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An App a Day - Mobile Gaming 10 Years On

11 May 2017

Since the dawn of apps – the clock to get us out of bed, the notepad to write our lists and plans, the phone and the text message app to keep us connected – have we considered every need for our day-to-day lives. That’s why it wasn’t long before the first mobile gaming app was invented in August 2007 for the iPhone. Lights Out involved toggling squares on a grid to try to turn all the lights out – touching squares toggled nearby lights, and gameplay grew more difficult.

The success of Lights Out saw it make a comeback to modern phones, with added levels, internet connectivity, and bonus features. Lights Out was invented even before the arrival of the App Store in 2008. Before then, mobile gaming came in the form of content nuggets – wallpaper, ringtones, and small videos – which sapped money from the attached card and resulted in a desperate flurry of taps on the exit button whenever the SMS portal was launched. The App Store revolutionized mobile gaming by providing a viable platform. And then people began downloading.


Mobile gaming makes use of the mobile as not just a tool to play the game on, but a tool to use in the game. While the touchscreen is a given on gameplay, Super Monkey Ball from Sega involved rolling a monkey about and made full use of the iPhone’s tilting screen. By adapting the game to feature the specific features of one of the smartphones on the market, iPhone users were more inclined to play a game only they could play. A more recent example would be Pokémon Go, which utilized the smartphone’s location and interconnectivity features to literally take over the world in 2016.

Mobile gaming have also brought traditional games back into the limelight. It is the case for the likes of chess, puzzles and card games such as blackjack. For instance, Microgaming has developed a mobile version of the classic Atlantic City Blackjack variant, which dates back from 1976. Players can get a realistic simulation of holding, betting and doubling down and try multiple betting options. With the Chess Free app from AI Factory, players can test their skills against hundreds of others worldwide, learn more with a tutor and try one of the 120 chess programs.

The improvement in gameplay also sets mobile gaming ahead of the Nokia Snake days. Angry Birds began as a simple game of tossing birds at towers of pigs to try to crush them all. As developments came through, the levels grew harder, and fans chastised the gameplay for being too difficult (or maybe their birds just weren’t angry enough). By adding a skill to the game, the game transcended being a ‘game’ and became a mission to defeat the pigs.

The graphics available on a smartphone nowadays also showcase the benefits of mobile gaming. Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions showcases the best of the best when it comes to graphics. The game’s feature is that it is in HD 3D and the graphics don’t disappoint the gaming. With the introduction of VR technology, there really will be no limit to mobile gaming. Look at the progress of the first decade of mobile gaming – and get ready for the next one.

Last modified on Thursday, 11 May 2017 19:47

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