Gaming in smartphones continue to impress me

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from  Kansas City, MO
| March 22, 2014


Just the other day I wrote an article on why I think the PC isn’t dying. Among the reasons I gave on why I felt it wasn’t dying, gaming was one of them. I’ve mentioned on more than one occasion that I enjoy gaming, but just in case you hadn’t known before now, I’ll throw it out there again: I like gaming. My first console is a Nintendo, and currently the latest console I have in my house is a Wii U (a broken Wii U, but it was fun while it lasted I suppose). For the most part, I do PC gaming these days, but I’ve also found that I enjoy gaming on my smartphone as well.


And, while I don’t think smartphone gaming nearly measures up to PC gaming at this point, I do notice that smartphone gaming has been making some serious strides over the past few years.


The first game I really got into on my phone was an MMORPG called Order & Chaos. I downloaded it on my iPhone 4S, and the fact that it could run an entire MMORPG blew me away. The graphics of Order & Chaos are extremely similar to those on World of Warcraft, which at the time my laptop couldn’t even run with high settings. It just floored me that my smartphone was better optimized to run a game of similar graphics better than my computer (although it was a much smaller game, so there’s that).


However, when it comes to playing Order & Chaos, I think I enjoyed more for its RPG elements rather than it’s MMO (massive multiplayer online) components. The chat box was not all that easy to use in my opinion, but perhaps that’s because it’s easier for me to type on a keyboard. MMOs require a lot of communication between one another to get things done, and typing out full sentences on a phone in a game is not as easy as it sounds. Order & Chaos might have been able to pull off an MMORPG as best as a smartphone can, but MMOs aren’t a smartphone’s strong point in my opinion. I ended up quitting the game in search of something more single-player oriented.


Since I stopped playing Order & Chaos, I decided to head in a completely different direction when it comes to mobile gaming. I would play some of the more easy games, like Angry Birds, Dragon Fly, or other games that typically only used one control for the entire game. It was mundane, but I would by lying if I didn’t say that it wasn’t at least somewhat entertaining in certain situations. But after a while, even these games bored me. I haven’t touched these games in a long time.


The other day, however, I saw a free application on the Amazon Appstore app: The Bard’s Tale. The name struck me as familiar, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until I did a quick web search on it. It didn’t take long for me to realize where I recognized the name from, because it was a very popular Playstation 2 game back in the day. I think it was at that moment that I realized how quickly smartphones have caught up to gaming. The Playstation 2 might be a 14-year-old console at this point, but the graphics in the system are still not half bad. Also, they had some of the biggest game titles to ever be released. Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy X-2, The Bard’s Tale, Kingdom Hearts, Jak & Daxter (one of my fiancé's favorites), Okami, and so many more. Perhaps I’m just an old fuddy duddy, but back then it seemed like where games were “lacking” in graphics, they made up for it in storyline. The release of the Playstation 2 was iconic for my generation of gamers.


The fact that games, which needed an entire console to run before, can now run on my 4.7-inch smartphone is just mind-blowing to me. I’ve been playing The Bard’s Tale for the past couple of days in my spare time, and while the graphics aren’t anything to write home about, the game itself is humorous, entertaining, and takes a little more brain power than I’m used to putting in a smartphone game. But above all, the most astonishing feature of the game for me is that a game as large as The Bard’s Tale, and with as much depth as the game has, is able to run on my smartphone at all.


PCs might be ahead in gaming, and for the foreseeable future I don’t see smartphones catching up to them that quickly, but I am still quite impressed with the smartphone’s ability to port games from older consoles. These tiny computers in our pockets really are all-in-one systems. It’s just crazy to think about how much they can do.


Readers, what are your thoughts on smartphones and gaming? Is gaming something you’ve taken an interest in on your phone, or something you’d rather leave to other consoles to handle better? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!


Images via Android Authority, CrackBerry