Can Mobile Games Be Good?

Can Mobile Games Be Good?

We in the gaming community like to make fun of mobile games. We very frequently consider them to be “not real gaming” and it’s easy to see why. When you look at the most-played mobile games you usually see things like Candy Crush and Flappy Bird , tiny puzzle games which are interesting and even well-made distractions, but would scarcely be considered art.

But there’s no particular reason why this has to be the case. Many well made indie games have come out on mobile platforms. Look at games like The Banner Saga and Five Nights at Freddy’s . These are practically the full uncut version of their original PC versions ported to mobile platforms.

Part of the reason that we are so skeptical is because of the way AAA titles were treated on mobile platforms. While we can get games like Mortal Kombat and Call of Duty on consoles, their corresponding mobile versions are usually vastly reduced in quality. Some aren’t even the same genre, being reduced to little more than rock paper scissors or match 3 games.

But there’s nothing really preventing people from releasing AAA sorts of titles on mobile platforms, outside of technical limitations. That’s why we see more and more indie titles being ported to these platforms, and while we PC gamers probably aren’t rushing to play XCOM on a touch screen, it certainly lets the game reach a wider audience.

Now, big name developers like Square-Enix and Sega are focusing their efforts on the mobile world, and people are talking about them as if they died. Still, their new mobile projects look promising. Sega is making a Sonic infinite runner, but it’s 2D and it looks better than most of their recent projects *cough cough* Sonic Boom *cough cough* and Square’s new Final Fantasy game on mobile platforms looks like it it’s a throwback to the days when they were the king of 16 bit RPGs.

While both of these games seem simple, I wonder if there is a problem with that? Both Square-Enix and Sega have had a problem keeping up with the times. Their recent releases like Sonic Boom and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII have fallen flat, but their older releases like Final Fantasy VI and Sonic the Hedgehog 3 are considred some of the best games of all time.

Can Mobile Games Be Good?

So, perhaps it seems natural for these companies to be working with technology that is slightly less advanced than what we have on current gen consoles. They proved in the past that they were masters of taking limitations and turning them into enjoyable gameplay experiences. That definitely sounds like the mobile world to me.

So that’s why I’m asking: can a mobile game be good? Will we see the next Final Fantasy VI or Sonic the Hedgehog 3 on the iPhone? Is there any reason why a mobile game can’t compete with AAA titles for Game of the Year? Let’s say a new Chrono Trigger comes out on a mobile platform, and it’s good! The story is compelling, the game systems are really interesting, the touch controls work perfectly, and it’s basically exactly the game fans of the original have been working on, but it’s 16 bit and very low-def. Does that immediately take it out of the running for game of the year? Do we need to be using our greatest and most powerful technology for a game to be game of the year material?

I don’t know, to be honest, but I personally think games can stand on their own without being fantastic uses of modern technology. Just look at Pokemon and Disgaea . Neither are the most technologically advanced games on their respective systems, but they still please gamers everywhere.

What do you think? Can mobile games be good? Will we see actual AAA titles come out on mobile platforms? Will a mobile title ever win game of the year? Let us know in the comments.

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