Saturday, November 17, 2012

Mobile Gaming: What the hell is that?

Mobile gaming.

I'm not talking about handhelds, like the Nintendo DS, the Playstation Vita, or the NGage (Remember that?! Me neither).

Mobile gaming. Phones. Tablets.

I've had a Droid phone for about 6 months now, which means it's already outdated. I like it. All the fun little apps, the games, etc. Not bad. Certainly better than my Crunchberry that I had before it. But you get bored at work, maybe a long car ride, you look for stuff to pass the time. And there's some fun games on there good to waste a few minutes. Angry Birds _____ (Pick a noun, you'll likely find a game they made) seems to be the staple. But dig more, and you'll unearth a fountain of gaming you never thought possible... Allow me to explain.

Earlier this week, I traded in my Playstation Vita, which I owned for about 4 months, toward a Nexus 7 Android tablet. Yes. I did that. I do not regret it at all. I'm not going to go incredibly in-depth as to why I picked the Nexus 7 over another Droid tablet. The Nexus 7 is the flagship of the Droid tablets, made by Asus in connection with Google themselves. That's why. It's all-around the best, and gets updates before every other tablet. Disagree on me if you want, I honestly don't care enough to get into the semantics.

Since the Vita had essentially zero games worth a damn on it, I had been using it for old PSOne games. At $10 each (On average, some games are cheaper), that got expensive rather quickly, especially for the price of their memory cards (Ever get raped? Go buy a Vita memory card, you'll want to call the authorities). So I traded it in and got the tablet.

So, let's talk Droid gaming specifically. Why Droid and not iOS? Because Apple is an asshole and forces you to jailbreak their shit if you want to do any of this. Droid is non-restrictive because they're cool like that. What's jailbreaking? Hell, if you need to ask, Google it.

As of this moment, I am capable of the following on the Nexus: Every console and handheld released up to and including the 64 bit generation of gaming. That's the PSOne/N64 and everything before it. That's thousands upon thousands upon thousands of games. All at the palm of my hand. And as we speak, there's people working on optimizing a Nintendo DS emulator on it.

"What's an emulator?"

An emulator is a program that copies what something else does. Is that the technical definition? Nope. But for all intents and purposes, that's it. Suck it if you want to get technical.

So over here I'm running a whole emu farm.

That's the look iPad users give me when they see this shit.

The emulators basically have all the same layout: Since these tablets are all touch screen, much like most phones, the button layout of the controller is laid transparent over the screen, seen below:

Now let's scurry along over to the games which were actually designed for Droid, shall we?

Droid Gaming

There's actually quite a staggering amount of games on these things. Most, however, are fucking garbage that are less fun than a playthrough of Vampire Rain. Ever played that little gem? I haven't, because the only way to cope with the horror is large amounts of drugs and alcohol.

There are, however, quite a few gems that are pretty stellar and are worth your time. A good game on any touch screen needs to have responsive controls. That's incredibly important. On your PS3, you don't press "X" just to have the "O" button register, do you? Controls need to be tight. If they aren't, you're wasting your time. Most games that play on any touch device typically have you control your character with a transparent circle you move your finger on in the left side of the screen, and all your actions are handled with buttons on the right side. Most play that way, anyhow. So, games worth your time? Here's a look at just a few of them:

Samurai II: Vengeance $2.99

Samurai II: Vengeance follows the path of a samurai you control and... Fuck, who cares about the plot, you cut a bunch of jobbers up to the point where you slice them in half. What's not to get excited about? The game looks absolutely beautiful. You can level up as you gain experience, unlocking new abilities and even more ways to decimate any dumbass unfortunate enough to cross your path.

Heroes Call FREE*

This one will remind people a lot of the old isometric PC RPG games. Likening itself to old Dungeons & Dragons style, you choose your class and are thrown into dungeon after dungeon of gobling-slaying glory. Enemies drop loot, you pick it up and kill them with it. Simple dungeon crawling concept, but this one is filled with a good leveling system and varied classes. And it's FREE*. But there's an asterisk there... One class is unlocked, and you need to pay to unlock the others. You can always give the unlocked Fighter class a shot and make your judgement from there.

Inotia 3 and 4 FREE*

Pick a class, gradually build your party, and waste tons of hours as you kill some cute sprites. The plot isn't too bad, although the translation in Inotia 4 is a little rough. The plots, while not incredibly epic or memorable, are good enough to hold your attention. You can start with either because of that, don't worry too much about continuity here. An asterisk is here, as well...

Penny Arcade 3 $2.99

Remember those old 16 bit RPGs of the Super Nintendo era? Wait, do you even remember the SNES? If not, you missed out, man. Go get the DeLorean up to 88 and fix that. A hilarious script with traditional turn based RPG combat, this one is not to be missed.

