Mobiles: An App-t medium for gaming?

Jack Coles and Jamie Cameron enter into a clash royale over gaming on-the-go.

Jack Coles
5th December 2016
Image Credits: Rovio, Wikimedia Commons

Jack Coles: For

The smartphone is rarely my go-to form of entertainment. Usually, I play on my computer, or borrow my sister’s PS3, or just stare into the void and have an existential crisis. Having said that, I like mobile games for what they are – short, snacky chunks of entertainment to be consumed in odd little moments between three-course meals of Skyrim, The Witcher, and Doom.

What I like best about mobile games is that they are mobile (as you might expect). I have a six-hour journey when travelling from Newcastle to my parents’ house, and I can’t put my desktop on the seat next to me as it’s usually a reserved seat on a Virgin train and the ticket inspector would have a fit. The laptop is not much better, as it has the processing power of a goldfish. This is also assuming that I have access to a power outlet on the train at all.

Usually, a mobile game isn’t as in-depth as most games, but there are some exceptions. The Room, for example, is a surprisingly detailed puzzle game with a mysterious backstory and even more mysterious ending. Fallout Shelter is an extensive spin-off of the Fallout series where resource management and strategic room placement are more important than being able to aim. XCOM Enemy Unknown (and yes, maybe I will marry XCOM, shut up) is available on smartphone.

Obviously, those more advanced games benefit more from being on a tablet than a smartphone. And yes, smartphones when playing games are about as reliable as Hilary Clinton’s track record. And maybe they are to blame for the microtransaction culture that permeates modern gaming like a metastasised cancer. But overall, they’re great, because I’m sick to death of committing Sudoku on the train.

Jamie Cameron - Against

Let me just remind you that life is terrifyingly short. Furthermore, it’s at least somewhat risky to gamble on an afterlife. In light of this, its cute you’re still spending your limited time reading this, I appreciate that. This also means however that mobile gaming is a waste of valuable minutes (hours/days/years) that could be spent on vastly deeper and more rewarding PC and console gaming.

In explanation of my point, let me ask some rhetorical questions. Does mashing together jellybeans on a small screen ever get any better? What are you actually doing? What does any of this mean? Hasn’t there got to be something more inspiring? Now all of this could be said for gaming or life as a whole, I concur, but we should at least endeavour to enjoy ourselves as much as we can, and mobile gaming is on the whole repetitive, lacking meaningful conclusions, and basic.

The hardware you’re working with is very limited compared to its competition, and the higher investment that goes into larger games also provides PC and consoles with more rich and varied experiences, such as complex plots and writing, sharp and life-like graphics, and in-depth strategy and planning. The mental nourishment, the possible value of the experience, is on the whole greater when you move away from mobile gaming.

So yes, avoid pesky mobile games. They’re void of everything truly lovely about gaming in 2016 – story, deep gameplay, and a real sense of community that lasts longer than fucking Flappy Bird ever could have. Time’s running out, so go play Metal Gear Solid.

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