1UP Yours on: iPhone Gaming

Last week I said I might post the transcript to the discussion I started on 1UP Yours concerning iPhone gaming. Eight days later, here it is.

The Cast

Andrew Pfister: Podcast Producer at 1UP.com
Garnett Lee: Senior Editor of Previews at 1UP and EGM
Shane Bettenhausen: Executive Editor of Video Games at 1UP.com
John Davison: Former Editorial Director of 1UP, co-founder and executive editor of WhatTheyPlay.com
Mark MacDonald: Former Executive Editor at EGM, former director at Gamevideos.com, currently traveling the world.

Andrew Pfister:
Free At Last asks, “Why do I keep hearing the iPhone mentioned in the same sentence with the DS and PSP? Do people know something I don’t? It’s a great conversation piece, and yes, people can do some pretty cool things with multi-touch and the accelerometer (i.e. Aurora Feint), but its still just a novelty item, not a true gaming platform. You can’t have a handheld gaming device without buttons.”

Garnett Lee: Hundreds of thousands sold each month. Period. Next question.

Andrew: As a handheld gaming device?

Garnett: Because it’s ubiquitous and people have been asking “how on earth is gaming going to come to the mobile handset in North America?” And because of the penetration of the device, because of the momentum that Apple gains in the marketplace, and because of that fact that they’re putting out there this SDK and getting people, because they’re building energy around it. There’s like this magical–you know–group of things coming together at one time to make it work!

Shane Bettenhausen: And the paradigm that games require buttons, well, you know, like Wii Sports and a lot of the fun things there. You don’t need buttons for that.

*Mutual agreement from the group*

John Davison: If you want the same old s*** again, yeah you need the same old s*** on the device. But this is–it’s a device that does a bit of everything and more and more that’s going to be what you have in your pocket.

Mark MacDonald: At the same time though, and I agree with a lot of what you guys have said and being able to download right from where ever you are right from the store, that’s huge. But at the same I will say that when I was in LA, of course everyone has their iPhone, and so I’m like “Oh ok, show me some games on it.” The couple things that I’ve seen, and of course this is just my experience: anecdotal, but one was like a light saber thing where you hit it and goes–and it’s free–and I’m like–and people were actually impressed by this–*shane makes light saber noises*–yeah, and I’m like “Well, what does it do?” “Well it goes *Mark makes light saber noises* and you move it around, look! Didn’t you see?” And I’m like, oook..

Shane: Well did you see any of the real games?

Mark: One of the other ones was, it was like a dice game where you go like this (shake it) and move it around and they’re like “Oh no no no, but Mark, the dice really move like how they would in real life!!”

Garnett: It kills me! People have sitting there been me these long explanations about, “Oh you know what, it’s not a random number generator there’s real physic recreations of dice inside there and they’re bouncing.” I’m like, oook…

Mark: And I’m like, yeah ok, so its more really random, then waa..like what?

Shane: Alright alright, 3G iPhone has been out for like what, a month? There arn’t that many killer apps out there yet. Super Monkey Ball is good, Aurora Feint is decent. But has any real gaming developer made a game for it yet? No. Give it some time.

John: Yeah, it’s been two months. What you’re getting is pretty much almost a raw indie gaming scene with a some real publishers thrown in. There are over 300 games in the App Store already, a lot of them are garbage, but some of them are–in the same way when you sift through a lot of the indie gaming stuff–a lot of the stuff that Sharkey (Scott Sharkey, Senior features editor at 1UP) goes hunting for–the iPhone scene is more like that then say the DS scene right now. But as the THQ Wireless stuff starts to comes through and the new EA stuff comes through–assuming they don’t bring the “For Dummies” games to iPhone (laughter)–so yeah you know, there’s like these real games coming. The dev kit’s not been out for a year yet.

Garnett: However, the big deal will be for people to acknowledge when they’re building it that you are building with an interface that doesn’t have buttons on it.

Mark: Right, so the iPhone is–I want the iPhone and I think it will get eventually its own kind of Pokemon, something that was only possible in that–insomuch as a game that was only possible with it, that uses the features of it, like the communication, maybe the GPS. But, I mean I do think that it’s a legitimate thing with the games. It’s kind of like with the Wii, when you try to bring existing games that we actually like and care about–franchises, the kind of games we know and love, even classic games and stuff like that. It actually does become a significant thing, the lack of controls–

Shane: Unless Ryan Payton (Producer at Kojima Productions, makers of Metal Gear Solid) listens to my pleas and ports Snatcher!

Garnett: iPhone could be perfect for casual games though, because I have to say, Brian Crecente (EiC at Kotaku.com) showed me this game while we were traveling on the bus between one of the conferences at E3. It was basically columns, but depending on which way you turned the iPhone is was able to sense that and as you connected the colors they would fall in the direction you had it. It was really cool, it was very intuitive! You can play RPGS too, JRPGS–

Shane: JRPGS work totally well on it.

Garnett: Yeah, you can dance around on it.

Mark: Yeah, so what, do you have a D-Pad that comes up on the screen and moves around.

Shane: You could play Vay..

Garnett: Use touch!

Mark: I think what the question is talking about is that games like columns and the dice game and Tetris, you are going to get great versions of all of those games, but you already have those games on cell phones, but if its going to become a “real system” like the PSP and the DS, is it going to able to do it with just having motion controls.

Garnett: Carmack (John Carmack, CEO and Lead Designer of ID Software) said it’s more powerful then the Dreamcast.


Published by

Fred Smith

is the senior video games editor and is our resident grammar and punctuation czar. He prefers to define his career choice as “pending”. His hobbies include basketball, writing, and video games. He is employed by a regional chain hardware store as a salesman/peon.

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