gaming companies, as each looks to make a transition to the dominating handheld platform. Of course, most of these companies already have in some form or another; it only takes a few minutes to download a port of a classic Final Fantasy game, or battle some time away with a friend on the enduring beat-em-up Street Fighter.
The problem with smartphone gaming as it stands in 2017 is that there are simply too many out there for players to make informed decisions on. The quality of a game doesn’t always shine through; some of the most hyped smartphone games are garbage, and some more obscure ones are absolute gold. A player can’t sample them all (unless they’re really committed), so it becomes problematic to separate the bad from the good, and the good from the truly great.
Independent developers are crucial to the smartphone scene, but many of the games that players consider truly great come from ports of already established franchises. Current heavy hitters on both Android and iPhone consist of Mario Run, a new take on a platforming classic, Pokemon Go, Grand Theft Auto Vice City, and Square Enix RPGs. These are all great examples of games, but most of them were great games long before smartphones were ever on the scene.
Because of the constant internet connection, developers can do so much with smartphone gaming; from placing a bet through any means or devices to massively multiplayer epics, everything is there for the taking. Indie developers need to ‘up their game’ so to speak, and allow their products to enter the conversation of ‘truly great’ smartphone games. There are undoubtedly great games out there, so if you find one, don’t be afraid to let the world know!