I used to be the sort of person who played games on my PC – big games, games in beautiful or mysterious settings. I’ve played MMO games – massively multiplayer online games. I’m a fan of Guild Wars, I’m waiting for Guild Wars 2, and I have a lifetime subscription to Lord of the Rings Online. I have accounts with Second Life and Free Realms. Note to self – I am going to get an Xbox 360, and a Nintendo WII.
In February 2010 I got my Motorola Droid smartphone, Android operating system. The screen is small, but it’s beautiful. When I hold it close it fills much of my field of vision. And it’s so darn convenient, and it’s right there, and the games are, mostly, designed to be played in little blocks of time – though you might end up playing them for a long time! Something about a game being really accessible makes you want to play.
I’ve tried many games. Here are my favorites. The screenshots of my Motorola Droid are taken with my digital camera, as there currently is no easy to use a screenshot app for an Android phone.
Simple physics games.
Physics games are games where objects have physical properties and behave like they would in the “real world”. The games usually involve dealing with gravity and manipulating an object that has mass.
What could be simpler than a game where you throw a balled up piece of paper in the trash? If you get it right, the thing goes into the trash can with a rewarding clunk. The challenge is throwing the ball in the trash basket when a fan is blowing at varying speeds. The game is Paper Toss by Back Flip Studios, http://www.backflipstudios.com.
One of the settings of Paper Toss perfectly exemplifies the noisy ennui of waiting for your plane at the airport, the ambient noise, the announcements over the intercom, and the sounds of the annoyed passengers you hit when the ball goes off the screen.
Toss It is a similar game, Boolba Labs, http://www.boolbalabs.com. This game has beautiful levels, including a funny one where you toss your iPhone into a trash basket!
Kittens Puzzle, Playgamesite, http://www.playgamesite.com/ . An adorable jigsaw puzzle game where you switch tiles around to make a picture of a kitten. You can save the pictures to your SD card. There are many levels. The game is relaxing, and the kittens are adorable.
Games that tell a story
Kongregate has a site where you can play free Flash games – http://www.kongregate.com. Some games are optimized for mobile devices. The Butterfly Fantasy series, developed by Garbuz Games (http://www.garbuzgames.com) is a “click the differences” game. You are presented with two nearly identical screens and you click on what is different on each screen. After you find the differences, the next screen is presented. Each successive screen unfolds the story.
The story progresses via pictures, no dialogue but a soundtrack. It looks like a graphic novel. This is very moving story, nicely done, with fantasy elements and a beautiful look. I loved this series. Parts 1 and 2 of the trilogy are available for mobile devices and PC and Mac. Part 3 is not available for mobile devices, only PC or Mac.
The tag line for the first game is “What can happen when the last hope disappears and it seems there is no way out.” What could be more evocative?
Angry Bird, Rovio, http://www.rovio.com/
The back-story is that some mean pigs stole eggs from birds. The birds are very, very angry and they seek revenge.
You use your finger to launch the birds against the pigs’ strongholds. This is a physics game – you have to figure out how to control the birds’ trajectory.
It’s hard to explain how addicting this game is. The cartoon graphics are engaging. The angry birds are very funny in looks and sounds. The pigs are funnily “piggy”. There are many levels. Some levels are easier than others, but with practice you always get it. This is one of the great games of all times.
Pocket Legends, a big game on a little phone
Spacetime Studios, http://www.spacetimestudios.com/
Pocket Legends is an MMORPG, a massively multiplayer RPG, role playing game, very similar to games played on the PC. You take on the role of a bear warrior, a cat enchantress, or a bird archer. You join with other people to battle monsters and acquire money or objects that you can use, such as weapons or clothing.
There are towns where you can meet with other players and receive your quests. There areas where you and around four other players go on quests.
Pocket Legends will automatically group you with people. You can also start a quest and have people join you (they always do), or pick a group and join them. Quests are short. You can get something done in about fifteen minutes.
It’s possible to chat with other people in the game, but it’s awkward. You don’t have a keyboard and you have to move your player on the screen and shoot weapons or cast spells or heal other players (auto attack works well). I really like this game.
I’ll keep you updated on new games I enjoy, as I find them.