Dead Trigger FREE*

Dead Trigger is a FPS zombie shooter. What's not to enjoy? Shoot zombies, get to your objective. Kinda Left 4 Dead single player. Again, like with all "free" games, you can use real money as a shortcut to in-game goodies.

Six Guns FREE*

Red Dead Redemption Lite. No other explanation is needed here.

Beat Hazard Ultra $1.99 (Free Demo Available)

Fan of SHMUPs? Look no further than Beat Hazard. This one is unique in that it generates levels and enemies based on music you have in your library. With tight controls (incredibly important for this genre), this one is not to be missed.

Need for Speed Most Wanted $6.99

A little pricey at about $7, but damn is this one beautiful. Nothing short of absolutely sexy. Don't expect everything to be on par with the $60 console versions, but this racing game is nothing to shake a stick at. A must have for racing fans.

PC Gaming on a Tablet

Skyrim on a tablet? Possible. More than possible. It's happened.
Kotaku already covered it, and rather than steal from them, I'll just let them explain it.

And it's not limited to Skyrim. Get anything off your PC, really. World of Warcraft? Go for it.


Got a PS3 bluetooth controller? Yeah, you're golden. End of story. Otherwise, pick one up off of Amazon or your local game store. No problem.

Oh, you might be saying "Well I can do all this from my laptop!" You'd be wrong. Because any laptop worth a damn is going to be $500+, and you know it. "Well I can do that with my iPad!" If you jailbreak it and void any support from Apple, yes, you can, after spending a lot more on it than any Droid device.

Gaming on a tablet... More than an option. More than feasible. It's a damn good decision.


  1. Gorilla With Floating Orb Of Unlimited Knowledge And WisdomNovember 17, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    >>Every console and handheld released up to and including the 64 bit generation of gaming. That's the PSOne/N64 and everything before it.<<

    I think you need to elaborate on this a bit. Does this include 16 bit games as well? How about systems like NES, etc.

    1. Yes. Even Arcade systems, such as the NeoGeo.

      Even many of the older PC titles, such as Fallout 1 and 2, can be emulated onto the tablet.

      And current gen PC titles, like Skyrim, can be played on the tablet through Splashtop, as detailed in the above linked Kotaku article.

  2. Gorilla With Floating Orb Of Unlimited Knowledge And WisdomNovember 17, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    Yeah but how about games for the SNES, Gamecube and the like?

    1. No to the Gamecube. The tablets don't have enough horsepower to handle anything post-PSOne/N64/etc. So that's a no. For now, until the tablets become more powerful.

      It can handle anything and everything manufactured before then, however.

  3. Gorilla With Floating Orb Of Unlimited Knowledge And WisdomNovember 17, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    >>Yes. Even Arcade systems, such as the NeoGeo.<<

    When you say arcade titles, does the everything before 64 Bit rule also apply to arcades?

    For example if I wanted to play Cabal, would that work because it was made before the 64 bit systems

    1. You can play the NES version or the Amiga version with no problem, so you'd be all set on that one.

  4. Angry Birds Star Wars is actually kind of awesome

    1. It is.

      I played as far as the free version would let me.

      But there's really no... depth to it, is there? To me, it's a "Ok, I've got 10 minutes to kill." type of thing. And there's nothing wrong with a game like that.

      The purpose is the article is to point out that not every mobile game is like that. A lot of them have stories, depth, characters. There's every genre on here, and it's a market most gamers have been ignoring.

      And as a gamer, I find that to be tragic.

  5. An interesting counterpoint to my 'tablets are shit; long live the dedicated handheld' article.

    1. That's mostly because I've written the first thing worth reading on this site :P

  6. Ugh. I had moved away from wanting a Tablet, and now I kind of want one again. I have a crappy old iPod and a PSP... but... neither of them are great... all those games look really cool.... ;_;

    1. If you know what you're doing, you can do a lot of this stuff on a PSP.

    2. True. I've done that, had a PSP with custom firmware.

      But it gets aggrivating as all hell to have X game work only under these settings, and to play this one you'll need to roll back to this version of the firmware, and you need this method to run this....

      It's a big pain in the ass. Well, it was for me, anyways.

      There is a trade-off for the PSP VS Tablet emulation argument.

      PSP gets PSP library
      Tablets get the Android library

      But there's a PSP library in development, and tablets will only get more powerful as the next ones are released. There's no signs of anyone cracking the Vita yet, either.

    3. Meant to say "there's a psp emulator in development". My bad.

  7. Final Fantasy Dimensions just landed on the Android. It's an awesome (and entirely new) Final Fantasy game that harkens back to classics like FF5. I'd recommend checking it out if retro RPGs are your thing.

  8. I was waiting for that sum'bitch to go on sale. Picked it up, along with Chaos Rings, during the recent Google Play anniversary sale.

    Expect mini reviews for Chaos Rings and Dimensions... whenever I get around to it!