With my trusty second gen iPod touch languishing behind in the specs race, I had the perfect excuse to pick up the new iPad. I was still somewhat reluctant, right up until Submit Order (£514 for a 32GB Wi-Fi only unit with a Smart Cover? Eek!), but I’m glad I did.
For me, of course, the new iPad is a business purchase, allowing me to play – and more importantly review (ahem) – iOS games, and that’s all I’ve been doing this week. Good times.
I won’t lie to you: reviewing smartphone games isn’t exactly something I relish. As a veteran gamer, I’ve grown tired of the same-old; the “physics-based” Angry Birds clones, the match three efforts, those games where you automatically run from left to right and occasionally tap jump… Meh.
The problem with smartphone games (as Juniper Research’s Charlotte Miller observes) is that on-screen controls are often quite intrusive, and ultimately feel like a compromise.
For example, given the choice, would you rather play an FPS with a touchscreen (N.O.V.A., N.O.V.A. 2, Modern Combat…) or a balls-out console affair (Halo, Call of Duty, Battlefield, Left 4 Dead…) with a proper controller and tons of buttons?
But what a difference five inches makes! (That’s what she said). The additional display real estate means you can swipe and tap to your heart’s content without obscuring the action. Sure, it’s still not the ideal control method, but tablet gaming at least kicks smartphone gaming’s butt.
Of course, it helps that the iPad’s 2048 x 1536 display is a joy to behold. Admittedly there are only a handful of games currently optimised for iPad Retina action, but the future looks good; 264-ppi-on-a-tablet good.
The new iPad (and not forgetting the comparatively humble iPad and iPad 2) offer a few other benefits over console gaming.
Actually, while I’m on the subject of console gaming, permit me to go off on a brief tangent. I don’t feel like I’ve ever fully recovered from Skyrim. It was crushingly good, and consumed – I’m ashamed to admit this – 150 hours of my winter. Good lord.
Also, it’s all about the money now. Mass Effect 3, published by Satan-worshipping EA and featuring arbitrary multiplayer guff, offered DLC on its day of release (unbelievable), while Capcom’s Street Fighter X Tekken has 12 characters locked on the disc. Oh don’t worry; you’ll be able to buy them at a later date.
But getting back to the Skyrim thing, I resented the amount of time I spent/wasted on it, and now find myself on another impromptu console gaming hiatus. The new Batman, Arkham City, is one of many games I currently have sitting untouched.
And so back to the new iPad. That is, after all, the focus of this feature. Mostly. The iPad offers guilt-free gaming in abundance, and as such it’s easily on course to become my primary gaming platform (shades of Elop there).
See, when it comes down to it, technically I'm working (honest!). Also, crucially (and this one doesn’t necessitate being paid to scribble for a mobile phone blog), I can play games on the iPad while watching rubbish on the TV, like The Apprentice. It’s the perfect outlet for my gaming needs.
Have I mentioned I still have a PS Vita snugly wrapped in its Amazon packaging? Oh dear. Maybe I’ll whip it out and do some sort of comparison thing or something. Heck, and why not throw the Nintendo 3DS in there for good measure?
Ok, rant over. If you’ll excuse me, I have some work to do. Like, actual work. See ya.