I Hate and Love Mobile Gaming.
I love playing mobile games on my iPhone. There’s a huge variety of simple to complex games at your fingertips, ready to download and play on a whim. From little masterpieces like Monument Valley to countless spaceship shoot-em-ups, it’s like having an arcade in your pocket and that’s one of the coolest things about living in “the future” to me.
I hate the mobile games on my iPhone. The free-to-play ones endlessly attempt to get you to give them your credit card number, and are stingy with the game’s resources and level accessibility unless you pay them. And then there are the ones who ask for your money with no guarantee that you’re going to get the hero/item/whatever you want from the more random chances you’re paying for. If I wanted to gamble I’d go to Las Vegas. The paid ones are a little more reliable, but even then you’re going in blind on a game you can’t try first. Mobile games try to play you more than they let you play them.
The best mobile games, in my opinion, are ones that subscribe to the classic webcomic model: Give your content away for free. Give someone who stumbles upon your work access to the whole thing. Let them play around with your characters, roll around in your world, welcome them into the atmosphere of the thing you created. Give them the option to pay you for something extra, not something that ties in to the accessibility or enjoyment of your stuff. Webcomickers have been using this model for years, and it’s proven to work. Every single mobile game I have ever given money to has used this model. I never felt like I had to pay them to enjoy their game. I enjoyed their game so much that I wanted to pay them in gratitude. It feels like a substantial “thank you” for letting me play without asking for anything in return for the access. More mobile games could take a lesson from us webcomickers.
There are some quality mobile games out there, but you have to dig through a massive pile of crap to find them.