Once, many a year ago I tried to play games on my then mobile phone. This was akin to trying to play the harp with my teeth. It hurt and there was no good to come of it.
Arguable the greatest invention that ever hit the original Nokia brands was the rise of snake. The first, green screen Anaconda style game was literally played by millions and enjoyed. Reason? Well my hypothesis is that, much like tetris, its simplicity lent itself to genuine human interest and it was perfect for its format. It was quick and could be played mobile as the good lord mobile technologies intended.
So what of mobile games in the 2.5G generation? My first gaming experience on my phone outside of the default, poorly drawn outrun style title was a game I downloaded and paid for. It was a 2d platformer, I forget the name, and it sucked the ass of evil dead clowns. This was unfortunate as I had hoped to find a new avenue for gaming. Having become bored of my GBA (Bored enough to leave it, a powerpack and 18 games on a train) I have been looking for that 'mobile gaming solution' that can follow me on my many travels.
At first I'd gone with PSP like all the other i-sheep out there. But even consistent badgering of Gonz and Shades to give me just one reason to buy one resulted in nothing. I cannot stress enough, I had already made up my mind, I wanted to buy the damn handheld, I really did. I spent hours on the net looking for screenshots, reviews or movies of anything that would excite me enough to actually go the shop and hand my money over. Nothing.
There had to be something, some hidden away title (Like evil dead pinball or Doom 2 on GBA) that would give me the incentive. ANYTHING. Please lawd, I WANT to give you my money, I already want your handheld, just give me a reason. Honest I would even email the launch sites "Please Sony, just give me a reason". When my prayers went unanswered and the small gaming people of my brain were slaughtered regardless of their piety I finally killed the religion of Sony in my head and decided never again to offer unto them the burnt calf of my cash.
So what then? GBA had failed me. Sony had died (And this is before they took an almighty shit on the gaming community, that shit being PS3 launch.) I was alone. I had only...My phone.
Could I? Could I really try? The golden days of Snake were long over, my last attempt at downloadable content had hurt me so much, was there a chance of return? Having a member of the clan who works for a major mobile games producer (SpiKe) whos recently been head hunted for an even better job in London meant I surely had to give it a go. This is when I discovered that mobile games had come along way, but that the format wars here were just as bitter as the console world, if not worse.
A mate and I were chatting about it over dinner and he showed me the content list for his UK network, I was impressed. In fact I nearly shat my pants and vomitted when he showed me 'Street Fighter 2' on his phone. Now he doesnt have one of those all singing all dancing handsets, in fact mine's a tad more advanced but he had a decent conversion of SF2 (For the astute you will know that SF2: Turbo is my favourite game of all time) running on his damned phone. Well, his operators list of games included classics reworked such a Golden Axe and even...Final Fight. Therefore I connected my GPRS and salivated at the prospects for the games catalouge on my own (Leading and massive) international phone provider.
I was faced with crushing reality.
The 'store' was much like your average Games shop. I had a thousand EA Sports titles to choose from, mostly Fifa, Tiger Woods and Madden conversions. As a side note, can someone just fucking shoot Tiger Woods so he can't be in any more games. It's just golf for pitys sake! Just call it golf and dont pay him gozillions for the 'prestige' of having his pixellated face on a 7" phone screen in shite resolution. Damn.
Anyway, my own range of classics was limited to Sonics various incarnations. Being a fan of sonic I duly oblidged. Now, Im thinking, seriously this is just a phone I'm gonna get like one level of awful graphical tomfoolery and a blue square representing my faouvrite hedgehog. This time my suprise was good.
For just £2.50 (Probably the equivalent of about $50,000 Zimbabwean dollars) I got a pretty decent phone conversion of Sonic. It doesnt have much replay value, but its a genuince conversion. Minus sound and with a lot of juddering when you scroll fast (Hint to the company that made this: Scrolling fast is what sonic does, optimise it) it was quite fun. LAcking sound and with the odd stagger it was hardto get my drunken garden mammal to perform proprely but it was still fun. Largely through nostalgia value I got immersed and missed my stop on the train this morning. Therefore, a difficult win for the Sonic phone game.
Next I'm downloading Rainbow Six: Vegas (No shit its really there, cant imagine its a faithful version but...)
Watch this space. Or handset. Or something.