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4 trends that make mobile gaming lame

first_img 1 2 Mobile gaming has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few years, and caused a seismic shift in how people consume game content. You no longer have to spend big to have a compelling experience, but that doesn’t mean mobile games are without issues. In fact, there are a number of trends that do little to improve the experience, and can even make mobile gaming a lot more lame overall. Here are the four biggest culprits.Retro graphicsIt is possible to make a game with simple retro graphics that comes off like a love letter to the past. That’s not easy to do, and consequently, most games that come with old school 8-bit graphics end up feeling phoned in.It can be kind of fun to relive the glory days of the NES and big bulky arcade cabinets that ate quarters by the bucket, but there’s no reason a new experience needs to be limited to the visuals of 25 years ago. Unless a title is specifically referencing some cultural element or past game, retro graphics are almost always a mistake.Smartphones and tablets are powerful devices now, and can handle detailed 3D textures. The overwhelming majority of games with retro themes would be more engaging and interesting with advanced graphics. Making a simple side-scrolling platformer is fine, but plastering blocky 8-bit textures all over it doesn’t make it classic or artistic.Sword and Sworcery is an example of a game that uses retro visuals to great effect. Without the attention to detail and a little bit of heart, retro graphics are boring and often indicative of lazy design.Time-based check-in gamingWhat are you doing right now? Well, you were supposed to check in on your skyscraper/farm/medieval village an hour ago! Now things are going to fall apart, and it’s all your fault. Good thing your phone can notify you when it’s time to interrupt your life and play the game. Wait, what?Phones ride around in our pockets all the time, so that makes them a perfect vector to draw us in over the course of the day. Games like Tiny Tower (see also: retro graphics) have become increasingly popular over time. The premise is that you start an activity, then leave the game and come back later when it’s complete.This is actually terrible in two ways. First, the game can and will start pestering you with notifications if you fail to check-in. That corn isn’t going to harvest itself, and you’ve got the phone in your pocket. Why not just do it? Because the game isn’t the boss of you, that’s why!Games that have these mandatory wait times are usually free, but implement a ton of in-app purchases. In-app purchases aren’t necessarily a bad thing, but check-in games are carefully tuned to extract money from you over time. One game that’s particularly good at this is Real Racing 3, which requires you to repair your car frequently. You can swing back later when it’s done, or simply pay a few coins to get it done immediately. Tempting, right?All of this breaks up the gaming experience, and leaves you at the mercy of the unforgiving progression of time. These games also invade your life when you try to break away. It’s just bad, folks.Next page: Movie tie-ins and PC game experiences on phones…last_img read more