This weekend I spent a frankly ludicrous amount of time playing Dead Island on the Xbox 360. I shan’t harp on about it for too long, as that’s what my Dealspwn brothers get paid for, but know this: it’s really good.
Anyway, playing Dead Island got me thinking again about the gaming world – console, handheld and smartphone – and I figured I’d go off on another of my patented rants.
Those of you who’ve been with us for a while might remember my tongue-in-cheek feature Why mobile gaming is better than console gaming. Despite openly admitting: “I’m clearly being a provocative git here, not to mention a big fat hypocrite,” several morons (sorry, morons) took the bait and went off on one.
As such, I felt obliged to pen a follow-up feature called Why console gaming is better than mobile gaming. That probably sounds pretty redundant – a bit like a feature which asks: “Are Ferraris better than Volkswagen Beetles?” – but there’s definitely an argument to be made for both (console and mobile gaming, that is).
Having said that, when it comes down to it, mobile gaming really doesn’t compare to console gaming, does it? Let’s be honest.
I’m entirely aware of the irony here. Being paid to write about mobile phones, this is perhaps akin to a clown insisting that comedy isn’t funny, or a porn star suggesting that she dislikes sex. Well, I’ve started so I’ll finish.
All previous points I’ve made aside, I could base my argument on one thing, and that is this: I would never in a million years spend 15-20 hours in one weekend (staying up as late as 5am) playing a game on a smartphone.
Dead Island is utterly compulsive. My just-one-more-side-quest mentality has left me a sleep-deprived and exhausted shell of a man. You can probably tell from the flow of this feature, to be fair. What was I talking about again?
It’s a mobile gaming cliche, but the smartphone gem I’ve spent most time with is Angry Birds. At the peak of my addiction I’d often play it while watching - or not watching, as the case was - TV, and idle hours here and there were gleefully filled with the launching of birds at pigs.
Plants vs Zombies deserves a mention too. I spent a good few weeks playing PopCap’s delightful undead romp most nights before bed. Good times.
But the thing is that both Angry Birds and Plants vs Zombies were ultimately time fillers, and neither threatened to eat into my much-needed beauty sleep.
Obviously mobile games are designed to be digested in bite-sized chunks. How often do you see the almost obligatory three-star rating when you finish a level, accompanied by the option to Retry, go to the Next level, or hit the Main Menu? It’s a winning format. You can jump in or out whenever you like; a few minutes here, a few minutes there.
Conversely, more ambitious and demanding titles like Chaos Rings feel almost out of place on a smartphone. It looks great, it sounds great, but can I have it on the PSP please?
Maybe I’m out of order. Hell, maybe the whole freakin’ system’s out of order. Be sure to maul me with some suitably irate comments below. Do you often play smartphone games till 5am?
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off for a sleep. Maybe I’ll cram in a few Dead Island side quests first though…