Friday, September 26, 2014

Finding Time With Mobile Games

Just to warn you ahead of time, I will not be making any sweeping declarations or forcing our reader to have an epiphany of Torahic proportions.  It is just an observation.

There are a few games that I play on my phone and of those few, even fewer that I play on a regular basis.  Actually, since both lists are relatively small, let us just do some listing of the games in alphabetical order, because that is how they are organized in my phone.  Yes, I am that way.
  • Angry Birds
  • Blitz (Bejeweled)
  • Bloons TD 5
  • Clash of Clans
  • Dead Space
  • Desert Bus
  • God of Blades
  • Humble Bundle (Not a game, I know, but it is an application for games)
  • Munchkin Counter (See above)
  • PvZ2 (Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time)
That is it.  So of the ten listed, two of the applications are not games, so it is really eight.  Of those eight, I play two on a daily basis.  Of the remaining six, I have played, maybe two in the last month.  From those four, I still have them on my phone because I have not beaten them yet.

So as you might be able to tell, I do not spend a lot of time on my phone playing games.  Plants vs. Zombies 2 I will play once a day, usually for no more than five minutes and then it goes back into the vault.  This is because, as somewhat stated in my update from January, the game has become less fun and all I really look forward to are the Piñata parties, which now happen once every 24 hours.  I go through the single stage and if I am able to complete it, great!  If I fail the first time through, I put the game away rather than spend 1000 gold to purchase a replay.  Recently, EA/PopCap updated the game to include a variation on the Vase Breaker mini-game from the original Plants vs. Zombies, but I might go through a single stage then put the game away.  There is maybe 10 minutes tops.

In Clash of Clans, I will go into the game, collect gold and elixir from my mining sources, check to see if I have enough gold/elixir to upgrade any existing buildings, check the time remaining on any buildings which are being upgraded then exit the game.  If I had recently been attacked, I will watch the replay of the raid.  This takes all of, at most, 7-10 minutes.  Do not get me wrong though, I am fairly addicted to this game but I know there will be a point when I stop playing rather than saving up a weeks worth of gold to upgrade a single piece of the wall.

Dead Space, of which I will write an article about in the nearish future, while a fun game, has one major flaw.  The game cannot be manually saved, but instead is auto-saved when you reach a checkpoint, which happens at the end of a "chapter."  Chapters in this game last anywhere from 15-20 minutes.  This is the flaw and where the nugget for this article sprang from.  If I could manually save, as in the main games, I would not feel that I had to find and dedicate 20 minutes to playing a game on my phone.  But why would playing a game on the cellphone versus on the 3DS feel so different if they are both video games played on a 3-3 3/4" screen?

Maybe it is the already short battery life of my cellphone or the fact that it is a cellphone that I do not feel as inclined to play games on it as much as I would with my 3DS.  The primary reason for my phone existing is so that I can make/receive phone calls (when not obstructed by my apartment) and text messages; those who know me can already attest how much I already do not talk on the phone.  Playing games on my phone is only secondary and something that I do when I am out-and-about and I do not have my 3DS on me.  Although feeling publicly chastised for playing games on the 3DS vs. the cellphone is a whole other nest of flesh eating elder horrors that I might cover at a later date.

Maybe it is the fact that a lot of cellphone games are free-to-play and are designed around microtransactions in order to keep the games action flowing.  But, when someone like myself who does not spend real world money to buy gems/gold/energy to continue playing or reduce the week it takes to upgrade a mortar canon, play time is greatly reduced.  Reduced playtime on cellphone games has possibly wired my brain to not want to spend more than a couple of minutes playing games on my cellphone, which is possibly why is has taken me three months to go through the Dead Space mobile game which should have only taken me only four hours.   I am intrigued by the story told in the game and how it will connect to Dead Space 2, but it just seems that the platform is what is holding me back.

Just something to think about (or not, that is cool too) this weekend.



  1. Is play control a factor at all? I couldn't handle playing the android version of Anodyne because I hated using the touch screen control pad. I need me some physical buttons!

    Really, I wonder if Nintendo should try to work out a way to turn the DS into a cell phone, rather than a cell phone being turned into a DS.

  2. The touch controls don't bother me even though my thumbs cover up a portion of the corners of the screen. It's not a direct port of either Dead Space 1 or 2 so the game was developed specifically for cellphones and tablets. There are some pretty cool sanity effects that take into account the fact that your fingers are covering up parts of the screen which I thought were pretty cool. So in a long-winded answer, no, play control is not a factor when it comes to playing/not-playing.