Mobile games are certainly the hot topic in the games industry right now, and rightly so. They are selling like hotcakes, and many of them are very, very good. I myself get very excited and buy many game. However, I never find myself playing them. I must have 50 games on my iPhone I have bought and never played. So I ask myself, why am I not playing these games? I think I finally hit on the answer, I don’t play games as a distraction.
10 Minutes to Kill
If I have a spare 10-15 minutes, I will not play a game. I find this too little time to become truly engaged, to really soak in the enjoyment I find from games, so I eschew playing them entirely. When I do find what I deem an adequate time to play a game, say an hour or two, why would I play a mobile game? Compared to a PC or console games they pale in comparison as far as depth is concerned and that tiny screen cannot compete with my 56″ TV. While touchscreen controls can truly offer a unique experience you cannot elsewhere, they are more often a hindrance, trying to unsuccessfully emulate console controls. Even when it’s done right, I find another issue, the distraction of mobile controls.
When I directly control a game with a controller, I controls become transparent, they are no longer there. My hands are in my lap, my focus is 100% on the game onscreen. However, on mobile, my big stupid hands are right in front of my face and the screen, even on top of the character I am controlling. The controls never get lost or become transparent. They are constantly grabbing my attention and I can never get lost in the game.
I want to like mobile games. I really do. I am working on a mobile game myself. So much of the interesting, new game design is happening on mobile but I just cannot get past these issues. At least now I understand my reticence to play mobile games.