The ads for the iPhone declare that there’s an application for anything that you could want to do with the device, and enough video games to satisfy hardcore and casual gamers alike. But is the iPhone really a good gaming platform? Here’s a look at the iPhone’s strengths and weaknesses as a modern gaming platform.
1. Power – While it isn’t designed as a gaming platform, for instance in the way that the Playstation Portable is designed as a gaming platform, the iPhone is reasonably powerful for the purpose. It does have a memory limitation, as most of the iPhone’s users store music and video in addition to games on the device and all games need to be downloaded, so games are significantly smaller and generally less complex than the games of other platforms such as the DS and PSP. Graphics wise, the iPhone is able to hang with the PSP and DS, though.
2. Controls – Depending on your point of view, the iPhone’s controls are either its weakest or strongest point. There’s only one button on the iPhone, and in games, this means that everything’s handled through taps and movements on the touch screen. The advantage is that the iPhone games’ controls can feel very intuitive, when the technology is used correctly, but the disadvantage is that shooters and other common game types simply don’t translate very well. The Nintendo DS, which also has a touch screen, has buttons to avoid this type of problem, but the iPhone is unable to provide options in the control department.
3. Selection – There are hundreds of games available for the iPhone that vary greatly in quality. The iTunes App Store ratings system is unreliable, so it can be hard to find good iPhone games without finding a list online. With that being said, there are games for every type of user. Reign of Swords provides a hardcore strategy experience, and various puzzle games will satiate the casual user. If you know where to find what you’re looking for in the iTunes App store, it’s probably there.
4. User Base – The iPhone’s strongest attribute in the video game scene is its huge built-in user base, which makes it worthwhile for companies to spend money developing games for the iPhone. No other portable game system launched with the hype of the iPhone, and since the users are there, the games just keep coming–as long as people are using the iPhone, there will be good portable games for it, and it seems that that’ll be the case for a long time.
Do you think that the iPhone is a good gaming platform? Post your thoughts in the comments section below.