Video game giant EA's mobile division - called, cleverly enough, EA mobile - released five new cell phone titles this week: The Sims 2 Castaway, The Sims Pool, Monopoly Here & Now, Yahtzee Adventures, and Merv Griffin's Crosswords. Wow, Merv Griffin. And I thought I was getting old...
I'm going to try to pay a little more attention to mobile games in the coming months for a few good reasons. First, I'm tired of uTube commenters making fun of me for always showing Pac Man (or Ms. Pac Man or Super Pac-Man) in my phone reviews. I gotta get up on what games kids are actually playing so I can make my reviews more useful. And, you know, not look like such an old fool.
Also, mobile games are finally on the verge of realizing their potential as big, big business. I think. The move towards phones that blur the lines between "entry level," "feature phone," and "smartphone" means that more and more of the devices consumers are buying will be capable of better graphics and more robust gameplay. Cell phone gaming will creep towards the type of experience folks are used to on portable platforms like Sony's PSP and the Nintendo DS. Between Nokia's re-invigorated N-Gage and the demos Apple showed off when they launched iPhone's SDK, mobile game developers finally have some decent hardware to build for. In fact, if you've got a jailbroken iPhone check out the shareware version of Yeti 3D. It's not the most playable game ever, but it rocks the accelerometer - think of it as a taste of what's to come from the big studios this Fall.
Last week at CTIA I met with reps from Sega, THQ Wireless, Hands-On Mobile, and Nokia to talk mobile gaming. Doug also got a demo of this crazy cell phone gaming controller called Ziimote - keep your eyes out for a video of Ziimote in action in the coming week or so. I'm looking forward to checking out all of the latest titles I can get my hands on, and doing so on a bunch of different handsets, to get an idea of where mobile gaming is headed. I think it's about to blow up, and I'm ready for it. I'm not giving up my Pac-Man, but I can spare some time for Spore, too.